Category Archives: Parish Newsletters

Our Saviour Parish News, August-September, 2017

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553

Aug/Sept 2017

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

These summer months have gone by very quickly. This coming Sunday will be our summer Vicar’s last Sunday with us here at Our Saviour. We will again hear him preach and there will be a farewell lunch following the Divine Service. Brett Witmer has been with us since the Feast of Pentecost, June 4th, and his presence among us has been a blessing. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and I have heard from many of you how much you have appreciated his work here. After this coming Sunday he will be spend a week at his home in Pennsylvania and will then return to the Fort Wayne Seminary to begin his second year of study. Keep Brett in your prayers as he continues to prepare for the Office of the Holy Ministry. I am convinced that he will be a very fine pastor indeed.

 Speaking of Sunday worship, let me say how much I wish I could speak with each one of you after Divine Service whenever you are in church. I certainly do not intend to ignore anyone. But we do not have – what for lack of a better word I’ll call a – “receiving line” nor do I think that would be a practical thing here at Our Saviour. So I’ll continue to do the best I can; do know that I look forward to greeting and speaking with you on Sunday morning and on other occasions when we come together as a congregation. 

We have been using the “blue book,” Lutheran Worship, but will again use the “red book,” The Lutheran Hymnal, beginning in October. As I mentioned in the July Newsletter we will begin to consider the possibility of adopting the “new” hymnal published for our Synod in 2007, the Lutheran Service Book. There seems to be general agreement that it has the best of both the books we have been using. This topic will be introduced at the October Voters Meeting but no decision will be made until the January Voters Meeting. Copies of the new book will be available for you to examine between those two meetings. 

Through October 29th there is an exhibit at the Walters Art Museum, Uncertain Times: Martin Luther’s Remedies for the Soul. It is an exhibit in connection with the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation which occurs on October 31st of this year. Admission is free at the Walters Art Museum which is one of the great treasures of our City. If a number of us are interested in going, we can perhaps plan a visit for our members and friends. 

Also in connection with the Reformation Anniversary there will be a Joint Reformation Service of all the Missouri Synod congregations in Baltimore on the afternoon of Sunday, October 29th, at Emmanuel Church on Ingleside Avenue in Catonsville. There will be more about this in next month’s newsletter. 

Plans are also underway for a musical celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation here at Our Saviour on the afternoon of Sunday, November 19th. Mr. Matthew Gerhardt, a graduate of Concordia University in Wisconsin, will be the guest organist. He comes highly recommended, has studied in Germany, and has in fact played the organ at Saint Thomas Church in Leipzig where Johann Sebastian Bach was organist and choirmaster for many years. We plan to publicize this event through many channels as our own contribution to the celebration of this Anniversary.  

Family Day this year will be kept on the first Sunday in October. This is always a well attended and delightful occasion. There will be more information in the Sunday bulletins and in the October newsletter which will go in the mail during the week before October 1st. There will as usual be a guest preacher and a wonderful meal after Divine Service. 

Our Savour has received a bequest from the estate of David West in the amount of $5,716.26.  This will remain invested with Ameriprise Financial.  David and his family planned ahead and included Our Savour in his will. The same can be done in your personal estate planning. 

Progress continues to be made toward the placement of our Church on the City of Baltimore’s register of historic buildings. This has been a lengthy process but we are coming to what will almost certainly be a very happy outcome.  

In September confirmation class for young people will begin again. There are four young people in the class: Dominick and Elijah Carmichael-Myrie, Dymond Hawkins, and Ted Jones. Remember them in your prayers as they prepare to be confirmed and admitted to the Holy Supper of our Savior’s Body and Blood. 

Darlene Grant is now at home after continuing hospitalization. Keep her in your prayers. 

I think almost everyone will agree that we live in exceedingly troubled times. In such times there is great comfort in remembering our heavenly Father’s protection of us through His holy angels. When preaching on the Festival of Saint Michael and All Angels (which since ancient times has been kept on September 29th) the Father Founder of our Synod, Dr. C.F.W. Walther (1811-1887), had this to say of the holy angels: 

“They are God’s hands by which we are continuously led. They are our invisible companions, receiving us upon our arrival in this world and continuing to accompany us throughout our life. They never leave us alone. They are with us each night so we can sleep peacefully. They encamp around our home like an army, ready to defend us against all evil. They are with us when our path leads us over mountains, through dark forests, and over rushing ocean waves. They protect us from precipices and false ways, and they prevent the bottomless depths from devouring our little ships. Even in the hour of our death, the presence and service of the holy angels continue, giving us ample reason for comfort and reassurance. As the angels refreshed the Savior when He struggled with death in the Garden of Gethsemane, so Christians, according to Scripture, can expect to receive the aid of the angels in their final battle. They gather around the deathbed, and when the soul leaves its mortal body, they bear it up into the blessed dwellings of the heavenly Father. Oh, what love of God we thus see revealed in the doctrine of the holy angels!” 

Let us then rejoice in the protection of the holy angels and let us continue to remember one another in our prayers and to pray fervently “for the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God, and for the unity of all.”

Do keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

The August Free Flea Market was a rousing success.  Although it was a cloudy day, it was a good one for shopping!  46 people came to see us, including Mary Pat Clarke of the Baltimore City Council.  And we distributed 415 items.  The last Free Flea Market will be held September 9th.  Donations of household items are welcome, as well as winter coats.  Judy Volkman has been in touch with the social worker at Waverly School and is planning a coat distribution in November.  Many thanks for all the generous donations, sharing the bounty with which God has blessed us.  And we are reaching those in our neighborhood who need these items.
-Judy Volkman-

 On August 10, 2017, Vicar Brett, Mary Techau, and I visited Helping Up Mission. We delivered a wide variety of grooming items to the recovering men. Many thanks for the generosity shown by our Church members. We collected a good supply of men’s undergarments, socks, and tee shirts. Delivery also included deodorant, foot powder, toothpaste, mouthwash, and wash clothes. Please continue to remember the Mission in support of this very successful Christian centered recovery program.

In addition, the loose change which you drop in the alms boxes is designated to purchase grooming items for Mission residents. Many   thanks to all.
–Quilla Downs-

 

Our Saviour Parish News, July, 2017

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
JULY 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When the mother of Jesus visited her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb…for when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary herself said, “from now on all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me.” This meeting of Mary and Elizabeth and of their yet unborn children, the Lord Jesus and Saint John the Baptist, has from ancient times been commemorated on July 2nd which this year falls on Sunday. And so this coming Sunday we shall joyfully celebrate the Festival of the Visitation. You can read about this at Saint Luke 1:39-56.

This past Sunday we celebrated the 487th anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession, the principle confession of the faith of the Lutheran Church. A booklet containing the Augsburg Confession was distributed to all who were in Church. If for some reason you were not able to be present and wish to have a copy of this booklet, I’ll be happy to see that you get one.

Vacation Bible School has begun and we are very grateful to everyone who is helping to make this possible: our summer Vicar Brett Witmer, Mary Techau, our good friend Pastor Roy Coats and his summer Vicar Simeon Cornwell, as well as Mr. Hawkins, our Sexton, who is always so willing to help. Having repainted the undercroft he is now painting the classroom in which the Sunday School meets. At this year’s VBS the children are learning about the wonderful “I am” sayings of Jesus as we find them in the Gospel according to Saint John: “I am the Bread of Life,” “I am the Light of the world,” “I am the good Shepherd,” “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” etc. Pray for God’s blessing on this effort to bring children ever closer to their Savior.

I wish to thank all who helped with the second of our free flea markets of this year on Saturday, June 10th, and especially Judy Volkman who has led this effort for several years. The next free flea market will be held on Saturday, July 8th, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 Noon. We always need willing helpers. I think I can truthfully say that we have a good time doing this! It is a pleasure to meet our neighbors and indeed just to spend time with each other.

Do remember our continued efforts to support the Helping Up Mission and the community food cupboard at GEDCO. The Helping Up Mission is always in need of personal grooming items and GEDCO is always in need for food for the poor and needy.

The process for gaining historic designation for our beautiful church is progressing. The last meeting before the City Council will be July 17. Anyone may attend this meeting as our church history is presented before the council and a landmark designation is read and voted on. Once this process is complete we will be able to continue with maintenance and beautification projects around the church building knowing it will always remain a treasure in the city.

I must thank everyone who helped with the delicious luncheon we had on Sunday, June 4th, the Feast of Pentecost, to welcome our summer Vicar. I am very glad that he is here! We got to hear him preach a fine sermon on Sunday, June 18th; he’ll also be preaching on July 16th and August 20th. It is a real treat for me to listen to someone else’s voice! The Vicar has been helping with calls on our shut-in members and has been helping with the confirmation class and the Sunday adult study group and in general making himself useful.

And speaking of shut-in members, Darlene Grant has been able to return to her home after more than six months in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. Pray for her continued recovery. And we are all very glad that Gabe Purviance is again with us after a long course of treatment.

Our dear brother in Christ, David West, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, May 28th, after a brief illness. His funeral was held at the Church on Thursday, June 1st. He will certainly be missed here at Our Saviour and in the neighborhood where he was such a friendly and cheerful presence. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him! And may our Savior comfort all who mourn his departure with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

In 2016 not one member of our congregation died. But in the first half of this year we have mourned the death of three faithful members: Myrna Curtis, James Gray, and now David West. Ours is the loss but theirs is only gain. Says Saint Paul, “I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

Those of you who regularly attend Divine Service will have noticed that we have two new acolytes in addition to Kai Hawkins and Jamera Lewis-Hawkins who are so very faithful in serving week after week after week. They are an example to us all! Jamera will be out of town this summer. Our two new acolytes are Ted Jones and Dominick Carmichael-Myrie. I am very happy that our young people want to serve at the Lord’s altar.

On Sunday, July 9th, we will begin using the “blue book,” Lutheran Worship, and will continue to do so for several months. Since Palm Sunday we have been using the “red book,” The Lutheran Hymnal. Both of these books have been authorized for use in our Synod, the red hymnal in 1941, the blue hymnal in 1982. In 2007 a new hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book, was authorized for use in the congregations of our Synod. It in fact incorporates the best both of the red and of the blue hymnal, including the liturgies we use from both books.  I think the time has now come to consider the possibility of introducing this book. Nothing will be done quickly! Instead the possibility of using the Lutheran Service Book will be formally introduced to the congregation at the October Voters Meeting, but no action will be taken until the January Voters Meeting. This will provide time for members to familiarize themselves with the new book – several copies will be available for borrowing – and for discussion among ourselves. I repeat, nothing will be done quickly! I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

In a recent sermon Pastor Christopher Esget, who preached for the 125th anniversary of our congregation, had this to say: “The walls of Western Civilization are collapsing. And with that collapse, so also the church is shattered, splintered, fragmented. Many of our members have a weak or nominal commitment to Christianity. The children we spend so much time catechizing will go out into a world deeply hostile to everything we have taught them.” These words certainly have the ring of truth! Yet if we find ourselves despairing, we have clearly lost sight of the one true and living God, the God who creates out of nothing, the God who Himself joined us in our death and then rose triumphant from the grave. To be sure, there is no promise that Western Civilization will be saved, but there is Christ’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church – that this “only holy Church shall be and remain forever” (Augsburg Confession, Article VII). Our part is to live lives of repentance and faith nourished by Christ’s Gospel and holy Sacraments in which week by week, every Lord’s Day, He is present to pardon us, to renew us, and to strengthen our hope in His coming again to make all things new.

Do keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Lutherans for Life – Maryland Chapter

Maryland Lutherans for Life held a formation meeting at Our Saviour this past March and representatives from nine Lutheran churches in the greater Baltimore area were in attendance. You may have heard of the national organization, formed in 1976, in connection with the March for Life held each January in Washington DC. This certainly is part of the Maryland chapter’s mission, peacefully marching on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which overturned state laws regarding abortion. But Lutherans for Life includes all life issues, from conception to natural death. The gift of life is from our Creator and we uphold the sanctity of human life because all people are created and redeemed by God who intends they bear His image for time and for eternity (John 10:10).

As a chapter we will work to be a Gospel-motivated voice for life in our community. What does this look like for us? Each of us might meet someone who needs a listening ear, a hot line number, a tract or a counseling center address. Our chapter will begin compiling this information including adoption, bioethics. end of life issues, family living and many more topics, and educate ourselves that we might help our neighbor.

Our next meeting will be at Our Saviour, Saturday, November 18th, at 10:00 A.M. All are welcome to find out about this outreach.

– Mary Techau

 

Our Saviour Parish News, May-June, 2017

OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553
www.oursaviourbaltimore.org
May-June 2017
 

Thursday, May 25
ASCENSION DAY
Festival Divine Service
7:30 p.m.

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 Forty days after His glorious resurrection the risen Lord ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us so that where He is we might also be. And so on Thursday, May 25th, we celebrate the great festival of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we sing in one of the hymns for Ascension Day: “On Christ’s ascension I now build the hope of mine ascension…” Surely it is not a burden but a joyful privilege to celebrate the festivals on which we rejoice in God’s mighty acts whereby we are saved. I hope that you will come to worship on this happy feast day.

On Tuesday, May 2, the risen and ascended Lord called out of this world to Himself in heaven our dear brother in Christ, James Gray. He loved the Lord Jesus and He loved this House of God for so many years. Now he rests in the nearer presence of his Savior. May the Light Perpetual ever shine upon him! We pray that our Lord would comfort Helen and the whole Gray family and all who mourn. Nowhere in Holy Scripture are we told that it is wrong to mourn the loss from this world of those we love. Holy Scripture does not say that we should not sorrow, but rather that we should not “sorrow as others do who have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13). The Lord Jesus Himself wept at the grave of his dear friend Lazarus. God has given us tears for healing. 

The month of April was certainly a busy one here at Our Saviour: Holy Week, Easter Day, the second annual Saint Mark’s Conference, and the celebration of the one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary of this congregation. I must thank everyone who worked to make all of this happen! I fear that we sometimes take for granted the work of our sexton, William Hawkins. So here I want especially to thank him. As you may know, the Saint Mark’s Conference is not paid for from our congregation’s funds: it is supported by Conference registration fees and generous gifts from friends. This year we had a substantial sum left after all expenses had been paid and this sum will be used for next year’s Conference.

And speaking of finances, at the Voters Meeting following Divine Service on May 21st, the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 will be approved and other matters discussed. A slate of officers for the Church Council will be presented:

              President: Gabriel Purviance
Vice-President:
  Secretary: Judy Volkman
              Treasurer: Bernice Knox
              Comptroller:
              Director of Stewardship:
              Director of Evangelism:
              Director of Worship: Merton Masterson
              Director of Youth:
              Director of Property: Paul Techau
              Director of Education: Mary Techau
              At Large Member: Richard Brown
              At Large Member: Gary Watson

We do not have candidates for all the positions of the Council. This is in part due to the fact that the constitution and bylaws of our Church presuppose a very much larger congregation. And this is true in many congregations of our Synod. Marie Herrington has continued to serve as organist. The Council will recommend to the Voters that we ask her to become the organist of this Church. She is very talented and a joy to work with. As you know she is a student at the Peabody Conservatory. 

This year three of the four Sundays in June are festivals. June 4th is the Feast of Pentecost, June 11th is Trinity Sunday, and June 25th is the Anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. Pentecost is with Christmas and Easter one of the three great feasts of the Church Year. The Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost which is the fiftieth day after Easter Day – “Pentecost” means fiftieth – and the tenth day after our Lord’s ascension. From Advent through the Day Pentecost we celebrate what God has done for our salvation, on Trinity Sunday we celebrate the mystery of who God is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: one God.

Less familiar than Pentecost and Trinity Sunday is the Anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession on June 25th. After the Three Ecumenical Creeds – the Apostles, the Nicene, the Athanasian – the Unaltered Augsburg Confession is the principle statement of the faith of the Lutheran Church. So important is this Confession that the letters U A C are carved in stone on the cornerstone of this church building right after the name of the Church, and there was a time when our congregation’s Constitution required that all the voting members of the congregation be familiar with it. . In fact at the dedication of this church building on the 12th Sunday after Trinity in 1930 “Confessing Christ in Augsburg in 1530 and in Baltimore in 1930” was the title of the sermon preached by the Rev. William Dallmann, the Pastor who had helped the twelve laymen from Immanuel Church to organize this congregation.

So how did this Confession come about? In 1530 Emperor Charles V summoned the princes and free imperial cities of the German nation to a diet (meeting) in the City of Augsburg to plan a united defense against the invading Turks who had already reached the gates of Vienna. He hoped that at this meeting the religious controversy which had arisen between those remaining loyal to the Pope and those who had embraced the faith as taught by Dr. Luther and his coworkers might be resolved. As their contribution to the resolution of the conflict the Lutheran princes and two free imperial cities presented the Confession of their doctrine to the Emperor on the afternoon of June 25th. The Confession was based solidly on Holy Scripture and showed how “Lutheran” doctrine was not an innovation but none other than the doctrine of the ancient Christian Church. The faithful Lutheran Church continues to propose this Confession as a unifying Confession. And so on the anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession we give thanks for this treasure of truth and we pray for the unity of sadly divided Christendom. Nothing is more precious than the truth of Christ’s saving Gospel. And that is why we cherish this wonderful Confession of that saving Gospel whereby we live and die in the peace of Christ

On June 5th, the great Feast of Pentecost, our summer vicar Brett Witmer will be with us and will participate in the Divine Service. There will also be a lunch to welcome him. He will have completed his first year of study at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Having already met him I am confident that he will be a blessing to us all. Do come to church on Pentecost and warmly welcome him.

In conclusion I wish to share with you the closing paragraphs of the wonderful sermon Pastor Esget preached on Sunday, April 30th, the Sunday known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” in the Calendar of the Church Year. As Regional Vice-President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Pastor Esget brought us the greetings of the President of Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison. Here is what Pastor Esget had to say:

We rejoice that you are 125 years old. But you are not old, you are young, you’re new. In the kingdom of God, things do not grow old, but they are ever new. Last Sunday we all heard that we are newborn babes, drinking the milk of the Word to grow by. Even now, Jesus is making you new, and teaching you to live a new kind of life. “Christ also suffered for you,” we heard St. Peter say, “leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” And again, “[Christ] himself bore our  sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”

So rejoice and be glad this day. All these years God has cared for you, and for Our Saviour Lutheran Church. Your Jesus is your Good Shepherd. He will be your rock through all the storms of life. He will guide you and protect you from danger. And when the last hour comes, your Jesus will pick you up and like a Shepherd lead you home.

So sing and be glad this day, for Jesus lives, and His Church will never die! Clap your hands and laugh, for Jesus lives, and you will live forever. Play the trumpet and clang the cymbal, for Jesus Christ is risen today!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Our congregation has so many reasons for giving thanks. Let us continue to be truly thankful Christians and also pray for one another, also for the whole Church and the whole world, so desperately in need of the fervent prayers of faithful Christians.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, April 2017

OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553
www.oursaviourbaltimore.org
April 2017
 

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER
Palm Sunday – 11:00 A.M. Procession and Divine Service
Maundy Thursday – 7:30 P.M. Divine Service
Good Friday – 7:30 P.M. Liturgy of Good Friday
EASTER EVE – 7:30 P.M. The Easter Vigil
EASTER DAY – 11:00 A.M. Festival Divine Service
Sunday School and Adult Class will not meet on Easter Day.

125th ANNIVERSARY OF OUR SAVIOUR CHURCH
Sunday, April 30th, Festival Divine Service, 11:00 A.M.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For us here at Our Saviour Church this month of April brings both Holy Week and Easter and also – on Sunday, April 30th – the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of our Church. But before I say anything about this I first want to thank everyone who made possible the wonderful lunch on my birthday and everyone who brought cards and gifts for me. Lynetric Bridges made a beautiful birthday cake for the occasion. I was also very happy to welcome some of my dear friends who are members of Immanuel Church in Alexandria. As always the food was delicious and there was more than enough for everyone! Thank you and may God reward you for your generosity!

I must mention the large notice taped to the west door of the Church. I was rather shocked when it appeared but it is nothing more than a public notice – “To whom it may concern” – of a hearing to be held on April 11th in connection with our Church being placed on the historic register of buildings here in Baltimore. The notice will be taken down on the 11th. Quilla Downs, Judy Volkman, and Bernie Knox will be attending the April 11th hearing. Excellent progress is being made on this effort to acquire historic designation.

 As we approach Easter Day, the great Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, we are painfully conscious of the reign of death throughout the world. And so there come to mind some words of the late Walter Kuenneth, a Lutheran pastor and theologian who lived through the horrors of Hitler’s regime and the Second World War. I frequently allude to these words and I do so again because in a very succinct and compelling way they point to the one ground of hope. Writing in the year 1951 – just six years after the end of World War II and during the Korean War – Dr.Kuenneth had this to say:

The course of history, as it has so terribly disclosed itself to us,  can only be a confirmation of the Christian insight that all mankind  is trembling on the brink of destruction and groaning under the  tyranny of death. In this dark night of the world there is only one single source of light: the joyful news, “Christ is Risen!”

 But before we come to Easter there is the Holy Week of the Lord’s Passion. On Palm Sunday we remember Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On Maundy Thursday we remember our Lord’s institution of the holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood. At the end of the Divine Service the altar is stripped while the great Psalm of the Passion, Psalm 22, is sung. The altar is itself a symbol of Christ, and so the stripping of the altar reminds us of how at Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane all His disciples forsook Him and fled. At the Good Friday Liturgy the Passion according to Saint John is read and we pray the Bidding Prayer which by ancient usage is especially appointed for Good Friday. If you are unable to come to the evening service here at Our Saviour, you might attend some part of the Three Hour Service from 12:00 noon-3:00 P.M. at Bethlehem Church, 4815 Hamilton Avenue. Seven pastors preach on our Lord’s words from the cross. Surely every Christian should wish to be in the Lord’s House on the day of His saving death for our salvation. Confirmation class will not meet on Good Friday.

 The celebration of Easter begins with the Easter Vigil on the evening of Easter Eve. Long before anyone thought of the Christmas Eve service, the Easter Vigil had been celebrated for centuries. Already in the 4th century Saint Augustine called it “the mother of all holy vigils.” In it the whole story of our salvation is told. The liturgy begins in darkness, recalling the darkness before creation, the darkness of the Passover night when Israel was delivered from slavery in Egypt, and the darkness of the tomb where the lifeless body of Jesus lay. The new fire is kindled, the great Paschal – which means Easter – Candle lit and from it the candles held by the congregation; then the ancient Easter Proclamation is sung. Then three lessons from the Old Testament, which foreshadow our baptism into Jesus’ resurrection, follow. We then renew our baptismal vows. The Litany is sung and the first Eucharist of Easter is celebrated. Our preacher on Easter Eve will be the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Shaw. Chaplain Shaw now serves as Director of Operations for the United States Army Chaplain Corps. 

 The Paschal Candle burns at all services during the Easter season until on Ascension Day it is extinguished after the reading of the Gospel which tells of how in His ascension the risen Lord withdrew His visible presence from us. During the rest of the year the Paschal Candle stands by the baptismal font and, since in Baptism we are made one with Christ in His death and resurrection, it burns whenever Holy Baptism is administered. The Paschal Candle is also placed near the body of departed Christians during the funeral service for “if we have been united with [Christ] in a death like His” – and we have in baptism – “we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His” (Romans 6:5).

 Payment for Easter lilies – $10 each – together with the names of those being honored or remembered by them is due on Palm Sunday. See Judy Volkman.

 Two weeks after Easter Day – April 30th – we shall celebrate the 125th Anniversary of our Church. There will be a Festival Divine Service at the usual hour followed by a festive lunch. The preacher for our anniversary celebration will be the Rev. Christopher Esget who is Pastor of Immanuel Church in Alexandria and Vice-President of the East/Southeast Region of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. He was elected to this office at last summer’s convention of Synod in Milwaukee. He preached for my installation as pastor here. Do plan on being present for this celebration and invite any people you know who once were members here or who might like to join us for the anniversary.

 This year’s Saint Mark’s Conference will be held April 24-25. Although this conference is chiefly for pastors and seminarians, anyone may attend. The papers given at the conference will focus on the Office of the Holy Ministry as we find it in Holy Scripture, in the Lutheran Confessions, and in the history of the Church.

Although there is a registration fee for the conference, members of Our Saviour need not pay the fee.

 Our former vicar Trent Demarest will be with us for the conference. He and his wife Maritza are now the proud parents of another little boy. So little John, who was one year old on March 3rd, now has a little brother. Thomas Irenaeus Demarest was born on March 6th and baptized on March 26th. Thomas is the name of one of Christ’s twelve apostles. Saint Irenaeus was an early Church Father who had known Saint Polycarp who knew Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist.

 And speaking of vicars Brett Witmer will be our summer vicar this year. He grew up in Duncannon,Pennsylvania, about twenty miles north of Harrisburg,and graduated from Shippensburg University. He will have completed his first year of studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He had visited Baltimore during the week of Ash Wednesday and was present at the Divine Service here at Our Saviour on Ash Wednesday. We very much look forward to him being with us!

 Every Sunday in the Divine Service we pray for those “for whom our prayers are desired.” Their names appear in the bulletin every week. Do remember them in your own prayers. Darlene Grant is as of this writing again hospitalized at Johns Hopkins. James Gray continues to convalesce at the Augsburg Home and Gabe Purviance is completing a course of treatment. Dorothy Bell was recently hospitalized but is again at home. In the Prayer of the Church we also pray every Sunday for all persecuted Christians throughout the world. Many of our fellow Christians simply do not have the freedom of religion with which we in our country have been blessed.

 I must thank Marie Herrington who has served as our organist on Sundays and Charles Ames who has served as organist for the Wednesday Lenten services. Marie is a student at the Peabody Conservatory. 

 It may be of interest to note that in the early days of Our Saviour Church, then called Jackson Square because of its original location, Louis Kahmer who taught at Peabody was organist for a time. He also harmonized The Common Service with Music , a book published in 1906 which provided the music (most of which is still in use) for the liturgy. It is in fact the book I use for the pastor’s chant at the Divine Service and Vespers. Pastor Steffens, at that time Pastor of Martini Church, took a leading role in preparing this book. The music was of course not new but gathered from the Lutheran Church Orders of the 16th and 17th centuries which in turn were based on the music of the pre-Reformation Church. In using this music there is a wonderful sense of the communion of saints through the ages.

Do remember the needs of the Helping Up Mission and of the GEDCO community food cupboard. 

The organizing meeting of the Maryland Chapter of Lutherans for Life was held here at Our Saviour on March 17th. Pastor Roy Coats was elected president; Pastor Thomas Foelber was elected vice-president. Mary Techau is treasurer and Kathy Frey is secretary. Anyone who is concerned about the sanctity of human life can become a member of this group. You will be kept informed of its activities.

 The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the one ground of hope and source of new life through the Holy Spirit. As we approach the glad feast of the Lord’s resurrection let us examine our consciences, repent of our sins, and draw strength from the holy Gospel and the Sacraments in which the risen Lord is mightily at work to forgive, renew and bless. I pray that we keep a truly penitent and faithful Holy Week and then joyfully celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, March, 2017

OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553
www.oursaviourbaltimore.org
March 2017

 

Wednesday, March 1
ASH WEDNESDAY
6:30 P.M. Soup Supper
7:30 P.M. DIVINE SERVICE WITH
IMPOSITION OF ASHES

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The beginning of March brings with it the beginning of Lent. “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he meant that the whole life of believers should be repentance.” This first of the 95 Theses which Dr. Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31st 1517 reminds us that repentance is by no means confined to one season of the Church Year. In his Small Catechism Dr. Luther asks, “What does such baptizing with water signify?? It signifies that the old Adam in us should through daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die together with all sins and evil desires, and again a new man daily come forth and arise who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” Nevertheless the Church has from ancient times set aside the forty days of the Lenten season as a time when we are especially conscious of Christian life as one of repentance. In preparation for Easter we meditate on the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus for our sins, we confess our sins and are strengthened by the daily forgiveness He extends to all who with penitent hearts place their trust in Him. It is a very serious error so suppose that God somehow needs our Lenten observance: it is rather you and I who need this holy season. And so I hope that everyone will make a sincere effort to be present in church as we begin the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday with Divine Service and Imposition of Ashes. Receiving the ashes we hear the words God spoke to Adam after he had fallen into sin: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). And “the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). On each of the following Wednesdays of the Lenten season there will be Lenten Vespers at 7:30 P.M. with meditations on the Passion of our Lord. A simple soup supper precedes these Lenten services at 6:30 P.M. 

Included with this newsletter is a copy of a letter from the President of Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the founding of our congregation. It was on March 10th, 1892 that twelve members of Immanuel Church, then on Caroline Street in east Baltimore, founded our congregation under the leadership of Pastor William Dallmann who was then the Pastor of English Emmanuel Church in west Baltimore. Emmanuel Church had been founded in 1888. So these two congregations were the beginning of the English work of the Missouri Synod in Baltimore. The name of our congregation has changed through the years. It was at first known as Jackson Square Lutheran Church because of its location. When in 1919 the old church was sold to Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church (which still worships in the old church) and the Church moved to its present location, the name was changed to The Church of Our Saviour. Then upon the merger of Our Saviour and Saint Matthew’s Church in April 1973 we became Our Saviour Lutheran Church. 125 years is a significant milestone which we will celebrate on Sunday, April 30th. The preacher for this occasion will be the Rev. Christopher Esget, Pastor of Immanuel Church in Alexandria and one of the five regional vice-presidents of the Missouri Synod. Do note this date in your calendar and plan on being present. You might also inform former members of our congregation about this celebration.

I think that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the potluck lunch on Sunday, February 12th, and the film on the life of Rosa Young, her remarkable work among the African American community as a confessor of the Gospel as proclaimed by the Lutheran Church. Mary Bridges, one of our older members, was in fact a student of Rosa Young. We give thanks for Rosa Young’s faithful witness as we continue to confess the same saving Gospel of Christ.

More than twenty people came to the meeting here at Our Saviour on February 18th to lay the foundation for a chapter of Lutherans for Life here in Baltimore. Hilary Haak, the Mission and Ministry Director of the national organization, led us through a very enlightening presentation on the basics of founding a chapter. We also were honored with the presence of the Rev. Everette Greene, vice-president of Lutherans for Life, a Baltimore native who is now Pastor of Immanuel Church in Cincinnati. There will be a follow up meeting here at Our Saviour on Saturday, March 18th, at 10:00 A.M. Everyone is welcome to attend. We are very much in just the beginning stages of this effort.

Confirmation classes for young people will be held on Tuesdays at 3:30 P.M. beginning February 28th. Dymond Hawkins and Ted Jones will be attending. Do let me know if there are other young people who might be invited.

The second Saint Mark’s Conference will be held on April 24 and 25 which is Saint Mark’s Day. Forty people attended last year’s Conference and we hope for a good response also this year. Although the Conference is chiefly of interest to pastors and seminarians, anyone may attend. The topic this year will be The Office of the Holy Ministry which will be considered in the light of Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, church history in general and the history of the Missouri Synod in particular. Publicity about this Conference will soon appear on our website.

We recently received the good news that, thanks to the generosity of Synod and Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne, we will have a summer vicar. We will soon be able to announce his name. I know how much we all enjoyed the presence of Trent Demarest as our vicar together with his wife Maritza and his infant son John. Do keep the Demarests in your prayers as Maritza is expecting another child in early March.

Darlene Grant is still hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital, James Gray is temporarily living at the Augsburg Home and recovering strength, Gabe Purviance is undergoing treatments. Remember to keep these fellow members in your prayers. 

I suspect most of us are familiar with the tithe as a guideline (not a law!) for giving in response to God’s gift of forgiveness, life and salvation. Less familiar perhaps is the idea of Lent as the “Tithe of the Year.” The year has 365 days, Lent has 40 days. There is of course no divine law that Lent must be observed and consciences must not be burdened with such a mistaken idea: God does not need our Lenten observances but you and I do. In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) our Lord speaks of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving which have always been understood as the traditional Lenten disciplines. I urge you to read and meditate on Matthew 6 as we begin the Lenten season. It is always a mistake to try to do too much by way of Lenten discipline. Consider your own spiritual health – or perhaps the lack thereof. For example, if you have been negligent in prayer for others you might make a short list of people who need your prayers. If you have been negligent in worshiping on the Lord’s Day, resolve to be present each Lord’s Day to celebrate the weekly memorial of the Lord’s resurrection and receive the precious gift of His holy Body and Blood. By your presence you also encourage your fellow Christians in their faith. I also highly recommend the use of “Portals of Prayer” which provides a fine brief meditation on Scripture and prayer for every day of the year.

As during this Lenten season we remember God’s great mercy toward us in His Son, let us pray for grace to be merciful to others, keeping our hearts free of all judgmental, condemning thoughts. In the words of that 4th century Syrian Christian, Saint Ephrem: 

O Lord and Master of my life,
Put far from me the spirit of pride, vainglory and hypocrisy,
But give rather to your servant a spirit of
humility, chastity, patience and love.
Yes, O Lord and King,
Help me to see my own faults and not to
judge my brother.
For you are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, February, 2017

OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553
www.oursaviourbaltimore.org
February 2017

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When blessed Mary, the Virgin Mother of our Lord, and His foster father Joseph presented the forty day old Christ Child in the temple at Jerusalem, they were met by the aged Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22-40) In the calendar of the Church Year February 2nd has from ancient times been kept in remembrance of this event. Saint Luke tells us that the aged Simeon took the Christ Child in his arms and prayed, “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; Your word has been fulfilled. My own eyes have seen the salvation which You have prepared in the sight of every people…” We are told that the aged prophetess Anna, who was ceaselessly praying and fasting in the temple, spoke of the infant Savior to all the people. Early on Sunday morning, January 15th, the Savior called our beloved sister Myrna Curtis out of this earthly life to His nearer presence. Like Simeon she rejoiced in her Saviour and like Anna she was a faithful witness to Him. And so, although we mourn her passing from us, we give thanks that for her faith has now given way to sight. Many people came to her funeral service on Monday, January 23rd; she had clearly touched the lives of so many people and led both little children and adults to the knowledge of their Savior. Her faithfulness, her cheerful and humble presence, were a great blessing to all of us who were privileged to know her We shall miss her, nevertheless, we rejoice in the hope of a blessed reunion in the presence of the risen Lord. May she rest in peace and may the Light perpetuate ever shine upon her!

Several of our members are convalescing at the present time: Darlene Grant, James Gray, and Gabe Purviance. Remember them in your prayers that they may have a good recovery.

On Sunday, February 12th, we will – as usual on the second Sunday of the month – have a potluck luncheon which will then be followed by a short film called “The First Rosa” which presents the life of Rosa J Young: a teacher, a confessor of Christ, a church planter, a member of our Synod. With her passion for helping others, educating children and sharing the good news of Jesus, She accomplished extraordinary things for the African American community. I understand that at least one of our older members was in fact a student of Rosa Young. She is called “The First Rosa” by way of contrast with Rosa Parks who was such a fearless leader in the civil rights movement Both of them were used by God to touch the lives of many people Do plan on staying for lunch, invite your friends, and bring a dish to share.

On Saturday, February 18th, there will be a meeting here at Our Saviour for the purpose of organizing a chapter of Lutherans for Life in the greater Baltimore area This is a national organization which has as its purpose bearing witness to the sanctity of the life God gives from conception to natural death. Lutherans for Life speaks out against the scourge of abortion and seeks to help women who find themselves with unexpected pregnancies and those who are troubled by having had an abortion; it also speaks out against the growing support for euthanasia and insists on compassionate care for the dying. With other such groups Lutherans tor Life speaks for the Culture of Life in a world increasingly burdened with the Culture of Death. The meeting begins with Matins at 10:00 A.M. Lunch will be provided. All the Missouri Synod congregations in our area have been invited to send representatives. Mary Techau is coordinating this meeting,

I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Fort Wayne, attending the annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions. I heard some excellent papers and attended the services in the Chapel of Concordia Theological Seminary which are always marked by such wonderful music and solid preaching. A highlight was the presentation of J. S. Bach’s cantata based on Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” I also saw many old and new friends. It was especially delightful to see our former vicar Trent Demarest, his wife Maritza. and their son John who is almost walking now and also expecting a little brother or sister in early March. They send their love to the people of Our Saviour. Keep the Demarests in your prayers. Trent continues to help with our website.

At the Voters Meeting on Sunday, January 22nd, it was resolved to give Don Weber the title of Organist Emeritus. Until we find a new organist we are being helped by Charles Ames who for many years was organist at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Annapolis and by Marie Herrington who is a student at the Peabody Conservatory. Don Weber will be a member of the committee to find his successor. The Voters also confirmed the appointment Of Merton Masterson as director of worship since Jake Mokris is now in Israel continuing to work on his doctoral studies in physics. Remember to keep Jake in your prayers.

The Rev. Christopher S. Esget has agreed to preach for the 125th anniversary of our congregation. He serves both as Pastor of Immanuel Church in Alexandria and also as Vice President of the East-Southeast Region of our Synod having been elected to that office during the Synodical Convention in Milwaukee this past summer. He preached for my installation as your pastor back in May 2013. The date for the anniversary service has not yet been set but will probably take place in the spring, We intend to invite former members of Our Saviour to join in this celebration,

February 18th is the 467th anniversary of Martin Luther’s death. The Church has always regarded the death of believers as their heavenly birthday. During this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation we Lutherans are especially conscious of the blessings which God bestowed on His Church through His faithful servant Martin Luther. His Small Catechism has formed the faith and life of countless children and adults. We are never finished learning all that the Catechism has to teach about the Six Chief Parts of Christian doctrine: the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and the Sacrament of the Altar. Most of us have our own copy of the Catechism. If for some reason you do not have one, please let me know and I’ll be glad to give you one.

Do note that Ash Wednesday is March 1st. Plan now to attend Divine Service on that day and the Wednesday Lenten Vespers which follow.

Let me say again that I am always available to respond to your spiritual needs. It is easiest to reach me by calling my home telephone (which has an answering machine) – 410.554.9994 – or charlesmcclean42@gmail.com. I ask that you keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

 Affectionately in our Lord,


Pastor McClean

WORKS OF MERCY

Due to donations from the Lenten soup suppers and gifts from our church family, we were able to provide turkeys and provisions to seventeen needy families between the thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The families picked up their baskets from the church. We delivered baskets to two families due to disabilities. We continue to need your gifts of canned goods and nonperishable food items to fulfil our ongoing commitment to the community food pantry. On January 27, 2017 we delivered seven boxes of food. Please continue to remember our neighbors who are in need. Many thanks to the donors of food and to those who help with distribution and coordination, Judy Volkman, William Hawkins and Ron Lange.

We continue to remember residents of Helping up Mission; a February delivery is planned. We will be taking personal toiletry items: tooth brushes, towels, socks etc. Let me know if you have items you wish to include in the February delivery. Please remember to drop off any spare change in the Alms boxes. Any monies collected from the boxes will be used to purchase supplies for the residents of the Mission. Many thanks for your acts of kindness, and may God continue to bless and comfort you in the new year.
                                                              – Quilla Downs

 

Our Saviour Parish News, January, 2017

OUR SAVIOUR LUTHERAN CHURCH
  in the City of Baltimore
www.oursaviourbaltimore.org
January 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Here we are at the beginning of the year of our Lord 2017 which is both the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the 125th anniversary of Our Saviour Church. I write these lines on December 28th which is the fourth day of the Twelve Days of Christmas and also the Festival of the Holy Innocents when the Church remembers the little boys of Bethlehem who perished in King Herod’s futile attempt to destroy the infant Savior (Matthew 2:13-18).

Our happiness on Christmas Eve was increased by the fact that Don Weber, our faithful organist, was able to play for the Holy Night Communion. He has served as organist in this Church since September 1959; this past September he had completed fifty-seven years here! In a day when commitments are hard to come by and people seem to move from one job to another, Our Saviour has been truly blessed to have Don Weber these many years. You realize how long Don has been here when you remember that when he began here Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House – and I had just graduated from City College High School! The Church Council and I truly wish that Don could go on for ever, but age with its infirmities has a way of catching up with us all. And so for reasons of health Don has announced his retirement. He will hold the title Organist Emeritus and he expects to play on occasion when he is able. I must say that as pastor I have been simply delighted with Don’s work: he is truly liturgical organist. He has a deep understanding of the worship of the Church in general and of its music in particular. We now face the challenge of choosing a successor. For the time being we have the services of several qualified organists. The Church Council has addressed all of these matters quite carefully and is certainly willing to receive input from our members. Don will be part of the committee which will look for his successor. We are of course going to have a grand recognition event for Don but that will take some time to put in place. In your prayers give thanks for Don and pray that our heavenly Father would continue to bless and keep him in all his ways.

We Christians celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas through January 5th. The following day is the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord, one of the great festivals of the Church in which we remember the coming of the Gentile wise men (Matthew 2:1-12) to worship the infant Lord. Epiphany has been called the “Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles” and the “Christmas of the Gentiles.” On the evening of Friday, January 6th, there will be a Festival Divine Service at which we’ll sing beloved Christmas carols which speak of the wise men: “The First Nowell,” “What Child is This?” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” together with Epiphany hymns. The Rev. Aaron Bueltmann, Pastor of Advent Church in Forest Hill, will be the preacher. The other congregations of our Circuit have been invited and there will be a reception after Service. The Epiphany Festival brings our Christmas celebration to a bright and joyful conclusion.

Sunday, January 1st, is of course New Year’s Day. In the calendar of the Church Year it is the Festival of the Circumcision and the Name of Jesus (Luke 2:21) and also the Eighth of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Should not we Christians wish to begin the New Year in the Lord’s House at the Lord’s Altar? Divine Service will as usual be at 11:00 A.M. but Sunday School and Adult Class will not meet.

Jake Mokris has been studying for a doctorate in physics at Johns Hopkins University. His adviser at Hopkins recently took a new job at the University of Haifa in Israel.  And so to complete his doctoral studies Jake must now follow his adviser to Haifa. On Sunday, January 8th, we’ll have a potluck luncheon to wish him well and thank him not least for his faithful carrying out of the duties of worship director following James Gray who served faithfully and well for so many years. Merton Masterson will be succeeding Jake in that capacity.

You may have noticed that the arch over the main door of the church facing The Alameda has recently been painted – thanks to the generosity of a member who prefers to remain anonymous. Such an arch is called a tympanum. It had been showing the wear of the 86 years since the Church’s dedication in 1930.

I must thank Joe Silver and William Hawkins for getting the Christmas trees and everyone who helped to decorate the Church. “Many hands make light work,” and so the whole task was finished in little more than an hour. Judy Volkman as usual took in hand the ordering of the poinsettias and their placement in the chancel. Our Church is always quite splendid in its Christmas finery. The decorations will be taken down on January 8th, the First Sunday after the Epiphany.

I have been remiss in not having thanked Paul Techau for serving as our cantor. He sings the variable parts of the liturgy which properly are sung: the Introit (entrance chant), the Gradual (between the Old Testament Lesson and the Epistle), the Alleluia Verse (before the Holy Gospel). These parts of the liturgy are largely taken from the Book of Psalms and have been in use in the Church for well over a thousand years. They compliment the Scripture readings of the Sunday or Festival. When the liturgy was revised at the Reformation these parts were retained.

I will be away from January 14th through January 20th attending the annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. On Sunday, January 15th, Pastor Thomas Foelber, until his retirement Pastor of Saint James’s Church in Overlea, and now our Circuit Visitor, will be with us. If you need a pastor while I am away, call my home phone (410.554.9994) and there will be a message to help you reach a pastor.

There will be a regular Voters Meeting on Sunday, January 22nd, following the Divine Service. Members of our congregation, 18 years and older, are eligible to participate in the Voters Meeting.

I suspect that as we enter the new year we are full of hopes and also misgivings. Those hopes and misgivings we place in the hands of Jesus our Savior in the confidence that His forgiving love will sustain us all our days. Pray for this congregation and for me your pastor and for the whole Christian Church on earth with all its pastors and ministers. Pray for our country and for all the nations of the earth that we may continue to serve our Lord and Savior with glad hearts and live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and honesty.

Affectionately in our Lord, 

PastorMcCleanSig

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, December, 2016

oslcbwOur Saviour Lutheran Church
in the city of Baltimore

December, 2016

 

christmas2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The calendar year 2016 is now rapidly coming to an end; soon we will enter the year of our Lord 2017 which will be marked by two anniversaries. With Lutherans throughout the world we will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and here at Our Saviour Church will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of this congregation. Both anniversaries call us to remember, repent, and give thanks: to remember all God’s innumerable blessings, to repent of our indifference and ingratitude for those blessings, and to give thanks that God’s mercies are new to us every morning and that through His dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord He daily forgives our sins, sustains us by His Holy Spirit, and promises the light and joy of the world to come. Needless to say, we are beginning to make plans for the celebration of both anniversaries.

 Now we find ourselves in the holy season of Advent, a time of self-examination and repentance, as we prepare for the celebration of our Saviour’s first coming in great humility as the Child of the Blessed Virgin Mary and also prepare for His coming again in glory to judge both the living and the dead. I suspect that we are all very much conscious of the devastating effects of human sin together with the wiles of the devil and of the despair which plagues countless human beings. In the light of those realities we Christians know that the hope which never puts to shame is found in the Saviour whose blood cleanses from all sin and through whose death and resurrection the door of heaven again stands open to all who place their trust in Him.

By way of contrast with the Roman Catholic Church the Lutheran Church does not require her members explicitly to confess their sins in the presence of the pastor. But the Lutheran Church does provide opportunity for the blessing of private confession and absolution. We learned in the Catechism: “Confession embraces two parts: one is that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the pastor as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven. Which sins should we confess? Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those which we do not know as we do in the Lord’s Prayer; but before the pastor we should confess those sins only which we know and feel in our hearts” (Luther’s Small Catechism) And we read in the Augsburg Confession: “It is taught among us that private absolution should be retained and not allowed to fall into disuse. However, in confession it is not necessary to enumerate all trespasses and sins, for this is impossible. Ps.19:12 ‘Who can discern his errors?'” (Augsburg Confession, Article XI). Dr. Luther himself regularly went to confession and said that without it the devil would easily have overcome him. The great blessing of private confession is the individual word of absolution. Consciences burdened with the memory of sin find release, peace, and hope. i am always available to hear confession. Since we now have a prayer desk with crucifix in the study we now have a place where confessions can be heard in strict privacy. If you have any questions about confession, do be in touch with me (charlesmcclean42@gmail.com, 410.554.9994). To prepare for confession one can examine one’s conscience by reflecting on the Ten Commandments and their meaning as found in the Catechism.

At the November Voters Meeting it was decided upon the recommendation of the Church Council that Our Saviour apply for Historic Designation from our City’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. The application process will take a number of months but will almost certainly be complete before the end of the 125th Anniversary year.

Also at the Voters Meeting the Congregation accepted the Church Council’s recommendation for our Christmas services. Because Christmas Day and New Year’s Day come on Sunday this year there will as usual be Divine Service at 11:00 A.M. on both days, but the Adult Class and Sunday School will not meet. The Holy Night Communion of Christmas Eve will be celebrated this year at 7:30 P.M. The New Year’s Eve service will be omitted this year. And Christmastide will close with the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord, Friday, January 6th; there will be a Festival Divine Service at 7:30 P.M. to which all the churches in our Circuit are invited. A reception will follow. There is a practical benefit in having Divine Service on Christmas morning and New Year’s morning. Some people are understandably reluctant to come out at night, so these daytime services provide them with an opportunity for worship. It surely goes without saying that every Christian who is able will wish to be at the Divine Service on the day of our Saviour’s birth: the Saviour once found wrapped in swaddling clothes now comes in the lowly bread and wine of His Sacrament.

Here are two passages from Christmas sermons of Dr. Luther.

“O thou boy, lying in the manger, thou art truly God who hast created me, and thou wilt not be wrathful with me because thou comest to me in this loving way – more loving cannot be imagined.”

“If you would truly love, let him be this way in your heart. If you regard the boy according to the flesh, he means nothing to you’ but much if this little Jesus is your God and Savior.”

Ponder these words of Dr. Luther as you prepare for your Christmas Communion and then come with joy to the Lord’s altar on the day of His birth.

Let us pray for one another, for the whole church, and for the whole world Christ came to save.

Affectionately in our Lord, 

PastorMcCleanSig

Pastor McClean

 

 

 

Our Saviour Parish News, November, 2016

oslcoutsidepicNOVEMBER, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Those of you who were at the Divine Service last Sunday, Reformation Sunday, will remember that the text for my sermon was taken from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).The Church as the mystical Body of Christ, His holy Bride, is a great reality in this world but we do not see her glory; instead the Church in this world is hidden under the cross of suffering, division, persecution. So it has always been and so it will always be until her risen Lord appears in glory. The Church is an eternal fellowship or communion: “I believe in the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.” Included in the Church are the believers here in this world and all those who have been called to Christ’s nearer presence in paradise. On the first Sunday in November, which we keep as All Saints Day, we celebrate this wonderful reality – as we sing in that wonderful All Saints Day hymn:      

O blest communion! Fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine
Alleluia! Alleluia!

It is no secret that we live in an age which has little use for the great unseen realities to which the Scriptures bear witness. And so how fortunate it is that every year we are pointed to those unseen realities on this great Feast of All Saints. But not only on All Saints Day should we be mindful of “blest communion,” this “fellowship divine,” for every celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar is a participation in the life of heaven. From earliest times the Church has prayed as we still do today: “Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify thy glorious name…” Our worship is no empty remembrance of an absent Lord! For the Lamb once slain on Calvary, now risen from the dead and worshipped in heaven is truly present under the outward forms of the consecrated bread and wine. And wherever Christ is, there too are His saints and all the holy angels.

 As November goes on the Scripture readings direct our attention more and more to the Last Day, the coming again in glory of our Lord and Savior. In fact the last Sunday in November this year is the First Sunday in Advent, that blessed season when we not only prepare to remember our Lord’s coming in humility as the Child of blessed Mary but we also look forward to His coming again to be our Judge. And so the thought of the Last Day is a call not only to hope but also to repentance and amendment of life. No one can compel you to be present at the Divine Service every Lord’s Day and Festival, but the Catechism teaches us that “We should fear and love God so that we may not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” When we do not do this we are sinning against the commandment of God. Repentance is empty if it does not lead to amendment of life. The age in which we live is much afflicted with individualism, thinking only of oneself. The Church as the communion of saints is the contradiction of individualism and places us in communion with God the Holy Trinity and with one another. And that means among other things that we are bound to encourage our fellow Christians in faith and hope and love. When we fail to be present at the Divine Service we sin not only against God but also against our fellow Christians who need our encouraging presence.

 Thanksgiving Day is November 24th but again this year we will celebrate Thanksgiving on its Eve, Wednesday, November 23rd, at 7:30 P.M. The giving of thanks is of course the heart of our life as Christians; the Divine Service is the Holy Eucharist which means the Holy Thanksgiving. The Catechism directs us to begin our morning and evening prayer with thanksgiving: “I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son…” Thanksgiving Day is the day when we give thanks especially for God’s mercies to us as a nation.

 And speaking of thanksgiving, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank Scott Jones for the beautiful new green banner which he has given. It fits in very well with the green altar hangings and has triangles and circles which are symbols of the Holy Trinity. I also wish to thank Paul and Mary Techau for the new prayer desk in my study and for the beautiful crucifix above it. Having this prayer desk in the study will make it more convenient for any who wish to use the great privilege of private confession which is taught in the Catechism.

 The postponed Voters Meeting will take place this coming Sunday after the Divine Service. We will hear about a proposal for placing our church building on the roster of historic buildings in our City. Do come to the Voters meeting to hear about this and other concerns. We will determine the schedule of services for Christmastide.

 We now have a potluck lunch every second Sunday of the month and will this month on November 13th.

 As we approach the coming of the new year we are conscious of the fact that 2017 will be not only the 500th anniversary of the Reformation but also the 125th anniversary of the founding of Our Saviour congregation. It is not too soon to give thought to how we might best keep these two milestones in the Church’s life.

 And do remember to let me know if you are ill or if you have any concern which you would discuss with your pastor. I am always glad to see you. You are in my prayers. I ask your prayers for me and our whole congregation. 

Affectionately in our Lord,
PastorMcCleanSig
Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

The holiday season is fast approaching, and, as in prior years, we look forward to sharing our food bounty with a few families who need a little extra help. Last year we provided dinners for ten families during Thanksgiving and Christmas. We would love to provide for the same number of families this year. To that end, and to the extent that you are able, please pick up an extra nonperishable food item for our holiday baskets. We will need the usual items for a traditional holiday table: canned cranberry sauce, canned sweet potatoes, green beans, greens, boxed mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, any canned vegetables, boxed cake mix, etc. Additionally, and any donations of turkeys would be greatly appreciated.

 We continue to remember the residents of Helping Up Mission. Personal grooming items are always needed. Monies collected from the Alms boxes are designated to benefit the needs of the residents of the Mission. Please share your spare change. Many thanks for caring for the needs of those less fortunate.

– Quilla Downs

Our Saviour Parish News, October, 2016

OCTOBER 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This month of October brings Family Day on October 9th, the beginning of the “Christian Essentials” class on October 16th, a Voters Meeting of the congregation on October 23 and Reformation Sunday on October 30th.

The Rev. Jacob P. Okwir, Pastor of Saint James’s Church, Overlea, will be the preacher on Family Day. Pastor Okwir was born in Southern Sudan; he lived in Uganda, Kenya, and Egypt before coming to the United States where he settled in Michigan. After completing studies in preparation for the Holy Ministry at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, he was ordained and installed as Pastor of Saint James’s Church this past July. Following the Divine Service there will be a congregational meal and fellowship time. Fried chicken and ham will be provided but we are asking everyone to bring a side dish. So that we can know about how many people to expect, please sign up on the clipboard on the piano and indicate what side dish or dessert you will bring. Bernie Knox is coordinating the meal, so call her at 410.335.3744 if you have any questions.

The “Christian Essentials” class which begins October 16th is intended both for adults who wish to prepare for confirmation, for inquirers, and for those who wish to review the teachings of Holy Scripture as set forth in Luther’s Small Catechism. The class meets at 9:45 A.M. Questions are especially welcome!

Following the Divine Service on October 23 we have a Voters Meeting of the congregation. One of the items to be discussed is the schedule for the Thanksgiving and Christmastide services. Last year we celebrated Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Eve. Christmas Day comes on a Sunday this year, and so we shall as usual have Divine Service at I I :00 A.M. Although we have not in recent years had a service on Christmas morning, it is surely unthinkable that the church should stand locked and empty on the morning of any Lord’s Day! Last year we had the Christmas Eve Divine Service at 9:30 rather than 10:30 P.M. We need to decide what is the best time for this service of the Holy Night. New Year’s Day also comes on Sunday this year and so there will – as on any other Sunday – be Divine Service at I I :00 A.M. There was in fact a time when Our Saviour regularly had a service on the morning of January 1which is not only the civil New Year but also the Festival of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus (Luke 2:21). We’ll need to decide whether or not we also wish to have the New Year’s Eve service this year. Do come to the Voters Meeting and share in reaching a consensus.

The last Sunday of October will as usual be kept as The Festival of the Reformation. It was on October 31st, 1517, that Dr. Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church of All Saints in Wittenberg his ninety-five theses. Although this event has come to be seen as a highly dramatic occurrence, it was in fact a perfectly ordinary one. For the door of the Castle Church was a kind of bulletin board; all kinds of notices were apparently posted there, also theses – such as Luther’s – for disputation among theologians. But though this event was in the context of the times perfectly ordinary, the theses posted in Wittenberg were soon known all over Europe. Devout Christians had long been lamenting the desperate need for a reformation of the Church: Luther’s theses were received as a clarion call to repentance – as we in fact read in the very first of his theses: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ [Matthew 4: 17] he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” In his sixty-second thesis we read: “The true treasure of the Church is the most holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.” Penitent sinners receive forgiveness, are made alive and receive great comfort, through the Gospel which is the good news of salvation through the saving death of Christ. This Gospel is given through Holy Baptism into Christ’s saving death, through Holy Absolution – the forgiveness spoken “in the stead and by the command of Christ” by His called and ordained servants, and through the gift of Christ’s true Body and Blood in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The entire reforming work of Dr. Luther and his colleagues consisted in removing only that which had come to obscure or deny the Gospel in the teaching and practice of the Church and then retaining everything that is so precious in the life of the Church through all the ages. And so in the Augsburg Confession, the principal confession of the faith of the Lutheran Church, we read in Article XXIV: “Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass (the Divine Service of Word and Sacrament), for the Mass is retained among us and celebrated with the highest reverence.” Our use of this liturgy is the outward and visible sign of continuity with the Church of all the ages, a priceless treasure to be cherished and handed down to those who come after. The Divine Service as we find it in the several authorized service books of our Synod – The Lutheran Hymnal (the red book), Lutheran Worship (the bluebook) and the more recently published Lutheran Service Book – is essentially the historic liturgy of the Church as that has been received among the churches of the Augsburg Confession. I cannot resist the urge to add that the letters “U A C” – which are literally written in stone on the cornerstone of our church building! – always remind us of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession which is part of the foundation of the Lutheran Church in general and of Our Saviour Church in particular. And so we pray:

Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide,
For round us falls the eventide;
Nor let Thy Word, that heavenly light,
For us be ever veiled in night.

In these last days of sore distress
Grant us, dear Lord, true steadfastness
That pure we keep, till life is spent,
Thy holy Word and Sacrament.

These hymn stanzas which come to us from the 16th century have often been prayed daily by pious Christians. I commend them to your use “in these last days of sore distress. I hope to see you on Family Day, on Reformation Sunday, and on every Lord’s Day when we gather to celebrate the glorious, life-giving resurrection of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ in whom is all our life and hope.

Affectionately in our Lord,
PastorMcCleanSig
Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, September 2016

SEPTEMBER 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

September 7th is the eighty-sixth anniversary of the dedication of this wonderful church building in which we worship the triune God, hear His Word, and receive the holy Sacraments. At the service of dedication on the morning of that day the preacher was Pastor William Dallmann who in the year 1892 had led the little group of faithful laymen, formerly members of Immanuel Church then on south Caroline Street (now at Loch Raven and Belvedere), who had come together to establish a church in which Christ’s true Gospel would be preached in the English rather than in the German language, His sermon at the dedication of our church building: “Confessing Christ in Augsburg in 1530 and in Baltimore in 1930,” drew attention to the fact that the same faith which had been joyfully and faithfully confessed by the Lutheran princes and cities before Emperor Charles V in the city of Augsburg in 1530 would be confessed also here in this building being dedicated four hundred years late. And so the cornerstone of this church building reads: “The Church of Our Saviour Evangelical Lutheran U. A. C.” “U.A.C.” stands for Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Why unaltered? Because attempts had been made already in the sixteenth century to change the teaching of this Confession, notably the article concerning the Holy Sacrament, so as to make the Confession acceptable to those who do not believe in the Real Presence of the true body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament but see the Sacrament as nothing more than a memorial meal in which the bread and wine merely represent the Lord’s body and blood. And so that “U.A.C.” On our cornerstone not only expresses our church’s adherence to the Augsburg Confession in general but also to Article X of that Confession in particular, that Article in which the Real Presence is confessed. And it is the Real Presence which makes of the Sacrament a heavenly feast of love and joy, the very center of the Church’s life.

Although the Augsburg Confession is the Lutheran Church’s principal confession of faith, the Small Catechism is that confession of faith with which most Lutherans are familiar. Luther prepared this Catechism for the instruction Of children. At first the Catechism was printed on large charts and eventually in an illustrated booklet. You may have noticed the large posters with the text of the Catechism now hanging in the hall just outside the door next to the chancel entrance. These have been given by Paul and Mary Techau and we thank them for this gift. These charts serve to remind us of Dr. Luther’s words: “Every morning, and whenever have time, I read and recite word for word the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Psalms, etc. I must still read and study the Catechism daily, yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and do it gladly.”

I very much enjoyed my trip to Milwaukee in early July as a pastoral delegate to the triennial convention of our Church body. In a day when there IS so much division even within Christian churches the convention showed that our Synod is a remarkably united Church. It is – as it has in fact been since its founding in 847 – still very. much a Church of the Augsburg Confession. The presence of leaders from overseas showed that our Synod is part of a worldwide fellowship of faithful, confessing Lutherans. Pray for our Synod, its congregations, its pastors, its schools, and all its leaders, especially for Pastor Matthew Harrison who serves as President of Synod.

I have again been asked to speak at the annual Saint Michael’s Conference at Zion Church in Detroit on September 26th. And so I will leave for Detroit after Divine Service on Sunday, September 25th and will return to Baltimore late in the afternoon on September 27th. If you need a pastor while am gone, you may call our good friend Pastor Roy Coats at 443.745.9200. The Saint Michael’s Conference focuses on the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church.

Our last Free Flea Market in 2016 will take place this coming Saturday, September 10th from 9:00 a.m. until noon. We always need help with putting out the goods and then putting away those that remain afterward. This is a fine opportunity to meet our neighbors and introduce them to Our Church.

On the following day, Sunday, September 11th, there will be a Potluck Lunch following Divine Service. Do Join your fellow members for this! If your name begins with A-CA bring a salad; H-L, a main dish; M-Z a dessert. Drinks will be provided.

September 11 is also the first day of Sunday School for children. I thank Mary Techau, Helen Gray, and William Hawkins for making this happen. Sunday School will begin with breakfast at 9:45 A.M.

There will also be class for adults who wish to be confirmed or review the Church ‘s teaching. As of this writing we still have not fixed a time for this.

It is not too soon to mention that Sunday, October 9th. will be our annual Family Day. Pastor Jacob Okwir, the newly ordained and installed Pastor of Saint James’s Church in Overlea will be the preacher. Having been born in Sudan and having studied at the universities of Khartoum in Sudan and Nairobi in Kenya, he and his family came to this country where he studied for the Holy Ministry at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis. Following Divine Service there will be a luncheon. Fried chicken and ham will be provided. We are asking that everyone bring a side dish for this meal. Family Day is always a happy occasion. Do plan on being present.

We extend our Christian sympathy to Lucille Carmichael and her family on the death Of her husband, Dr. Robert Carmichael. May he rest in peace and may Our heavenly Father comfort all who mourn his departure.

Let us continue to pray for one another and for all the Lord of the Church will send to us.

Affectionately in our Lord,
PastorMcCleanSig
Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

There is always need for non-perishable food items to stock the shelves at the CARES Community Food Pantry. A new school year has begun and food need has increased. As usual, the need is for peanut butter, jelly, canned vegetables, rice, boxed mashed potatoes, cereal, tuna fish, etc. Any donation large or small will help alleviate hunger.

Neighbors in need can visit the Food Pantry which is located at 5502 York Road in the rear of Saint Mary’s church. CARES allows customers/clients to choose the foods that their household members prefer. A nutritional guideline based on family size is provided on site. Hours of operation are Mondays and Thursday from 9:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. CARES also assists individuals and families with pending evictions, utility shut off and prescription needs.

Helping Up Mission

We are encouraging members to drop spare change in the collection boxes located in the front and rear of the Church. The change will be used to purchase grooming items for the men in recovery at the Helping Up Mission. We are still collecting personal size grooming items, tooth paste, shampoo, foot powder, etc.; additionally we are collecting socks, tee shifts, (new or gently worn) to be delivered to the Mission. If you have items designated for the Mission, please deliver them to Quilla Downs, Judy Volkman, or Mary Techau. The Mission is a recovery program with a high rate of success in fighting addiction and homelessness. As we do unto the least of these, we do unto Him.

– Quilla Downs

Our Saviour Parish News, July/August 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The month of July brings the triennial convention of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod which this year will be meeting in Milwaukee July 9-14. Since I have been elected as pastoral delegate from the circuit of churches to which we belong, I will be leaving for the convention on Friday, July 8th and will return on the 15th. If you are in need of a pastor while I am away, you may call James Gray  and he will contact Pastor Foelber. Do remember to pray for the delegates assembled in convention that they may be guided in their deliberations by the Holy Spirit. I will be traveling to and from convention with our good friend Pastor Coats who is delegate for the west Baltimore circuit of churches.

Our next free flea market will be held this coming Saturday, July 9th from 9:00 A.M. until 12:00 noon, rain or shine. We always need people to set up and take down and to greet the people who come. This is a way of sharing with our community and making ourselves known. There will also be a free flea market on Saturday, August 9th. Contact Judy Volkman if you are able to help.
As always I must remind you of continued need of non-perishable food items for the community food pantry. There is also the on-going need of grooming items for the men at the Helping Up Mission.

Trent Demarest, Maritza, and little John are now settling in at their new home in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I already miss them very much. I must thank the men of the congregation for the delightful barbecue they arranged for the Demarests on their last Sunday here at Our Saviour. Do remember Trent and Maritza and John in your prayers as they begin this new chapter of their lives.

We will be having Vacation Bible School from Monday, July 18th, through Friday, July 22nd, from 9:00 A.M. until 12 noon. Breakfast and lunch will be provided and Pastor Coats will be here to teach the children. Children from kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to attend.

Saint James’s Church, 8 West Overlea Avenue, invites us to attend the ordination and installation of their new pastor, Jacob P. Okwir, on Sunday, July 17th at 4:00 P.M. A dinner will follow. If you plan to attend the dinner please RSVP by July (410.668.0158).

Do remember that the financial needs of the Church continue throughout these summer months. It of course goes without saying that believers will be in the Lord’s House every Lord’s Day to give thanks on this first day of the week when our Savior rose from the dead to save us, to hear His holy Word and to receive Him in the blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood. Pray for our congregation and for me – though unworthy – your pastor.

Affectionately in our Lord,

PastorMcCleanSig

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, June 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On the Feast of Pentecost, May 15th, three new members were received into our congregation. The new members are Merton Masterson, Scott Jones, and Richard Brown. Scott’s young son, Ted, has become a baptized member of our congregation. We welcome them heartily and pray that we may be a blessing to one another.

June 12th, the Third Sunday after Trinity, will be Vicar Trent Demarest’s last Sunday here at Our Saviour. He has accepted a job offer to teach at a Lutheran parish day school in Wyoming. He will be teaching seventh and eighth grade with emphasis on theology, history, and Latin. I think that everyone will agree that we have certainly been blessed by the presence of Trent and his lovely wife Maritza during this past year. And then there has been the joy of the birth and baptism of their son John and watching him grow.

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Vicar Trent has been a tremendous help to me. I am very grateful to him for creating the fine website for our church and for keeping it up to date. This is an important part of outreach beyond the walls of the church building. I am going to miss Trent, Maritza and little John very much, but I am convinced that this new chapter in their lives will be a blessing to them. As a token of our gratitude, we are gathering a collection to give them as they go on their way. You may write a check to Our Saviour clearly marked “VICAR.” On the Demarests’ last Sunday with us the men of the congregation are having a barbecue after Divine Service.

The new Church Council was elected at the May Voters Meeting and will be installed on Sunday, June 19th. The new Council includes Gabe Purviance, president; Judy Volkman, secretary; Mary Techau, education; Paul Techau, property; Jake Mokris, worship; Gary Watson and Lynetric Bridges, members at large. They will be installed during the Divine Service on June 19th. Keep them in your prayers as they take counsel for the work of this congregation. I must also take this opportunity to thank the out-going members of the Council: Frank Ford, Anthony Baylor, James Gray, Cathy Gray, George McMillan, Christine and Donald Watson.

I also wish to thank all those who participated in the spring clean-up day on Saturday, June 4th, and Anthony Baylor for taking leadership in making this happen.

June 19th will also be the Sunday for our participation in the National Offering for our Synod which will be meeting in convention at Milwaukee July 9th-14th. Checks may be made out to Our Saviour Church clearly marked “SYNOD.” Remember the upcoming convention of our Synod in your prayers that the Holy Spirit would guide and direct its deliberations. As I mentioned in the May newsletter, both Pastor Coats and I are pastoral delegates to Convention.

I am happy to note that for some time now there has been a modest increase in Sunday church attendance. It of course remains to be seen what the summer will bring. I am personally convinced that, if we truly understand what Sunday is for and what the Divine Service is, we will be eager when Sunday comes to join our fellow Christians.

Sunday is the weekly celebration of Christ’s resurrection in which is all our hope. In the Divine Service Christ Himself not only speaks His word of pardon and peace but also feeds us with His holy Body and precious Blood, the price of our redemption, the pledge of our resurrection. We do not gather on Sunday to remember an absent Savior: we come to meet our risen Lord and Savior truly present in these Holy Mysteries. The Divine Service is called “divine”— meaning “having to do with God”— because God Himself here serves us by giving out His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation as we hear His Word and receive the holy Sacrament. Ponder these things in your heart— and act!

Let us continue to pray for one another and for those the Lord will send to us.

Affectionately in our Lord,

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Pastor McClean


Works of Mercy

Helping Up Mission has a long history of transforming the lives of fallen men in Baltimore. Our Saviour continues to assist the Mission with their fine work. The Mission is in constant need of the most basic items of clothes and grooming products. It has come to our attention that there is an urgent need for new and/or gently worn socks, underwear, tee and undershirts. In addition personal size, alcohol free mouth wash, stick deodorant, body and foot powder are needed. Bar soap and shower gel are also needed. Delivery of collected items will be made in a few weeks. Thank you for sharing and bringing hope to our neighbors who are recovering from homelessness, poverty, and addiction.

And canned food products and package food are always needed for our CARES neighborhood food bank. Many thanks for your gift of food.

– Quilla Downs


Free Flea Market

We have been blessed with a donation from Orphan Grain Train with forty boxes of summer clothes for men, women and children. They are a national organization that sends relief supplies to other countries, as well as within the USA. We came by this bounty through Cricket, our secretary, and the fact that they needed to distribute a number of boxes of items in order to move into their new warehouse. We will also be taking items for the flea market from members of Our Saviour, as we are sharing our gifts, material and spiritual, that God has so freely given us. Flea Markets will be held on the second Saturday of each month, June through September. Join us on June 11th to share those gifts with others in the community.

– Judy Volkman

Our Saviour Parish News, May 2016

AscensionThou hast raised our human nature
On the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heavenly places,
There with Thee in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
Man with God is on the throne.
Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension
We by faith behold our own.

 
– Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) The Lutheran Hymnal 218, stanza 5


Ascension Day Divine Service, 7:30 PM


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The celebration of the festivals of the Church Year is no arduous duty but rather a blessing and privilege for us Christians who in celebrating these festivals continually trace the loving purpose of God for our salvation. Thursday, May 5th, is Ascension Day. In Christopher Wordsworth’s great hymn for this festival we see with wonderful clarity the meaning of Jesus’ ascension: “Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension we by faith behold our own.” And in times as uncertain as these, it is a great comfort to know that, having ascended into heaven, Christ— not only as true God but also as our still human Brother who knows all our weakness— rules all things for the good of His believing children.

Just ten days later we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost which, together with Christmas and Easter, is one of the three great festivals of the Christian Year. On the first Pentecost the risen Lord sent down the Holy Spirit as He had promised upon the disciples in Jerusalem. God the Holy Spirit continues to come and, through the Gospel and Sacraments, creates saving faith in the hearts of human beings; then and now He brings Christ to us and us to Christ. As Dr. Luther says in his Large Catechism:

We could never recognize [God] the Father’s favor and grace were it not for the Lord Christ, who is a mirror of the Father’s heart. Apart from Him we see nothing but an angry and terrible Judge. But neither could we know anything of Christ, had it not been revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Alleluia! The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world: O come, let us worship Him!

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Christian education does not end with Confirmation but continues throughout our lives as Christians. Every Sunday morning at 9:45 AM we study the appointed readings from Holy Scripture for that day in the Church Year. The number of people attending this class has lately increased. Do come and join us! The format is quite informal, questions and discussion are very much encouraged!

Every Sunday we remember at the altar those whose names are listed in the bulletin. Do take that list home with you and pray for those whose names are listed. I should mention that Queenie Hardaway recently moved to the Augsburg Home. Remember her especially in your prayers as she begins this new chapter in her life.

The Saint Mark’s Conference on April 25-26 was a delightful occasion. The focus of the Conference was the confessional, sacramental, and liturgical life of our dear Lutheran Church, the Church of the Augsburg Confession. I must thank all the members of Our Saviour who helped to make this possible: James Gray for preparing the sacramental vessels and clothing the altar in the correct color of the day; Don Weber for serving as organist on Saint Mark’s Day; Helen Gray, Kathy Gray, Esther Shelton, and Bernie Knox who prepared Monday’s lunch; Paul and Mary Techau who took charge of the social hour following Monday Vespers and helped in other ways; William Hawkins and Ron Lang who were present on both days and always eager to be of help. Visitors were impressed with the reverent service of our faithful acolytes Jamera Breshay-Hawkins and Kai Hawkins. Vicar Trent is ever helpful. I must also thank the women of the Saint Monica Guild of Redeemer Church, Irvington, who prepared and served Tuesday’s lunch. I hope I have not forgotten to thank someone, but if I have, I beg your pardon! Audio from the St. Mark’s Conference is available here.

We have now had the joy of celebrating Easter Day and the bright Easter season. Now we look forward to celebrating the Ascension of our Lord (Thursday, May 5th) and the great Feast of Pentecost.

God is eager to bestow His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation in every Divine Service. Are we similarly eager to receive those gifts and thank and praise Him for His astonishing love?

Affectionately in our Lord and with my prayers,

signature

 

 

Pastor McClean


Things to come…

Free Flea Market – Saturday, May 14th

The first Free Flea Market of the year will be held on Saturday, May 14th, in the rear parking lot of the church. Donations and helpers are needed. Clothing, especially children’s and women’s, household items, games, toys are needed. Also needed are Volunteers to help set up and man the tables that morning. Be here by 8:30 AM. It runs from 9 AM until noon. Each visitor receives five tickets which they can redeem for any item This is our outreach to the community to share the gifis that God has so freely given us. Flyers will be distributed to the neighborhood and a table will be marmed at the iConnections gathering of GEDCO at the site of the old Stadium on May 7th. Join us for a fun day and share your faith with others.

– Judy Volkman

Voters Meeting – following Divine Service on Pentecost, Sunday May, 15th

Spring Clean-Up Day – Saturday, May 21st, 9:00 AM until noon.

Call Anthony Baylor (4l0.486.5199) for more information.

Our Saviour Parish News, March/April 2016

Holy Week & Easter Day:

  • Maundy Thursday: Divine Service, 7:30 PM

  • Good Friday: The Liturgy, 7:30 PM

  • Easter Even: The Easter Vigil, 7:30 PM

  • Easter Day: Festival Divine Service, 11:00 AM


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The season of Lent has flown by and we are now about to enter the Holy Week of the Lord’s Passion. Easter Day is almost here. This Lent we restored the old custom of veiling the crosses and crucifix in purple for the last two weeks of Lent which are called Passiontide. The veiling of the crosses is a sign that in His sufferings Christ’s divine glory as the F ather’s eternal Son was hidden. On Good Friday the crosses are veiled in black.

I think we have had a good Lenten season with a number of visitors at the Wednesday Lenten Vespers and soup suppers. Judy Volkman writes:

The Soup Suppers on Wednesdays in Lent were a great success. 100 people attended over 6 suppers and $213.50 was collected for the turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many thanks to the cooks who shared their culinary talents: Mary and Paul Techau, Maritza and Trent Demarest, the ushers, Julie Watson and Quilla Downs, Judy Volkman, and Helen Gray.

I must also thank Helen Gray for providing a delicious luncheon for the seminarians from our Fort Wayne Seminary who were here recently to see something of the life of our Baltimore city churches.

As most of you know by now, Maritza Demarest gave birth to a little boy on Thursday March 3rd. And so we congratulate Maritza and Vicar Trent in their happiness. The baby will be baptized on Saturday, March 19th, at noon. Everyone is invited. He will be named John Chrysostom which is the name of one of the great fourth century teachers of the Church who was given the name “Chrysostom” which means “golden mouthed” because of his eloquent preaching. Vicar Trent and Maritza were delighted by the baby shower and luncheon on February 21th.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. It goes without saying that Christians will wish to follow our Lord in His passion. I hope that each one of us will make a sincere effort be in God’s house on Good Friday. If the evening hour is not possible, one can attend some part of the Tre Ore Service which every year is held from 12 noon until three o’clock at Bethlehem Church, 4815 Hamilton Avenue. Although the Easter Vigil is a less familiar service, it is in fact the Church’s oldest celebration of the Lord’s resurrection. In the ancient Church Christians would gather on Easter Eve to hear the story of salvation from Holy Scripture, converts to the faith would in Holy Baptism be made one with the Savior in His death and resurrection, and then receive the Body and Blood of the risen Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. The whole service begins with the Lighting of the Paschal Candle which then burns at all services during the Easter season until Ascension Day. It is then extinguished following the reading of the Gospel which tells of how the risen Lord in His ascension withdrew His visible presence from His disciples. During the rest of the year the Paschal Candle is placed at the baptismal font as a sign that through Baptism we are joined to Christ’s resurrection. It also stands near the body of departed Christians during the funeral service as a sign of the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.

You may have noticed that the Paschal Candlestick here at Our Saviour is a beautifully carved piece of work. I recently discovered in The Home Visitor of April 22, 1963 that it was in fact given to Our Saviour congregation by Pastor and Mrs. Stiemke:

It was designed and hand carved by Mr. Herbert Read of Exeter, England, who also did the credence shelf and the font cover in our church. Mr. Read is probably best known in America for the beautiful memorial screen found in Washington Cathedral. . .The Candlestick is placed as a humble tribute to all who have found true peace in the Risen Lord and gained joy in serving their Master through love and faithfulness; although the tasks performed seemed almost unnoticed they receive our risen Redeemer’s commendation, ‘Well done!’

As members of Our Saviour we owe an immense debt of gratitude to Pastor Stiemke who took leadership in the building and furnishing of this wonderful church in which we are privileged to worship.

The end of April brings the Saint Mark’s Conference on April 25th and 26th. April 25th is Saint Mark’s Day in the calendar of the Church Year. Although primarily intended for pastors, anyone may attend. It goes without saying that members of Our Saviour will not be expected to pay the conference fee! I hope members will be here to welcome our guests.st mark conference flier

There will be four speakers. Pastor David Petersen of Redeemer Church in Fort Wayne will speak on Preaching and the Liturgy. Pastor Eric Andrae of First Trinity Church in Pittsburgh will speak on the witness of Bishop Bo Giertz. (During his long life Bishop Giertz (1905-1998) was the leader of faithful Lutherans in the Church of Sweden; he was in fact one of the great leaders of Lutheranism in the last century.) Our good friend Pastor Roy Axel Coats of Redeemer Church in Irvington will speak on the relationship between doctrine and preaching as seen in the work of Johann Gerhard (1582-1637), one of the greatest of Lutheran theologians. Dr. Leo Mackay, who is a member of Immanuel Church in Alexandria, a trustee of the Fort Wayne Seminary, and corporate vice-president of Lockheed Martin, will give a layman’s point of view concerning Liturgy and Preaching. Although the conference will be focused on preaching, it will also be concerned with the Church’s liturgical heritage. Divine Service will be celebrated on both days and Vespers will be sung on the 25th. The services will include some liturgical practices which were once common among Lutherans but were lost as the Church passed through many struggles both in Europe and here in North America. This Conference is an attempt to put together an “east coast” version of the Saint Michael’s Conference which has been meeting for a number of years at Zion Church in Detroit. In the next week or so I will be asking for volunteers to help with various tasks.

Wishing you a blessed Holy Week and joyous Easter, I am

 

Affectionately yours in Christ,

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Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, February 2016

February 10 – Ash Wednesday
Soup Supper, 6:30 PM
Divine Service with Imposition of Ashes, 7:30 PM


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Because Easter Day is so early this year, March 27th, we already find ourselves at the beginning of Lent. I hope that everyone who is able to do so will make the effort to be in God’s house on Ash Wednesday, the First Day of Lent. Lent has been kept by Christians since ancient times: then it was the final period of preparation of adult converts for baptism which took place at the Vigil of Easter Eve. Holy Scripture teaches that in baptism we are made one with Christ in His saving death and resurrection, are born again of water and the Spirit, receive the forgiveness of sins and are made members of Christ’s mystical body, the Church. And because we have been baptized we are called to daily repentance. As we learned in the Catechism, Baptism “signifies that the old Adam in us should through daily contrition and repentance die and be drowned with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” That is the daily life of Christians. Lent is simply a time of intensified effort to do just that through the discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving which the Lord Jesus assumes His followers will be engaged in as He says in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6: 1-21). God does not need our Lenten discipline but we do – so that we may grow in likeness to Him. I am always glad to answer any questions you may have about the observance of Lent. My telephone number is 410.554.9994; my email address is charlesmcclean42@gmail.com.

Again this year we will have the Wednesday evening Lenten Vespers at 7:30 PM preceded by a simple soup supper at 6:30 PM. The meditations this year will focus on the Passion of Christ as seen in the Book of Psalms. When our Savior appeared to His disciples on the evening of His resurrection He said, “These are my words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that everything written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds of understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:44t). All Scripture speaks of Christ. As we reverently and intently listen to God’s Word written, our sin is uncovered, we see the greatness of Christ’s forgiving love, and His mind is increasingly formed in us.

And speaking of Holy Scripture I should also mention the adult Bible Class which meets every Sunday morning at 9:45 A.M. We study the appointed readings– the Old Testament Lesson, the Epistle and the Gospel– for the day. Come and join us!

During the third week of January Vicar Trent and I attended the annual Symposium on the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fortunate we were to arrive home just before the blizzard really took over! And speaking of our Vicar, he and his wife eagerly await the arrival of their first child early in March. The Baptism is tentatively set for Saturday, March 19th, at noon. Let us keep both parents and child in our prayers. There will be a Baby Shower on Sunday, February 21st.

In reviewing the annual parish report which is sent to Synod each year I was happy to note that in 2015 four people were confirmed in our congregation and both an infant and a young person baptized. We also received two new members by letter of transfer. The Lord continues to build His Church in this place and throughout the world.

Now we begin our annual journey to Easter, the glad feast of the Lord’s Resurrection. I hope and pray that this Lent will prove to be for each one of you a time of renewal in faith and hope and love.

Alfectionately in our Lord,

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Pastor McClean


Holy Week Services:

Maundy Thursday
Divine Service, 7:30 PM

Good Friday
Liturgy of Good Friday, 7:30 PM

Easter Eve
The Easter Vigil, 7:30 PM


Works of Mercy

A word of thanks to our church family for the generous outpouring of nonperishable holiday food items and for the donation of eight frozen turkeys which we provided to designated families in our community. The turkeys were provided by individual member donations and from a Thrivent Gift. Because of the abundance of canned and packaged food donations, we were able to deliver several extra boxes to GEDCO’s community food pantry where there is always great need.

The process of assembling and labeling individual baskets went swiftly and smoothly thanks to our team of volunteers: William Hawkins, Mary Techau, David West, Judy Volkrnan, and James Smallwood. Please continue to support our food outreach to our neighbors.

– Quilla Downs

Our Saviour Parish News, January 2016

Bartolomé_Esteban_Murillo_-_Adoration_of_the_Magi_-_Google_Art_ProjectDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Wednesday, January 6th, is The Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord. There will be a Festival Divine Service at 7:30 PM. On Epiphany we remember the coming of the wise men from the east to worship the Christ Child: in the coming of the gentile wise men the Child born of Mary is shown to be God and Savior of the whole world. Epiphany has often been called “the Christmas of the Gentiles.”

I hope that many of us will join in worship, especially in view of the fact that the other congregations of our our circuit have been invited to join us. Our Circuit Visitor, Pastor Thomas Foelber, will preach. We will sing the beloved carols that speak of the coming of the wise men: “The First Nowell”, “What Child is This”, “We Three Kings of Orient Are”— and also Epiphany hymns, notably that wonderful hymn “As With Gladness Men of Old.” I really can’t imagine Epiphany without that hymn! There will be a simple reception after Divine Service.

Vicar and Mrs. Demarest have been in Oregon visiting the Vicar’s family during the days of Christmas. They will be with us again on the Second Sunday after Christmas Day, January 3. Do look at our website oursaviourbaltimore.org. Vicar Trent has been doing a splendid job with it and has just posted two beautiful pictures for the Feast of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus (January 1) and for Epiphany. More pictures of our church at Christmas and of parish life are on the way.

David Timothy Wiseman died suddenly on Wednesday, December 23rd, and was given Christian burial on Monday, December 28th. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him and may the risen Lord himself comfort his bereaved parents and all who mourn.

I wish to thank everyone who helped to decorate the church for Christmas. The decorations will be taken down after Divine Service on Sunday, January 10th, the First Sunday after Epiphany when the Gospel reading shows us the twelve year old Jesus among the teachers in the temple at Jerusalem. Helen and James Gray continue their indefatigable service. It was good to have Lauren and Christopher Watson assisting on Christmas Eve together with our faithful acolytes Jamera Breshay-Hawkins and Kai Hawkins. We again were glad to hear Judy Volkman sing “O Holy Night.” Anthony Baylor’s schedule permitted him to assist. And of course we are all thankful for our organist Don Weber! I especially loved his prelude and postlude on Christmas Eve: the very expressive prelude on “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” by Brahms and “In dulci jubilo” by Bach. Wonderful music! And our sexton William Hawkins worked very hard preparing the church for the festival. Bernie Knox has also been working to put the kitchen in order and Steve Knox has continued to put the finishing touches on the new heating system. Judy Volkman and Quilla Downs have continued their fine work of distributing food to the poor in our neighborhood. David West has also lent a helping hand. And we are blessed with the leadership of our congregational president, Gabe Purviance. I hope I have not forgotten anyone! Saying “thank you” is not only good manners: it is what is required of us as Christians. I also wish to thank all of you who remembered me with cards and gifts.

I believe I must say a few words about Christmas church attendance. It is of course an unhappy fact of life today that church attendance on Christmas has (with some notable exceptions) been declining almost everywhere in recent years. But I ask you this: if even the festival of our Savior’s birth does not draw us to His house and to His altar, what can? Dear brothers and sisters, these things ought not so to be! The Church Council will again this year consider what might be the best time for worship on Christmas Eve. We had hoped that an earlier hour would make it possible for more people to come. I invite your input in this matter. Yet I must also in all candor finally say this: that no matter what hour is settled on for worship, the world, our own sinful human nature, and the devil will conspire together to keep us from coming! Please call me (410-554-9994) if you are ever in need of a ride to church and I will do all I can to make that happen. We do need volunteers to help make this happen.

Vicar Trent and I will be attending the annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, January 19-22. I have been invited to speak at the one day conference which Redeemer Church in Fort Wayne sponsors on the day before the Symposium begins. And so the Vicar and I will be leaving for Fort Wayne immediately after Divine Service on Sunday, January 17th.

The beginning of a new year is always a time of both hope and anxiety. This new year perhaps brings more anxiety. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know the One who holds the future in His hand— the hands which still bear the marks of the nails, the hands of Him who is the embodied Love of God. He is our Lord, He is our Emmanuel— God with us. He is our Jesus who saves us from our sin. In His name I wish you a blessed new year.

Affectionately in our Lord,

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Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, December 2015

DurerDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In less than a month we will again celebrate Christmas. Here at Our Saviour the Holy Night Communion will be celebrated at 9:00 PM on Christmas Eve. After much thought and discussion, the Church Council decided to recommend and the Voters Meeting agreed that we have this Festival Divine Service somewhat earlier than in the past. There is a perception that people are less willing for various reasons to come out late at night. Be all that as it may, it goes without saying that every Christian will wish to be present in the Lord’s House on Christmas. The shepherds found the Christ Child in the manger, we find Him in the holy Sacrament of His body and blood.

The Church will be decorated for Christmas following the Divine Service on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, December 20th. “Many hands make light work.” The previous Sunday, December 13th, is the deadline for ordering poinsettias in memory or in honor of loved ones. Names and ten dollars for each plant should be given to Judy Volkman.

"Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness 1660-70," attributed to Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
“Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness”
(1660-70), attributed to Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

But before we come to Christmas we have the Advent season of preparation for the Feast. These four weeks before Christmas are not yet Christmas— despite what the world may say or do! During Advent Saint John the Baptist is after Christ Himself the one dominating figure of the season, and John is the great preacher of repentance. Although it is true that, as Dr. Luther said, “the Christian’s whole life should be one of repentance,” Advent and Lent are times for intensified focus on this theme. In order to repent we need to recognize our sins. So let me as your pastor urge you during these Advent weeks to examine your conscience in the light of God’s holy Word. There are any number of ways to do this. You might carefully read the Ten Commandments and their meanings in Luther’s Small Catechism or you might consider Christ’s Sermon on the Mount as found in chapters five through seven of Saint Matthew’s Gospel or Saint Paul’s catalogue of the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit” as found in Galatians 5:19-23. And then reflect on your own life in the light of all this. If you feel that you need help in doing this, I am always ready to be of assistance.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that, although the Lutheran Church does not require private confession before the pastor, private confession is taught both in the Augsburg Confession— the principle statement of the doctrine of the Lutheran Church— and in Luther’s Small Catechism which also provides a form for such confession and absolution. Those who use this means of grace testify to the great comfort provided when, having confessed their sins, they receive individual absolution. The pastor who hears such confessions can never under any circumstances divulge what he has heard to anyone, he may not even subsequently mention it to the penitent whose confession he has heard. And if you ask why, the answer is this: confession is made not to the pastor but to God; the pastor is simply a witness to such confession and then grants absolution and counsel. It goes without saying that I am always ready to hear confessions and answer questions about this means of grace. In any event, do use these Advent weeks to examine your conscience not least in preparation for your Christmas Communion.

In the past few weeks two long-time members of our congregation have been called out of this world to Christ’s nearer presence. On Saturday, November 21st, Earline Pride fell asleep in the Lord; the following day Elaine Albert peacefully died. On Saturday, December 12th, there will be a Memorial Service for Earline at 11 o’clock followed by a repast. On Saturday, December 19th, there will be a Memorial Service for Miss Albert at 10 o’clock. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon them and may our heavenly Father comfort all who mourn with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.

On the Second Sunday in Advent, December 6th, Paul and Mary Techau will be received as members of Our Saviour. They formerly were members of Immanuel Church in Alexandria whose pastor, Christopher Esget, preached for my installation as Pastor of Our Saviour. We welcome them and ask God’s blessing on their life here at Our Saviour.

Pastor and Gabe on the parish clean-up and bulb-panting day.
Pastor and Gabe on the parish clean-up and bulb-panting day.

This newsletter always provides me with an opportunity to say thank you. So I especially want to thank Anthony Baylor who organized the clean-up and planting day on Saturday, November 14th and to all who participated. I think all of us who joined in the clean-up and planting of bulbs thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. In the spring everyone will take delight in seeing the beautiful tulips in bloom.

On New Year’s Eve we will as usual have Divine Service at 7:30 PM Wednesday, January 6th, is the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. There will be a Festival Divine Service at 7:30 PM. All the congregations of our Circuit have been invited to join us. It will be a joyous celebration in which we will sing such familiar carols as “The First Nowell,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” “What Child is This?” and also such beloved hymns as “As with Gladness Men of Old.” The celebration of Epiphany provides a joyous conclusion to our Christmas celebration.

God bless you in these Advent days and bring you to a happy Christmas! Affectionately in our Lord,

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Pastor McClean


A Generous Donation

This past month Our Saviour received a very generous donation from a former member. This came in the form of a Thrivent Choice designation for over $1200. Thrivent is a fraternal insurance organization and they give back to the community. The Thrivent Choice program lets eligible members recommend where one of Thrivent’s charitable funds goes by designating Choice dollars. If you have life insurance or an annuity through Thrivent you may qualify to designate funds to Our Saviour. Go to http://www.thrivent.com/thriventchoice. Several members have already designated funds through Thrivent Choice. You can join them and access funds for Our Saviour.

– Judy Volkman

Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets

This past Thursday we provided complete Thanksgiving dinners to eleven families in our community. Because of an outpouring of generosity, our food drive was a success. Additionally, we have nearly enough fixings to supply our Christmas baskets. Thanks to Judy Volkrnan, a $250 grant from Thrivent was used to purchase ten turkeys. The 33rd Street Giant Supermarket donated a $25 gift card which was spent at the store. Looking towards Christmas, we have a pledge of five turkeys already. Additional turkey donations would be welcome. We thank our church family for gifts of food, of cash, and for the gift of time.

On Monday, November 23rd, we delivered the food boxes to Waverly Elementary/Middle School. With the help of additional hands, the packaging, the labeling, and the delivery went smoothly. A special thanks to Pastor McClean and to Eugene James who brought his grandson, to William Hawkins and Ron Lang. By the end of the school day, all of the families had picked up their baskets from the Church. We would like to provide for an equal number of families this Christmas. We believe it is possible.

Lastly, we responded to GEDCO’s requesty for a donation of food for their annual Thanksgiving Eve dinner for the residents of Harford House and Mica House. Under the umbrella of Our Saviour Lutheran Church we supplied four bags of dinner rolls and two pies.

– Quilla Downs

Our Saviour Parish News, November 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

From ancient times the first day of November has been kept as All Saints Day, the festival when the Church here on earth remembers all those who now rest in Christ’s nearer presence. Here at Our Saviour we always especially remember those members of our congregation who have fallen asleep in the Lord since the last All Saints Day: this year Dr. Joseph Jones and Doris Goods. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon them.

God’s saving purpose is misunderstood if its goal is described as isolated individuals finally at one with Him. No, His saving purpose is that all who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus will together be with Him and with one another in that kingdom of love and joy which has no end. As we say in the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe…in the communion of saints.” In last year’s November newsletter I shared with you a few words of Pastor Wilhelm Löhe (1811-1872), one of the great Fathers of the Lutheran Church in the nineteenth century. Here is the entire excerpt from his writings:

There is one eternal Church, part to be found here and part to be found in eternity. Here it becomes smaller and smaller, but there it becomes ever larger, for the yearning, struggling band is always being gathered to its people. When I was young I thirsted for an eternal fellowship. Now I know an eternal fellowship which becomes more and more close and binding— the holy Church! From it death shall not separate me, but death will for the first time bring me to complete enjoyment of love and fellowship.

Or, as we shall sing in a fine hymn of Charles Wesley (1707-1788) this coming Sunday:

The saints on earth and those above
But one communion make;
Joined to their Lord in bonds of love,
All of His grace partake.

One family, we dwell in Him,
One Church above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.

November 26th is Thanksgiving Day. We usually have Matins at 10 o’clock in the morning, but after careful thought and discussion the Church Council has recommended that we try celebrating our national Day of Thanksgiving with worship the evening before. Although Thanksgiving is not, strictly speaking, a festival of the Church Year, it remains our country’s national day of Thanksgiving. When I was a boy the churches were filled— but that was a long time ago! I am personally of the conviction that the neglect of worship at this national festival is yet another deplorable sign of lethargy, indifference, and the growing secularism which tries to sweep all before it. I hope that Divine Service on the Eve will make it possible for more people to attend. The hymns sung on the day are wonderful hymns, not to be missed: “Now Thank We All Our God,” “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” etc. It has been said that “thinking people are thankful people.” When we think of God’s undeserved blessings showered on our nation— despite our many sins as individuals and as a nation!— we will wish to give thanks to the Lord “whose mercy endureth forever.”

I should also mention that the Church Council has recommended that the Festival Divine Service of Christmas Eve be held at 9:00 PM rather than at 10:30 PM. More and more churches seem to be having their Christmas Eve worship somewhat earlier in the evening. I mention this change now so that you can plan your Christmas Eve in such a way that you will not miss the celebration of the Savior’s birth for your salvation.

Looking back over the past month, we certainly had a wonderful Family Day here on October 11th. I think that the attendance was better than it has been in several years, and we were blessed with a fine sermon by our friend, Pastor Elliott Robertson, of Martini Church. I wish to thank Louise Purviance for taking charge of the delightful luncheon which followed and also everyone who helped in any way to make our Family Day such a success.

The handsome red cope worn on Reformation Day is a gift from Vicar Trent and Maritza Demarest. The cope is a vestment which has continued to be used by the Lutheran bishops in Scandinavia since the time of the Reformation, and it has been restored in many parts of the Lutheran Church. If you have not yet done so, do look at our Church’s website. Vicar Trent has done a splendid job of putting it together and he continues to keep it up to date. Although I have not asked him to do this, he places a recording of my sermons on our website every week. Some of our members who are no longer able to come to church have said how much they appreciate this.

I cannot close without also thanking Steve Knox for all his work in connection with the installation of the new boiler which is now finally in place, up, and running! Please keep me in your prayers. You are daily in mine.

 

Affectionately in our Lord,
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+Pastor McClean


Thanksgiving Baskets

As an expression of our care and concern for those in need we will be collecting non-perishable food items for Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for families in the Waverly Elementary/Middle School Community. On October 6th we delivered six boxes of food to the CARES food pantry; that delivery depleted supply. Our focus now is to collected holiday foods (boxed mashed potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, string beans, sweet corn, macaroni, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, boxed cake mix, etc). With the help of a $250 donation from Thrivent and a gift card pledge from Giant Foods, we expect to provide dinners, including turkeys, for approximately ten families, for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. Many thanks for sharing your gifts of food.

— Quilla Downs

 

Our Saviour Parish News, October 2015

Luther in surplice
Luther administers communion with Melanchthon assisting.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On the last Sunday in October we will again celebrate the Festival of the Reformation which includes remembrance, thanksgiving, and repentance. We remember Dr. Martin Luther and his co-workers, we give thanks for the restoration to the Church of Christ’s saving Gospel in its purity and the right use of the holy Sacraments, and we repent of our sins: our taking for granted all these blessings, our negligence in the use of the means of grace and in making known to the world the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The picture here seen is an old copper plate portraying the distribution of the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Dr. Luther is about to administer our Lord’s body to a kneeling communicant; his co- worker, Dr. Philipp Melanchthon, holds the chalice of Christ’s blood. The picture reminds us of the blessed truth of the Real Presence of Christ’s true body and blood in the Holy Sacrament. When we come to the Divine Service on the Lord’s Day we do not find an absent Lord, for the risen Lord Himself in fact comes to us with His body and blood in the hallowed bread and cup. Because Christ Himself has taught us that the bread and wine of the Sacrament are His body and blood, we cannot invite members of churches which teach their people that the bread and wine of the Sacrament only represent the Savior’s body and blood to receive Communion at our altar. To do so would be to say that the doctrine of the Real Presence is a matter of indifference, and that we cannot do! It would in fact suggest a unity which does not exist and for which we must pray. I fear that many people— alas, even members of the Lutheran Church!— do not understand that the faithful Lutheran Church rejects not only what we believe to be the errors of the Roman Church but also the errors of the Reformed Protestant churches. We must therefore pray that these errors will one day be overcome and the unity of the faith restored. It also goes without saying that we must at all times view all our fellow Christians with kindness and compassion.

But before we get to Reformation Sunday we have our Family Day this coming Sunday, October 11th. Do plan on being present and invite your family and friends to attend. As always there will be good food and drink following the Divine Service. Our good friend, Pastor Elliott Robertson of Martini Church in south Baltimore, will preach the sermon. Do come and welcome him to Our Saviour!

And speaking of Martini Church, do plan on attending the Joint Reformation Service of our Missouri Synod Lutheran churches there at 4:00 PM on Reformation Sunday, October 25th. The Rev. Dr. Roland Ziegler of Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, will preach. Following the service there will a reception with good fellowship and plenty to eat and drink.

In the Calendar of the Church Year, Sunday October 18th is the day of Saint Luke the Evangelist: on that day the Church gives thanks for the life and work of Saint Luke who gave us both the wonderful Gospel which bears his name and also the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. It is Saint Luke who records the story of our Savior’s birth and the visit of the shepherds to the Christ Child. He also records the Song of Mary (the Magnificat – Luke 1:46-55), the Song of Zechariah (the Benedictus – Luke 1:68-79) and the Song of Simeon (the Nunc dimittis – Luke 2:29-32) which from ancient times have found a place in the Church’s worship. In fact at every Divine Service we sing Simeon’s Song, the Nunc dimittis, after we have received the Holy Sacrament.

Following the Divine Service on Saint Luke’s Day there will be a Voters Meeting. One item for consideration will be the time for the Festival Divine Service on Christmas Eve. For some years now it has been held at 10:30 PM, but there is now some feeling that an earlier hour might be better. The hope of the Church Council is that we can reach a consensus on this matter, and so I ask you to give the matter prayerful thought, and let us talk among ourselves about this. My own experience tells me that it is far better to come to a common mind about this sort of thing rather than to vote on it. And it is perhaps not too soon to remind you that on Thanksgiving Day there will as usual be sung Matins at 10:00 AM. This was once a very well attended service of worship, but it seems that people’s priorities today are— regrettably!— very different than they were when in days gone by the services of God’s house were central in people’s lives.

Do be sure to look at our Church’s website. Vicar Demarest has been doing a splendid job working on the website. It is by no means a finished project, but we are well on our way to having a very fine website as a tool of outreach for our parish. In last month’s newsletter I mentioned that we also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

And what about the boiler? On Tuesday, October 6th I spoke with the men who are working on this. They expressed the hope that the new boiler will be in operation by this coming Sunday. This has been a lengthy project but we are now seeing the light at the end of the turmel!

Several of our fellow members have been to the hospital in recent weeks: Frank Ford, Doris Goods, Helen Gray, Don Weber, and David West. As of this writing (Wednesday, October 7th) Doris and Helen are still hospitalized at Northwest Hospital. Do remember Doris and Helen in your prayers and pray for continued healing for Frank and Don and David.

The chancel at Zion Church in Detroit.
The chancel at Zion Church in Detroit.

Vicar Trent and I had an enjoyable time at the annual Saint Michael’s Conference at our Zion Church in Detroit. It is called “Saint Michael’s” because it is always held close to Saint Michael’s Day, September 29th. This conference is now in its eighteenth year. It focuses on the sacramental, liturgical, musical, catechetical life of the Church. This year’s speaker was my dear friend, the Rev. Dr. Charles Evanson, who until this year had for a number of years been teaching at the seminary of the Lithuanian Lutheran Church in the city of Klaipeda. He has also lectured for the Lutheran churches in Scandinavia, Germany, and Russia. It was a real treat to hear him and catch up on all his news. As I mentioned to the Church Council some months ago, we are hoping to have a “Saint Mark’s Conference” this April here at Our Saviour. A number of east coast Missouri Synod clergy are interested in making this happen. We’re calling it “Saint Mark’s Conference” because our plan is to hold it on or very near to Saint Mark’s Day, April 25th.

Let me remind you that we do have an adult Bible class every Sunday at 9:45 AM and the Vicar has a class for our young people. Christian education is a lifelong task— and privilege!

Let me also remind you once again that the Divine Service on the Lord’s Day— the weekly remembrance of the Lord’s resurrection— is the beating heart of the Church’s life. Here Christ the Saviour comes with His gift of pardon and peace in Gospel and Sacrament and we offer our prayer and praise to God who has saved us. By our presence we also encourage our fellow Christians. And so “The Lord’s People are in the Lord’s House every Lord’s Day.”

I must finally thank Gabe and Louise Purviance for so graciously hosting the Church Council’s Strategic Planning day at their home on September 19th. There was a very positive feeling as we reviewed the strengths and the challenges which we face as a congregation. You will be hearing more of this in the days ahead. What is vital is that we proceed with prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we daily pray for one another as members of the family that is Our Saviour congregation.

 

Affectionately in our Lord,
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Pastor McClean