Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our life as Christians is a life of thankfulness. One of the names for that Holy Sacrament which is the very center of the Church’s life is “The Holy Eucharist”: “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.“ And it seems that one of the purposes of these newsletters is to provide me with an opportunity to thank people.
I want to begin by thanking Vicar Trent Demarest who has been with us this summer. You perhaps have heard that he has decided to take a year out of his seminary studies, and so he will be with us for the coming year. I think that this is good news for us all! His wife Maritza will be teaching kindergarten at Emmanuel Lutheran School in Catonsville; she and Trent are expecting their first child around the end of March. I am especially grateful for the fine work Vicar Trent has done on our parish website. He has also set up a Facebook page for us. Being of a certain age and “technologically challenged,” Facebook is beyond my ken! But the Vicar assures me that he can keep up with it. It is apparently necessary for outreach especially to young people today.
I must thank Christine Watson for taking the lead in our Vacation Bible School in July. I think that the children who came and all of us who stayed for the picnic had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I must also thank Helen Gray for organizing the luncheon after the Divine Service on July 12th in which Jake Mokris and Maritza Demarest were confirmed and also after the Divine Service on August 9”’ in which Dymond Hawkins and Ayden Rogers received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.
A counter-weight for the sanctuary lamp hanging before the altar was dedicated on August 16th. George and Judy Volkman have given this in loving memory of their son Kenneth David Volkman. The sanctuary lamp itself has also been refurbished. This counterweight solves the long-standing problem of someone having to go up on a tall ladder every time the candle needed to be changed!
Albert Bell and Juanita Sherman were united in Holy Matrimony here at church on the afternoon of August 29th. We pray that Christ the Heavenly Bridegroom of His Bride the Church will richly bless them in their life together.
Our dear brother in Christ, Dr. Joseph Jones, fell asleep in the Lord on August 22th and was given Christian burial following the funeral service here at church on August 29th. We also extend our Christian sympathy to Ethlyn Gosnell whose husband Robert died in June. May our heavenly Father comfort all who mourn with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ!
It is so easy to take people for granted, so I also want to thank our secretary Cricket Hatton and William Hawkins our faithful sexton. We are blessed with these two faithful Christians who so cheerfully serve this church. And how can I forget to mention James Gray who has served so faithfully for so many years and continues to do so! And then there is Don Weber who has served as organist here for over ﬁfty years!
Our final Free Flea Market (until next spring) will be held this coming Saturday, September 12th, from 9:00-12:00 Noon. Judy Volkman has taken the lead in making this happen.
At noon on that same day there will be a brief service of remembrance and prayer in observance of the National Day for the Remembrance of Aborted Children. A psalm and a Scripture lesson will be read and then we shall pray the Litany, the Church’s great prayer of supplication in every need. The President of Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison, has asked all our congregations to observe this day as a witness against the wanton destruction of innocent human beings and as a day of prayer for our country which is caught up in this evil. There are of course those tragic circumstances when a choice must be made between the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child but, apart from such circumstances, abortion is morally indefensible and a very grave sin. It is not an unforgivable sin because “the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7), also those who repent of the sin of abortion. Our Synod has consistently spoken out against this evil. More than forty years ago Dr. Hermann Sasse, probably the greatest Lutheran theologian of the last century, had this to say: “We do not live any longer in a Christian society, if ever such a society has existed, We are in the same position in which the ancient church found itself. But by giving their witness with intrepid hearts, the early Christians made an inestimable contribution to the future of mankind.” A society which willingly disposes of “inconvenient” unborn children will in due course also dispose of “inconvenient” elderly people. In fact we are already seeing a movement toward “assisted suicide.” Can anyone fail to see that in today’s world life has become very cheap indeed?
The Church Council will be meeting at Gabe Purviance’s home on Saturday, September 19, to consider strategic planning for our work here at Our Saviour. Pray that the Holy Spirit guide our conversation.
Do mark your calendar now for Family Day, Sunday, October 11th. This is always an enjoyable occasion for everyone. Our guest preacher will be our good friend Pastor Elliott Robertson, the Pastor of Martini Church in south Baltimore. Come and bring your family and friends.
The following is a note regarding works of mercy from Quilla Downs:
We continue to collect food items for our hungry neighbors. We thank our congregation for consistently sharing their bounty with those who are in need. We continue to remember the recovering residents of Helping Up Mission. Our gifts of personal care and grooming items in personal sizes (tooth paste, deodorant, shaving cream, towels, foot powder, etc.) are an integral part of the recovery of the residents at the Mission.
And it seems as if— at long last!— the boiler will be replaced during the next few weeks. And here I must thank Steve Knox for his cheerfully given leadership in this whole project!
God Himself has brought us together in this congregation. May He continue to guide and direct us that we may be faithful witnesses to His redeeming love!
Affectionately in Our Lord,