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.
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.
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.