3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Sunday, October 4
The Ninetieth Anniversary of the Dedication
Of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Saviour
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In this year of our Lord 2020 three out of the four Sundays of October will be festival days here at Our Saviour. On October 4th we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the dedication of our church building, October 18th is Saint Luke the Evangelist’s Day and October 25th is Reformation Sunday.
We are continuing to follow COVID-19 protocols and to do our best to keep everyone safe. Many of these were discussed in the July newsletter and can be found on our church website (https://www.oursaviourbaltimore.org/2020/06/our-saviour-return-to-worship-announcement). When you arrive please wear a mask until you are in your place. Please observe social distancing in the nave. We in fact have plenty of space and we might as well use it all! We still have just four to a table for Communion—one person kneeling at each end of the two parts of the altar rail—and offering plates may be found on the piano and in the back of the church.
Our Saviour congregation was founded in 1892 as an English-speaking congregation by a number of laymen from German Immanuel Church then on South Caroline Street, now at Loch Raven and Belvedere. The old Jackson Square Methodist Church in east Baltimore was purchased as a place of worship. In 1919 the congregation moved to its present location and for ten years worshipped in a simple wooden chapel until the present splendid church was built in 1929/30.
Now, the stones and mortar and glass of a church building are not holy in themselves, but the purpose of a church building is most certainly holy. For here the Triune God draws near to us in the preaching of His holy Word and in the celebration of the Holy Sacrament in which the Son of God feeds us with His true body and blood, the price of our redemption, the sure pledge of the resurrection. Here we confess our sins, here we say our prayers, and here we adore the Holy and Undivided Trinity who has saved us. And so we can say as did Jacob when he awoke from the dream of the ladder from earth to heaven with the angels of God ascending and descending on it: “Surely the Lord is in this place… This is none other than the House of God and this is the Gate of Heaven” (Genesis 28:17). And so it is completely fitting that we should give thanks for all the blessings which God has bestowed in this hallowed place now for ninety long years.
The preacher for our anniversary will be the Rev. Dr. David P. Stechholz who is Bishop Emeritus of the English District of our Synod. He will also speak on the history of Lutheranism in North America at 9:45 am. When our church was dedicated in 1930, our congregation belonged to the English District of Synod. The first convention of the English District was in fact held in 1912 in our old Jackson Square Church in east Baltimore. The term bishop is perhaps unfamiliar in our circles. Yet more than thirty years ago the English District adopted the term bishop for its district president because the district had come to the conclusion that the title bishop more clearly expresses what district presidents in fact are and do. District presidents supervise the doctrine and practice of the pastors and congregations in their respective districts and—either in person or by proxy—ordain candidates for the Holy Ministry: Bishop is quite simply the ancient churchly name for those who do these things. It has been in use continuously since the Reformation in many parts of the Lutheran Church and continues to be in use in many of our sister churches around the world. It has recently been adopted by Synod’s Atlantic District.
In the Calendar of the Church Year (Lutheran Service Book, p. xi) October 18th is always Saint Luke the Evangelist’s Day. This year October 18th falls on Sunday and so we have an opportunity to remember and give thanks for the life and work of Saint Luke, one of the four evangelists whose statues adorn the reredos of our church’s altar. Saint Luke is the evangelist who has recorded for us the wonderful story of our Savior’s birth and some of the most beautiful parables of Jesus, for example, the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. There is a fine old hymn, dating from the 12th century, which we will sing on Saint Luke’s Day, which has some lines which so beautifully express the work of the four evangelists of the one Lord Christ:
In one harmonious witness the chosen four combine While each his own commission fulfills in every line.
A voters meeting of our congregation will be held after Divine Service on October 18th. Every member of Our Saviour, age eighteen and older, is eligible to participate.
The last Sunday of October brings the Festival of the Reformation. It was on October 31, 1517, the Eve of All Saints Day, that Dr. Luther posted 95 theses, that is, propositions for debate among theologians, on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Much has been written and continues to be written about these 95 propositions or theses but, when all is said and done, these theses were heard far and wide as a great call to repentance. And it was that clarion call to repentance which set in motion the great movement we know as the Reformation. “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ says, ‘Repent!’ he meant that the whole life of Christians should be one of repentance (Thesis 1)… The true treasure of the Church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God” (Thesis 62). Dr. Luther and his coworkers never imagined that they were somehow founding a new church. They understood their work as one of calling the whole church to repentance and faith in our crucified and risen Savior in whom alone is all our hope. Thirteen years later the Lutheran princes and two city councils presented the Confession of their faith to Emperor Charles V in the City of Augsburg. They understood themselves to be confessing the one Faith of the one Church and to be inviting others to join them in so confessing. In its continued adherence to the Augsburg Confession the Church called Lutheran continues to issue that invitation to all Christians. We Lutherans believe that in this Confession divided Christendom can find unity in the truth as revealed in Christ through the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures and confessed in the Three Ecumenical Creeds—the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian. Dr. Luther’s Small Catechism is a marvelous summary of this teaching.
We were all saddened by the death of our long-time organist emeritus, Don Weber, on August 9th yet we are glad that he now rests in the nearer presence of the Lord Jesus. On September 15th the burial service was read at his grave in the presence of a number of his friends. On Sunday, November 22nd, there will be a Memorial Service at 4:00 P.M. This will be an opportunity to remember and give thanks.
Adult Christian Education and Sunday School will resume on Sunday, October 4th. Bishop Stechholz will speak on the history of Lutheranism in North America. Come and join us! These classes are always quite informal, and questions are most welcome.
At Mary Techau’s suggestion a video has been made of the bells in our church tower. Gabe Purviance is the narrator and Abigail Scheck has made some equipment available for better audio. You can see and hear this at oursaviourbaltimore.org or on Youtube. We are still trying to gather funds to repair the mechanism which rings the bells.
Our first free flea market of the year took place on September 12th, and the next one will take place on Saturday, October 10th, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. We always need volunteers to help and welcome those who come.
Remember that the Sunday Divine Service is livestreamed every week and that you can also hear the Sunday sermon by calling 410.587.0979. Remember that if you wish to receive Holy Communion at home you should call me at 410.554.9994 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We now have been living with this COVID-19 pandemic for over half a year. It goes without saying that we must pray for all who are sick and for those who mourn, also for all who care for the sick and the dying and for those who are working on a vaccine and effective medications. There also seems to be so much unrest at home and abroad: this too requires us to pray more fervently for all who are anxious and suffering. In all of this commotion we need more than ever to take to heart the words of the psalmist, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Do continue to remember me in your prayers: you are in mine.
Affectionately in our Lord,