3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
November 1st is All Saints Day. We will keep this great festival of the Christian Year on the following Sunday. This festival brings to mind some words of Pastor Wilhelm Loehe (1808–1872) who for many years served as pastor in Neuendettelsau but whose labors proved to be a blessing far beyond that little Bavarian village. The Father Founder of our own Synod, Pastor Ferdinand Walther (1811–1887), once said that our own Synod owes more to Pastor Loehe than to any other human being. In his Three Books Concerning the Church Pastor Loehe has this to say: “We are born for fellowship. The Lord did not make the earth for one man nor heaven for one man. The divine fellowship is the Church of God, the communion of saints. In my pilgrimage through this dark vale I am not alone. The Church is an eternal fellowship here and hereafter.” On the feast of All Saints we celebrate and give thanks to God for this blessed reality, remembering especially all those who have loved and served Him in this world and now rest in His nearer presence. Here at Our Saviour it has long been the custom to remember especially fellow members of this congregation who have fallen asleep in the Lord since last All Saints Day. This year we remember our dear sister in Christ, Dorothy Bell, who entered eternal rest this past January. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon her.
On All Saints Sunday we will for the first time use the new white frontal—altar cloth—which now replaces the one that had been in use here since at least the 1940s. The old frontal had begun to fall apart and could not be repaired. The new frontal is like the old one decorated with blue and gold orphreys—decorative vertical panels of fabric—and with two pieces of embroidery from the old frontal: a decorative cross and what appear to be the letters I H S. These letters are actually the first three letters of the name of Jesus in the Greek language: iota, long e, sigma. The frontal has been made by Davis d’Ambly of Philadelphia. He is unquestionably one the finest ecclesiastical artists of the present day; examples of his work can be seen at his website: liturgicalartist.com.
This month of November will see the replacement of the mechanism which rings the eighteen bells in the church tower. Many people have contributed to this effort. We are now able to complete this project because of a very generous gift from Doug and Beth Skinner of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, who are friends of Our Saviour Church. And we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Mary Techau who has done so much work to make this happen!
In the October newsletter I neglected to mention that the Church Council has decided to begin an organ fund. We are of course blessed with a fine Moeller organ which was built when this church was dedicated in 1930 and rebuilt in 1988. But like all organs it requires ongoing attention and care. There are some things that need to be done now and others that can be done when funds are available. If you wish to contribute to the organ fund, simply write a check to the church and mark it “organ fund.”
Family Day was certainly a happy occasion. We had the best attendance we’ve had since Family Day last year. On the same day we were able to welcome a mobile vaccination clinic of the Baltimore City Health Department which was also here on Sunday, October 24th. In making space available for this effort we have been able to help our neighbors in this difficult time.
Our Sunday morning Bible Class has finally finished its study of the Gospel according to Saint Mark and has begun to study the book of the prophet Micah. We meet at 9:45 AM. Questions are welcome. Come and join us!
It seems as if I have much the same thing to say every year as Thanksgiving Day comes around: When I was a boy, the churches were filled, but that was a very long time ago. Nowadays it seems as if most people feel no need to be present in God’s House at Thanksgiving. But is it really too much to expect that Christian people worship in God’s House on our national day of Thanksgiving? I suspect that question answers itself. “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come!” (Lutheran Service Book, hymn 892) Like all our evening services, Thanksgiving Eve Vespers is at 7:30 PM.
The last Sunday in November is Advent Sunday, which is the beginning of the Advent season and the beginning of the new Church Year. The word “Advent” means “Coming,” and during this season the Church has always considered the three-fold Coming of our Lord: His coming in lowliness at Bethlehem, His daily coming in His holy Word and Sacraments, His coming in glory at the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. It is of course no secret that for many years now the holy season of Advent has been eclipsed by the frenzied “holiday season” which knows nothing of the necessary spiritual preparation for the Christmas festival. As human beings, we are (among other things) creatures of habit. Church attendance is (among other things) also a habit. Everyone knows that bad habits have a life of their own whereas good habits require effort! If during this Church Year now drawing to its close you have been negligent in joining your fellow Christians for Divine Service on the Lord’s Day, I strongly recommend that you use the arrival of the new Church Year as an opportunity to recover the good habit of worship every Lord’s Day. Worship on the Lord’s Day is a happy privilege because every Lord’s Day is a celebration of Christ’s Resurrection in which is all our hope.
Remember in your prayers James Bauman, Louis Bell, Dana Carmichael, Lucille Carmichael, Maggie Doswell, Albert Ford, Frank Ford, Iris Ford, Yolanda Ford, Sean Fortune, Helen Gray, Queenie Hardaway, Gloria Jones, Althea Masterson, Chris Mokris, Eric Phillips, Joseph and Julia Silver, Lawrence Smallwood, George Volkman, Dennis Watson, Gary Watson. Maggie Doswell continues to recover at Cedia Health Care Center, 4922 LaSalle Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782. During a recent visit she told me how much she appreciates the cards Our Saviour’s people have sent to her. Frank Ford’s daughter, Yolanda, continues to recover at Future Care, 1046 North Point Road, Baltimore, MD 21224. Louis Bell is now living at Autumn Lake Healthcare, 7 Sudbrook Lane, Pikesville, MD 21208.
We continue to livestream our services; we must thank Richard Brown for making this happen. Never hesitate to contact me via telephone (410) 554–9994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to receive the Sacrament at home or if you would like me to visit or just have a friendly chat. Please remember me in your prayers: you are in mine.
WORKS OF MERCY
Although we are not having Free Flea markets over the colder months, we are still collecting items for next spring. We need both men’s and women’s summer clothes, jewelry, and household items. We did receive books and some other assorted items from Holy Cross Lutheran on Loch Raven Blvd. These were not sold at their Yard Sale on October 9 and they kindly donated them to us. Donations can be dropped off at the church.