3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As most of you have heard by now, early in the morning of Sunday, August 9th, our beloved organist emeritus, Donald Weber, fell asleep in the Lord at the Gilchrist Hospice at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Our congregation owes him an enormous debt of gratitude for his fifty-eight years of service as our organist. His sister, Joan Talbert, has asked that we have a memorial service for him on the Sunday before or after his birthday which is November 18th. Timely notice will be given. Don loved this church and was loved by this congregation. He was a true church organist, for many years directed the choir, and continued to play the organ even when his health was making it ever more difficult for him to do so. Like so many of you I have such happy memories of him and his work! I remember so well how Don always chose for his prelude on Christmas Eve Johannes Brahms’s sublime prelude on the Christmas carol “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” and for the postlude one of J.S. Bach’s jubilant preludes on what is one of the oldest of all carols, “In dulci jubilo/Now Sing We Now Rejoice.” We are hoping that by November circumstances will be such that many people can come to the memorial service. Already Don’s many friends are hoping to come. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him and may the risen Lord comfort all who mourn with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.
Next Monday, September 7th, is the 90th Anniversary of the dedication of this church building. We will be celebrating this anniversary with Festival Divine Service on Sunday, October 4th. We have chosen this October date with hope for cooler weather! This anniversary gives us an opportunity to give thanks to God for His gracious presence in this place for so many years and for the privilege of worshiping in this truly splendid house of God.
The Rev. Dr. David Stechholz, Bishop Emeritus of the English District of Synod, will be the preacher for this anniversary. At the time of the dedication of this church Our Saviour congregation was a member of Synod’s English District. You may remember that our congregation had been founded in 1892 as a parish of the then “English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and Other States” which in 1911 was received into the then “German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States” (since 1947 bearing the name “The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod”) as its English District. It is interesting to note that the very first convention of the English District as part of Synod was held in 1912 at our old church in east Baltimore. My mother’s parents and their children were then members of the congregation. A leaflet from that convention lists my grandfather, Rudolph Moesta, as singing in the choir at the opening service. When the Southeastern District of Synod was founded in 1939, all the English District congregations within its geographical bounds became members of the Southeastern District—and so we are today.
We have decided to combine the anniversary celebration with Family Day this year. But because of the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans for a festive meal following the anniversary Divine Service are not yet certain. As things stand now, it is likely that box lunches will be provided. Members of the Church Council and I will be calling members for their thoughts on this matter.
Just this week our church received an email from a group of Christians in Kenya who found us by means of our website and were glad to receive the sound Scriptural teaching found there. They ask if we can help them in their life in Christ. Among other things they are in need of Bibles in their native language which is called Ekegusii. At its September meeting the Church Council will consider how we can help these fellow Christians. Pray for them and their leader, Isaac Zachary Okemwa. I think we see in this how the Holy Spirit uses modern means of communication to build and strengthen the Church.
In last month’s newsletter I mentioned that I am always willing to bring the Holy Sacrament to those who are still unable to come to church. If you want to receive Holy Communion at home, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (410) 554–9994. Leave a message if I am not available when you call. I regularly check these messages. Like the manna with which God fed the Israelites during their long journey in the wilderness, the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood is Food for our journey through the wilderness of this world until we come to the heavenly fatherland.
Remember that the first free flea market of this year will be held on Saturday, September 12th, 9:00 am–12:00 noon. We are always in need of volunteers. Safeguards against the Coronavirus will be observed, including the wearing of masks and social distancing. It goes without saying that people’s needs are great in this difficult time.
No one needs to be to be told just how difficult present circumstances are, both at home and abroad. Not only does the world suffer the ravages of this Coronavirus but there also seems to be ever increasing unrest throughout the world. Given these circumstances, neither complacency nor hysteria are helpful. What helps most is a truly penitent heart which both seeks the mercy of God for ourselves and for all who suffer and, remembering all those who care for the sick and the dying, also asks our gracious heavenly Father to prosper the work of those who are trying to discover effective medications and a vaccine. I find great comfort in the ninth verse of Psalm 145: “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
Remember that, if you are for any reason unable to attend Divine Service, the Service is ivestreamed at www.facebook.com/oursaviourbaltimore. You can hear the sermon by calling (410) 587–0979. Whether or not we are able physically to be present at Divine Service, we are never alone. Through our baptism into Christ we always remain living members of the communion of all saints both in heaven and on earth. Mindful of that holy communion, let us continue in prayer for each other and for all humankind!
WORKS OF MERCY
Free Flea Market. We are all set to go for the Free Flea Market on September 12th. It will be open from 9 am to noon. We have lots of household items, with more in storage to be put out. And there is a nice selection of summer clothes. For those who are volunteering, please be there around 8:30 am so we can review our protocols. Reaching out to share our bounty with those in need. Let Judy Volkman know at (410) 377–8833 if you can volunteer or donate items.