Tag Archives: Lutherans for Life

Our Saviour Parish News, July, 2017

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
JULY 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When the mother of Jesus visited her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb…for when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary herself said, “from now on all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me.” This meeting of Mary and Elizabeth and of their yet unborn children, the Lord Jesus and Saint John the Baptist, has from ancient times been commemorated on July 2nd which this year falls on Sunday. And so this coming Sunday we shall joyfully celebrate the Festival of the Visitation. You can read about this at Saint Luke 1:39-56.

This past Sunday we celebrated the 487th anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession, the principle confession of the faith of the Lutheran Church. A booklet containing the Augsburg Confession was distributed to all who were in Church. If for some reason you were not able to be present and wish to have a copy of this booklet, I’ll be happy to see that you get one.

Vacation Bible School has begun and we are very grateful to everyone who is helping to make this possible: our summer Vicar Brett Witmer, Mary Techau, our good friend Pastor Roy Coats and his summer Vicar Simeon Cornwell, as well as Mr. Hawkins, our Sexton, who is always so willing to help. Having repainted the undercroft he is now painting the classroom in which the Sunday School meets. At this year’s VBS the children are learning about the wonderful “I am” sayings of Jesus as we find them in the Gospel according to Saint John: “I am the Bread of Life,” “I am the Light of the world,” “I am the good Shepherd,” “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” etc. Pray for God’s blessing on this effort to bring children ever closer to their Savior.

I wish to thank all who helped with the second of our free flea markets of this year on Saturday, June 10th, and especially Judy Volkman who has led this effort for several years. The next free flea market will be held on Saturday, July 8th, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 Noon. We always need willing helpers. I think I can truthfully say that we have a good time doing this! It is a pleasure to meet our neighbors and indeed just to spend time with each other.

Do remember our continued efforts to support the Helping Up Mission and the community food cupboard at GEDCO. The Helping Up Mission is always in need of personal grooming items and GEDCO is always in need for food for the poor and needy.

The process for gaining historic designation for our beautiful church is progressing. The last meeting before the City Council will be July 17. Anyone may attend this meeting as our church history is presented before the council and a landmark designation is read and voted on. Once this process is complete we will be able to continue with maintenance and beautification projects around the church building knowing it will always remain a treasure in the city.

I must thank everyone who helped with the delicious luncheon we had on Sunday, June 4th, the Feast of Pentecost, to welcome our summer Vicar. I am very glad that he is here! We got to hear him preach a fine sermon on Sunday, June 18th; he’ll also be preaching on July 16th and August 20th. It is a real treat for me to listen to someone else’s voice! The Vicar has been helping with calls on our shut-in members and has been helping with the confirmation class and the Sunday adult study group and in general making himself useful.

And speaking of shut-in members, Darlene Grant has been able to return to her home after more than six months in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. Pray for her continued recovery. And we are all very glad that Gabe Purviance is again with us after a long course of treatment.

Our dear brother in Christ, David West, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, May 28th, after a brief illness. His funeral was held at the Church on Thursday, June 1st. He will certainly be missed here at Our Saviour and in the neighborhood where he was such a friendly and cheerful presence. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him! And may our Savior comfort all who mourn his departure with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

In 2016 not one member of our congregation died. But in the first half of this year we have mourned the death of three faithful members: Myrna Curtis, James Gray, and now David West. Ours is the loss but theirs is only gain. Says Saint Paul, “I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

Those of you who regularly attend Divine Service will have noticed that we have two new acolytes in addition to Kai Hawkins and Jamera Lewis-Hawkins who are so very faithful in serving week after week after week. They are an example to us all! Jamera will be out of town this summer. Our two new acolytes are Ted Jones and Dominick Carmichael-Myrie. I am very happy that our young people want to serve at the Lord’s altar.

On Sunday, July 9th, we will begin using the “blue book,” Lutheran Worship, and will continue to do so for several months. Since Palm Sunday we have been using the “red book,” The Lutheran Hymnal. Both of these books have been authorized for use in our Synod, the red hymnal in 1941, the blue hymnal in 1982. In 2007 a new hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book, was authorized for use in the congregations of our Synod. It in fact incorporates the best both of the red and of the blue hymnal, including the liturgies we use from both books.  I think the time has now come to consider the possibility of introducing this book. Nothing will be done quickly! Instead the possibility of using the Lutheran Service Book will be formally introduced to the congregation at the October Voters Meeting, but no action will be taken until the January Voters Meeting. This will provide time for members to familiarize themselves with the new book – several copies will be available for borrowing – and for discussion among ourselves. I repeat, nothing will be done quickly! I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

In a recent sermon Pastor Christopher Esget, who preached for the 125th anniversary of our congregation, had this to say: “The walls of Western Civilization are collapsing. And with that collapse, so also the church is shattered, splintered, fragmented. Many of our members have a weak or nominal commitment to Christianity. The children we spend so much time catechizing will go out into a world deeply hostile to everything we have taught them.” These words certainly have the ring of truth! Yet if we find ourselves despairing, we have clearly lost sight of the one true and living God, the God who creates out of nothing, the God who Himself joined us in our death and then rose triumphant from the grave. To be sure, there is no promise that Western Civilization will be saved, but there is Christ’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church – that this “only holy Church shall be and remain forever” (Augsburg Confession, Article VII). Our part is to live lives of repentance and faith nourished by Christ’s Gospel and holy Sacraments in which week by week, every Lord’s Day, He is present to pardon us, to renew us, and to strengthen our hope in His coming again to make all things new.

Do keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Lutherans for Life – Maryland Chapter

Maryland Lutherans for Life held a formation meeting at Our Saviour this past March and representatives from nine Lutheran churches in the greater Baltimore area were in attendance. You may have heard of the national organization, formed in 1976, in connection with the March for Life held each January in Washington DC. This certainly is part of the Maryland chapter’s mission, peacefully marching on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which overturned state laws regarding abortion. But Lutherans for Life includes all life issues, from conception to natural death. The gift of life is from our Creator and we uphold the sanctity of human life because all people are created and redeemed by God who intends they bear His image for time and for eternity (John 10:10).

As a chapter we will work to be a Gospel-motivated voice for life in our community. What does this look like for us? Each of us might meet someone who needs a listening ear, a hot line number, a tract or a counseling center address. Our chapter will begin compiling this information including adoption, bioethics. end of life issues, family living and many more topics, and educate ourselves that we might help our neighbor.

Our next meeting will be at Our Saviour, Saturday, November 18th, at 10:00 A.M. All are welcome to find out about this outreach.

– Mary Techau


Our Saviour Parish News, March, 2017

3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
March 2017


Wednesday, March 1
6:30 P.M. Soup Supper

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The beginning of March brings with it the beginning of Lent. “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he meant that the whole life of believers should be repentance.” This first of the 95 Theses which Dr. Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31st 1517 reminds us that repentance is by no means confined to one season of the Church Year. In his Small Catechism Dr. Luther asks, “What does such baptizing with water signify?? It signifies that the old Adam in us should through daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die together with all sins and evil desires, and again a new man daily come forth and arise who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” Nevertheless the Church has from ancient times set aside the forty days of the Lenten season as a time when we are especially conscious of Christian life as one of repentance. In preparation for Easter we meditate on the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus for our sins, we confess our sins and are strengthened by the daily forgiveness He extends to all who with penitent hearts place their trust in Him. It is a very serious error so suppose that God somehow needs our Lenten observance: it is rather you and I who need this holy season. And so I hope that everyone will make a sincere effort to be present in church as we begin the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday with Divine Service and Imposition of Ashes. Receiving the ashes we hear the words God spoke to Adam after he had fallen into sin: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). And “the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). On each of the following Wednesdays of the Lenten season there will be Lenten Vespers at 7:30 P.M. with meditations on the Passion of our Lord. A simple soup supper precedes these Lenten services at 6:30 P.M. 

Included with this newsletter is a copy of a letter from the President of Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the founding of our congregation. It was on March 10th, 1892 that twelve members of Immanuel Church, then on Caroline Street in east Baltimore, founded our congregation under the leadership of Pastor William Dallmann who was then the Pastor of English Emmanuel Church in west Baltimore. Emmanuel Church had been founded in 1888. So these two congregations were the beginning of the English work of the Missouri Synod in Baltimore. The name of our congregation has changed through the years. It was at first known as Jackson Square Lutheran Church because of its location. When in 1919 the old church was sold to Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church (which still worships in the old church) and the Church moved to its present location, the name was changed to The Church of Our Saviour. Then upon the merger of Our Saviour and Saint Matthew’s Church in April 1973 we became Our Saviour Lutheran Church. 125 years is a significant milestone which we will celebrate on Sunday, April 30th. The preacher for this occasion will be the Rev. Christopher Esget, Pastor of Immanuel Church in Alexandria and one of the five regional vice-presidents of the Missouri Synod. Do note this date in your calendar and plan on being present. You might also inform former members of our congregation about this celebration.

I think that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the potluck lunch on Sunday, February 12th, and the film on the life of Rosa Young, her remarkable work among the African American community as a confessor of the Gospel as proclaimed by the Lutheran Church. Mary Bridges, one of our older members, was in fact a student of Rosa Young. We give thanks for Rosa Young’s faithful witness as we continue to confess the same saving Gospel of Christ.

More than twenty people came to the meeting here at Our Saviour on February 18th to lay the foundation for a chapter of Lutherans for Life here in Baltimore. Hilary Haak, the Mission and Ministry Director of the national organization, led us through a very enlightening presentation on the basics of founding a chapter. We also were honored with the presence of the Rev. Everette Greene, vice-president of Lutherans for Life, a Baltimore native who is now Pastor of Immanuel Church in Cincinnati. There will be a follow up meeting here at Our Saviour on Saturday, March 18th, at 10:00 A.M. Everyone is welcome to attend. We are very much in just the beginning stages of this effort.

Confirmation classes for young people will be held on Tuesdays at 3:30 P.M. beginning February 28th. Dymond Hawkins and Ted Jones will be attending. Do let me know if there are other young people who might be invited.

The second Saint Mark’s Conference will be held on April 24 and 25 which is Saint Mark’s Day. Forty people attended last year’s Conference and we hope for a good response also this year. Although the Conference is chiefly of interest to pastors and seminarians, anyone may attend. The topic this year will be The Office of the Holy Ministry which will be considered in the light of Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, church history in general and the history of the Missouri Synod in particular. Publicity about this Conference will soon appear on our website.

We recently received the good news that, thanks to the generosity of Synod and Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne, we will have a summer vicar. We will soon be able to announce his name. I know how much we all enjoyed the presence of Trent Demarest as our vicar together with his wife Maritza and his infant son John. Do keep the Demarests in your prayers as Maritza is expecting another child in early March.

Darlene Grant is still hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital, James Gray is temporarily living at the Augsburg Home and recovering strength, Gabe Purviance is undergoing treatments. Remember to keep these fellow members in your prayers. 

I suspect most of us are familiar with the tithe as a guideline (not a law!) for giving in response to God’s gift of forgiveness, life and salvation. Less familiar perhaps is the idea of Lent as the “Tithe of the Year.” The year has 365 days, Lent has 40 days. There is of course no divine law that Lent must be observed and consciences must not be burdened with such a mistaken idea: God does not need our Lenten observances but you and I do. In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) our Lord speaks of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving which have always been understood as the traditional Lenten disciplines. I urge you to read and meditate on Matthew 6 as we begin the Lenten season. It is always a mistake to try to do too much by way of Lenten discipline. Consider your own spiritual health – or perhaps the lack thereof. For example, if you have been negligent in prayer for others you might make a short list of people who need your prayers. If you have been negligent in worshiping on the Lord’s Day, resolve to be present each Lord’s Day to celebrate the weekly memorial of the Lord’s resurrection and receive the precious gift of His holy Body and Blood. By your presence you also encourage your fellow Christians in their faith. I also highly recommend the use of “Portals of Prayer” which provides a fine brief meditation on Scripture and prayer for every day of the year.

As during this Lenten season we remember God’s great mercy toward us in His Son, let us pray for grace to be merciful to others, keeping our hearts free of all judgmental, condemning thoughts. In the words of that 4th century Syrian Christian, Saint Ephrem: 

O Lord and Master of my life,
Put far from me the spirit of pride, vainglory and hypocrisy,
But give rather to your servant a spirit of
humility, chastity, patience and love.
Yes, O Lord and King,
Help me to see my own faults and not to
judge my brother.
For you are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, February, 2017

3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
February 2017


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When blessed Mary, the Virgin Mother of our Lord, and His foster father Joseph presented the forty day old Christ Child in the temple at Jerusalem, they were met by the aged Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22-40) In the calendar of the Church Year February 2nd has from ancient times been kept in remembrance of this event. Saint Luke tells us that the aged Simeon took the Christ Child in his arms and prayed, “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; Your word has been fulfilled. My own eyes have seen the salvation which You have prepared in the sight of every people…” We are told that the aged prophetess Anna, who was ceaselessly praying and fasting in the temple, spoke of the infant Savior to all the people. Early on Sunday morning, January 15th, the Savior called our beloved sister Myrna Curtis out of this earthly life to His nearer presence. Like Simeon she rejoiced in her Saviour and like Anna she was a faithful witness to Him. And so, although we mourn her passing from us, we give thanks that for her faith has now given way to sight. Many people came to her funeral service on Monday, January 23rd; she had clearly touched the lives of so many people and led both little children and adults to the knowledge of their Savior. Her faithfulness, her cheerful and humble presence, were a great blessing to all of us who were privileged to know her We shall miss her, nevertheless, we rejoice in the hope of a blessed reunion in the presence of the risen Lord. May she rest in peace and may the Light perpetuate ever shine upon her!

Several of our members are convalescing at the present time: Darlene Grant, James Gray, and Gabe Purviance. Remember them in your prayers that they may have a good recovery.

On Sunday, February 12th, we will – as usual on the second Sunday of the month – have a potluck luncheon which will then be followed by a short film called “The First Rosa” which presents the life of Rosa J Young: a teacher, a confessor of Christ, a church planter, a member of our Synod. With her passion for helping others, educating children and sharing the good news of Jesus, She accomplished extraordinary things for the African American community. I understand that at least one of our older members was in fact a student of Rosa Young. She is called “The First Rosa” by way of contrast with Rosa Parks who was such a fearless leader in the civil rights movement Both of them were used by God to touch the lives of many people Do plan on staying for lunch, invite your friends, and bring a dish to share.

On Saturday, February 18th, there will be a meeting here at Our Saviour for the purpose of organizing a chapter of Lutherans for Life in the greater Baltimore area This is a national organization which has as its purpose bearing witness to the sanctity of the life God gives from conception to natural death. Lutherans for Life speaks out against the scourge of abortion and seeks to help women who find themselves with unexpected pregnancies and those who are troubled by having had an abortion; it also speaks out against the growing support for euthanasia and insists on compassionate care for the dying. With other such groups Lutherans tor Life speaks for the Culture of Life in a world increasingly burdened with the Culture of Death. The meeting begins with Matins at 10:00 A.M. Lunch will be provided. All the Missouri Synod congregations in our area have been invited to send representatives. Mary Techau is coordinating this meeting,

I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Fort Wayne, attending the annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions. I heard some excellent papers and attended the services in the Chapel of Concordia Theological Seminary which are always marked by such wonderful music and solid preaching. A highlight was the presentation of J. S. Bach’s cantata based on Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” I also saw many old and new friends. It was especially delightful to see our former vicar Trent Demarest, his wife Maritza. and their son John who is almost walking now and also expecting a little brother or sister in early March. They send their love to the people of Our Saviour. Keep the Demarests in your prayers. Trent continues to help with our website.

At the Voters Meeting on Sunday, January 22nd, it was resolved to give Don Weber the title of Organist Emeritus. Until we find a new organist we are being helped by Charles Ames who for many years was organist at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Annapolis and by Marie Herrington who is a student at the Peabody Conservatory. Don Weber will be a member of the committee to find his successor. The Voters also confirmed the appointment Of Merton Masterson as director of worship since Jake Mokris is now in Israel continuing to work on his doctoral studies in physics. Remember to keep Jake in your prayers.

The Rev. Christopher S. Esget has agreed to preach for the 125th anniversary of our congregation. He serves both as Pastor of Immanuel Church in Alexandria and also as Vice President of the East-Southeast Region of our Synod having been elected to that office during the Synodical Convention in Milwaukee this past summer. He preached for my installation as your pastor back in May 2013. The date for the anniversary service has not yet been set but will probably take place in the spring, We intend to invite former members of Our Saviour to join in this celebration,

February 18th is the 467th anniversary of Martin Luther’s death. The Church has always regarded the death of believers as their heavenly birthday. During this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation we Lutherans are especially conscious of the blessings which God bestowed on His Church through His faithful servant Martin Luther. His Small Catechism has formed the faith and life of countless children and adults. We are never finished learning all that the Catechism has to teach about the Six Chief Parts of Christian doctrine: the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and the Sacrament of the Altar. Most of us have our own copy of the Catechism. If for some reason you do not have one, please let me know and I’ll be glad to give you one.

Do note that Ash Wednesday is March 1st. Plan now to attend Divine Service on that day and the Wednesday Lenten Vespers which follow.

Let me say again that I am always available to respond to your spiritual needs. It is easiest to reach me by calling my home telephone (which has an answering machine) – 410.554.9994 – or charlesmcclean42@gmail.com. I ask that you keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

 Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean


Due to donations from the Lenten soup suppers and gifts from our church family, we were able to provide turkeys and provisions to seventeen needy families between the thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The families picked up their baskets from the church. We delivered baskets to two families due to disabilities. We continue to need your gifts of canned goods and nonperishable food items to fulfil our ongoing commitment to the community food pantry. On January 27, 2017 we delivered seven boxes of food. Please continue to remember our neighbors who are in need. Many thanks to the donors of food and to those who help with distribution and coordination, Judy Volkman, William Hawkins and Ron Lange.

We continue to remember residents of Helping up Mission; a February delivery is planned. We will be taking personal toiletry items: tooth brushes, towels, socks etc. Let me know if you have items you wish to include in the February delivery. Please remember to drop off any spare change in the Alms boxes. Any monies collected from the boxes will be used to purchase supplies for the residents of the Mission. Many thanks for your acts of kindness, and may God continue to bless and comfort you in the new year.
                                                              – Quilla Downs