Tag Archives: St. John the Baptist

Our Saviour Parish News, August, 2021


3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
AUGUST, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In last month’s newsletter I said that there was reason to believe that we would soon be able to do more for the restoration of the tower bells. Paul Techau informs me that this project can now be completed because of the generosity of some friends of Our Saviour Church, Doug and Beth Skinner of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. They have donated the full amount for replacing the mechanism that rings the bells. This leaves the remaining monies in the Tower Bell Fund to cover other costs, such as the painting of the support beams (which has already been accomplished) and electrical work needed as part of the project. Doug and Beth were formerly members of Immanuel Church in Alexandria where I served before being called to Our Saviour. Doug and Beth’s only wish is that the new mechanism be dedicated to the memory of Gloria Lesser and her son Brian who were also long and faithful members of Immanuel. The McShane Bell Company, which made and installed the bells in 1934, will be doing the work. We give thanks for God’s generosity through these good friends!

Mary Techau informs me that, after a rather long Department of General Services meeting, a State Bond Bill in the amount of $40,000 has been approved to address the recurrent rain water problem in the undercroft of our church. After heavy rain in June we had to use a shop vac to remove 20 gallons of rainwater! So it is very good news that we can finally address this problem. We owe Mary a tremendous debt of gratitude for her untiring efforts to make this happen!

Judy Volkman reports that at our “Christmas in July” Free Flea Market we shared 183 items with 27 people. They also gathered over 150 items from our clothes. We now need new stock for household items, so check out your closets and cabinets and see what you can share. Judy reminds us that this is our outreach to share our bounty with our community. The next flea market is Saturday, August 14th, 9:00-12:00 Noon. As always, we need volunteers to greet and help our visitors.

Beginning on Sunday, August 1st, and continuing to the end of October, we will be using Divine Service I from the Lutheran Service Book. This is the familiar liturgy from the blue hymnal, Lutheran Worship. Although the musical setting is different, it is essentially the same as Divine Service III which we have been using for many months. Both liturgies are rooted in the Common Service of 1888 in which the historic Lutheran liturgy was provided in the English language. But Divine Service I includes some modest changes which were made in the second half of the last century. Most notable is the use of the hymn, “This is the Feast,” in place of the Gloria in excelsis, which begins with the “Christmas hymn of the angels”: “Glory be to God on high and on earth peace goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14). “This is the Feast” consists of excerpts from the Book of Revelation (5:12-13; 19:5-9) and points to the Sacrament of the Altar as the anticipation of the heavenly feast, the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” As we sang on the last Sunday in July: “This Sacrament God gives us, binds us in unity, Joins earth with heaven beyond us, time with eternity” (Lutheran Service Book 639).

In the Calendar of the Lutheran Service Book August 15th is the Day of Saint Mary, Mother of our Lord; August 29th is the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist. Since these days occur on Sunday this year, we have the opportunity to celebrate these ancient festivals: one in commemoration of the Mother of our Lord, the other in commemoration of the Forerunner of our Lord. In keeping the festival of our Lord’s Mother we join in fulfilling her prophecy, “All generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). Our Lord Himself said of John the Baptist, “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). In keeping these festivals we are deeply conscious of the unity of the Church both in heaven and on earth.

Your continued prayers are asked for Maggie Doswell who remains at the Cadia Healthcare Center, 4922 LaSalle Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782; also for Frank Ford’s daughter Yolanda who remains at Future Care, 1046 North Point Road, Baltimore, MD 21224. We continue to pray for(Jake, add the list). If there are others you wish us to pray for, please let me know. I am always ready to bring the Holy Sacrament to those who are unable to come to church. Call me at (410)554-9994 or email me at charlesmcclean42@gmail.com.

It seems that new uncertainties and difficulties have arisen in connection with the COVID pandemic. Let us then pray that both our country’s leaders and all our citizens may act in wisdom with the common good at heart; and let us continue to pray for the doctors and nurses and all who care for the sick, and for the scientists who continue to search for a cure for this scourge. Nothing less is required by our Lord’s commandment, “You shall love your neighbor.” I continue to take comfort in these words: “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9).

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, December 2015

DurerDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In less than a month we will again celebrate Christmas. Here at Our Saviour the Holy Night Communion will be celebrated at 9:00 PM on Christmas Eve. After much thought and discussion, the Church Council decided to recommend and the Voters Meeting agreed that we have this Festival Divine Service somewhat earlier than in the past. There is a perception that people are less willing for various reasons to come out late at night. Be all that as it may, it goes without saying that every Christian will wish to be present in the Lord’s House on Christmas. The shepherds found the Christ Child in the manger, we find Him in the holy Sacrament of His body and blood.

The Church will be decorated for Christmas following the Divine Service on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, December 20th. “Many hands make light work.” The previous Sunday, December 13th, is the deadline for ordering poinsettias in memory or in honor of loved ones. Names and ten dollars for each plant should be given to Judy Volkman.

"Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness 1660-70," attributed to Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
“Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness”
(1660-70), attributed to Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

But before we come to Christmas we have the Advent season of preparation for the Feast. These four weeks before Christmas are not yet Christmas— despite what the world may say or do! During Advent Saint John the Baptist is after Christ Himself the one dominating figure of the season, and John is the great preacher of repentance. Although it is true that, as Dr. Luther said, “the Christian’s whole life should be one of repentance,” Advent and Lent are times for intensified focus on this theme. In order to repent we need to recognize our sins. So let me as your pastor urge you during these Advent weeks to examine your conscience in the light of God’s holy Word. There are any number of ways to do this. You might carefully read the Ten Commandments and their meanings in Luther’s Small Catechism or you might consider Christ’s Sermon on the Mount as found in chapters five through seven of Saint Matthew’s Gospel or Saint Paul’s catalogue of the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit” as found in Galatians 5:19-23. And then reflect on your own life in the light of all this. If you feel that you need help in doing this, I am always ready to be of assistance.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that, although the Lutheran Church does not require private confession before the pastor, private confession is taught both in the Augsburg Confession— the principle statement of the doctrine of the Lutheran Church— and in Luther’s Small Catechism which also provides a form for such confession and absolution. Those who use this means of grace testify to the great comfort provided when, having confessed their sins, they receive individual absolution. The pastor who hears such confessions can never under any circumstances divulge what he has heard to anyone, he may not even subsequently mention it to the penitent whose confession he has heard. And if you ask why, the answer is this: confession is made not to the pastor but to God; the pastor is simply a witness to such confession and then grants absolution and counsel. It goes without saying that I am always ready to hear confessions and answer questions about this means of grace. In any event, do use these Advent weeks to examine your conscience not least in preparation for your Christmas Communion.

In the past few weeks two long-time members of our congregation have been called out of this world to Christ’s nearer presence. On Saturday, November 21st, Earline Pride fell asleep in the Lord; the following day Elaine Albert peacefully died. On Saturday, December 12th, there will be a Memorial Service for Earline at 11 o’clock followed by a repast. On Saturday, December 19th, there will be a Memorial Service for Miss Albert at 10 o’clock. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon them and may our heavenly Father comfort all who mourn with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.

On the Second Sunday in Advent, December 6th, Paul and Mary Techau will be received as members of Our Saviour. They formerly were members of Immanuel Church in Alexandria whose pastor, Christopher Esget, preached for my installation as Pastor of Our Saviour. We welcome them and ask God’s blessing on their life here at Our Saviour.

Pastor and Gabe on the parish clean-up and bulb-panting day.
Pastor and Gabe on the parish clean-up and bulb-panting day.

This newsletter always provides me with an opportunity to say thank you. So I especially want to thank Anthony Baylor who organized the clean-up and planting day on Saturday, November 14th and to all who participated. I think all of us who joined in the clean-up and planting of bulbs thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. In the spring everyone will take delight in seeing the beautiful tulips in bloom.

On New Year’s Eve we will as usual have Divine Service at 7:30 PM Wednesday, January 6th, is the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. There will be a Festival Divine Service at 7:30 PM. All the congregations of our Circuit have been invited to join us. It will be a joyous celebration in which we will sing such familiar carols as “The First Nowell,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” “What Child is This?” and also such beloved hymns as “As with Gladness Men of Old.” The celebration of Epiphany provides a joyous conclusion to our Christmas celebration.

God bless you in these Advent days and bring you to a happy Christmas! Affectionately in our Lord,



Pastor McClean

A Generous Donation

This past month Our Saviour received a very generous donation from a former member. This came in the form of a Thrivent Choice designation for over $1200. Thrivent is a fraternal insurance organization and they give back to the community. The Thrivent Choice program lets eligible members recommend where one of Thrivent’s charitable funds goes by designating Choice dollars. If you have life insurance or an annuity through Thrivent you may qualify to designate funds to Our Saviour. Go to http://www.thrivent.com/thriventchoice. Several members have already designated funds through Thrivent Choice. You can join them and access funds for Our Saviour.

– Judy Volkman

Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets

This past Thursday we provided complete Thanksgiving dinners to eleven families in our community. Because of an outpouring of generosity, our food drive was a success. Additionally, we have nearly enough fixings to supply our Christmas baskets. Thanks to Judy Volkrnan, a $250 grant from Thrivent was used to purchase ten turkeys. The 33rd Street Giant Supermarket donated a $25 gift card which was spent at the store. Looking towards Christmas, we have a pledge of five turkeys already. Additional turkey donations would be welcome. We thank our church family for gifts of food, of cash, and for the gift of time.

On Monday, November 23rd, we delivered the food boxes to Waverly Elementary/Middle School. With the help of additional hands, the packaging, the labeling, and the delivery went smoothly. A special thanks to Pastor McClean and to Eugene James who brought his grandson, to William Hawkins and Ron Lang. By the end of the school day, all of the families had picked up their baskets from the Church. We would like to provide for an equal number of families this Christmas. We believe it is possible.

Lastly, we responded to GEDCO’s requesty for a donation of food for their annual Thanksgiving Eve dinner for the residents of Harford House and Mica House. Under the umbrella of Our Saviour Lutheran Church we supplied four bags of dinner rolls and two pies.

– Quilla Downs