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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I ask that you keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.
Affectionately in our Lord,
WORKS OF MERCY
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