November 22, 2023 AD
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
November 1st is All Saints Day and, when November 1st does not fall on Sunday, we keep the festival on the following Sunday, this year November 5th. On this festival we celebrate the blessed reality of the communion of saints, the wonderful fellowship of all who belong to Christ both in paradise and on earth. For many years our custom at Our Saviour has been to remember especially those members of our church who have been called to Christ’s nearer presence since the last All Saints Day. This year we will remember Lucille Carmichael, Maggie Doswell, and Robert Siperek. In the words of Bishop William Walsham How’s great hymn, “For All the Saints”:
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine,
Yet all are one in Thee for all are Thine.
November 24th is Thanksgiving Day and as is our custom we will keep this holiday with a service of Vespers on Thanksgiving Eve at 7:30 P.M. People of a certain age are much given to nostalgia: that’s certainly true of me! I freely admit that I am nostalgic about Thanksgiving Day when I was a boy. In those days our churches were full but that is – sadly – true no more. Many churches have simply abandoned public worship at Thanksgiving. It seems that nowadays most Americans see no reason to go to God’s house to give Him thanks for all His blessings to us as a nation. Of course we all are troubled by many circumstances in our country’s life, but – especially when compared with less fortunate lands! – we have so many reasons for thankfulness for all the blessings we do in fact enjoy.
And looking ahead to Thanksgiving, be sure to read Bernie Knox’s article at the end of this newsletter about the gift certificates which we give to needy families both at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Family Day, which we keep as the anniversary of the dedication of this church building, was as always a very happy occasion. Our good friend Pastor Elliott Robertson preached a wonderful sermon showing how God has guided and blessed our congregation through the years, highlighting the fiftieth anniversary of the merger of the Church of Our Saviour and Saint Matthew’s Church which was founded by people who had been members of Saint Matthew’s Church in Meherrin, Virginia. That congregation had been founded in 1888, four years before Our Saviour, (then known as Jackson Square) was founded in 1892. In the late 19th century the Missouri Synod to which we belong was – to put it mildly! – emphatically German! Yet Saint Matthew’s Meherrin was founded as an African American congregation and Our Saviour was founded for English-speaking people. To this day there are members of our congregation whose roots are in Meherrin. This is a unique history and one of which we can be justly proud! Copies of Pastor Robertson’s sermon will be available on the table in the back of the church and on the piano.
Our new organ console was dedicated on Sunday, October 22nd, and we are also planning to have a special celebration in January. Details will be announced in the December newsletter. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Paul Techau for his tireless efforts in bringing this project to a happy completion. A plaque will be affixed to the organ noting that this new console is dedicated to the memory of Joseph Silver.
A crepe myrtle tree has been planted in front of the church near the bus stop. We are hoping that when it has grown it will provide shade for people waiting for the bus. Wayne West procured the tree and he and Paul and Mary Techau planted it.
We continue to remember in prayer Bridget Bauman, James Bauman, Louis Bell, Dana Carmichael, Timothy Doswell, Quilla Downs, Bunny Duckett, Steve and Joyce Eaves, Albert Ford, Frank Ford, Iris Ford, Yolanda Ford, Sean Fortune, Helen Gray, Queenie Hardaway, Gloria Jones, Althea Masterson, Chris Mokris, Marian Rollins, Elaine Schwab, Julia Silver, Robert Siperek Jr., Jonah Rogness, Lawrence Smallwood, George Volkman, Dennis Watson, Gary Watson; Marvalisa, Sierra, Jonathan, and Steven Gibson. Yolanda Ford remains at Future Care, 1046 North Point Road, Baltimore, MD 21224; Louis Bell at Autumn Lake Healthcare, 7 Sudbrook Road, Pikesville, MD 21208, Queenie Hardaway at Augsburg Village, 6825 Campfield Road, Baltimore, MD 21207.
Please call (410-554-9994) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) me if you are unable to come to church and want me to visit you or bring you the Sacrament. Also let me know if you are in need of a ride to church and I will see to it that that need is met.
Let us be diligent in prayer for the whole Church and the whole world, and especially for our own congregation and country and for one another.
The Lord’s People are in the Lord’s House for the Lord’s Own Service every Lord’s Day.
Again this year OSLC will be providing Aldi’s Gift Certificates to needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are including this in our bulletins and newsletters now so that our gifts may be as generous as possible. Please indicate on your check memo line or on an accompanying note that the funds are designated for these Gift Certificates.
We also use the collections taken at our Lenten Soup Suppers to help support our Gift Certificates. In 2022 our four Soup Suppers yielded a total of $143.00. By Thanksgiving, including the Soup Supper funds and congregational donations, we were able to provide 12 families with a $65 gift certificate. At Christmas time our congregational donations were greater and we were able to provide 12 families with a $100.00 gift certificate. The recent 2023 Soup Suppers provided $348 as a beginning for our 2023 Thanksgiving and Christmas Certificates.
Please begin now to think about making generous contributions that will allow us to continue to help those less fortunate than ourselves provide a special meal for their families at a holiday which reminds us to be thankful for all the Lord has given us and at a second holiday which celebrates God’s greatest gift of all – the birthday of our Savior Jesus.
– Bernie Knox
November 23, 2022 AD
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the calendar of the Church Year the first day of November has from ancient times been kept as All Saints Day. Here at Our Saviour Church we keep this feast on the first Sunday in November. As is our custom, we will especially remember those who have been called to Christ’s nearer presence since the last All Saints Day: Joseph Silver, Philip Purviance, and the Rev. Gary Fisher, who was pastor of this Church from 1989 to 2006. In the Apostles Creed we confess our faith in “the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.” The Church here on earth is but a very small part of the communion of saints, the whole Church in heaven and on earth. The word “saint” comes from the Latin word “sanctus” which means holy. All who have been baptized into Christ are saints in the sense that all our sin has been pardoned, washed away through the blood of Christ. And as we hear in the Epistle appointed for All Saints Day, the saints in heaven are those “who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). And how comforting are the words which follow! “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more…for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd and lead them to springs of living water and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:16,17). In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist we join in the heavenly worship: “Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name…” Saint Paul says: “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
We are clearly living in an age which has lost the awareness of these unseen realities in an appalling way. One symptom of that loss is the deplorable decline in church attendance. To be a Christian is not a solitary thing, it is to be a member of the communion of saints which here on earth gathers every Lord’s Day and on festivals to worship the living God and receive our risen Lord and Savior in the Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood. To be a living member of Christ’s Church is not a matter of just having your name on a membership list! It is to share in the Church’s sacramental life and worship and mission. And when we—without a valid reason—absent ourselves from worship we not only harm ourselves, we also deprive our fellow Christians of the encouragement and support our presence gives.
We will again this year have a service of Vespers on Thanksgiving Eve. Now Thanksgiving Day is not—strictly speaking—a festival of the Church Year, but it is our national day of thanksgiving for God’s blessings to us as a nation. Being of a certain age, I remember the time when our churches were filled on Thanksgiving Day—but that was a very long time ago! What has changed? What are our priorities? What truly matters? I encourage you to think about these things.
Everyone who was in church on the first Sunday in October, when we kept the 92nd anniversary of the dedication of this church building and rededicated the newly restored bells in the tower, will no doubt agree that it was a very happy occasion. We were blessed by Pastor Carl Kruelle’s wonderful sermon. And it is always delightful to share a meal together. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this celebration.
We still have not found a permanent organist and our search continues. But we are very fortunate that Deborah Lewis has agreed to help us in the meantime. She is an accomplished church musician and we are very fortunate to have her with us. Pray for God’s guidance and help as we continue our search.
Food for the GEDCO food pantry continues to be an urgent need. Do remember to bring food items to the boxes just inside the door from the small parking lot north of the church. There is also a box for contributions for the Helping Up Mission. This Mission has helped so many men and now women to get back on their feet. It is a wonderful work of mercy.
We will again this Thanksgiving and at again at Christmas provide ALDI gift certificates for needy families connected with the Waverly School. Be sure to mark your checks “Gift Certificates.”
Let us continue to pray for all those for whom our prayers are desired: James Bauman, Louis Bell, Dana Carmichael, Lucille Carmichael, Maggie Doswell, Quilla Downs, Albert Ford, Frank Ford, Iris Ford, Yolanda Ford, Helen Gray, Queenie Hardaway, Gloria Jones, Althea Masterson, Mary Mokris, Julia Silver, Robert Siperek, Lawrence Smallwood, George Volkman, Dennis Watson, Gary Watson. Maggie Doswell is still at Cadia Healthcare, 4922 LaSalle Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782. Yolanda Ford remains at Future Care, 1046 North Point Road, Baltimore, MD 21224. Louis Bell remains at Autumn Lake HealthCare, 7 Sudbrook Road, Pikesville, MD 21208. Queenie Hardaway has for some time now been at Augsburg Village, 6825 Campfield Road, Baltimore, MD 21207
Our Sunday morning Bible Class has begun to study the First Letter of Saint Peter. It is a letter full of hope. The late Dr. Martin Franzmann, who for many years taught at our Synod’s Seminary in Saint Louis, has this to say about I Peter: “Anyone looking for a key book which will unlock for him the meaning of the whole New Testament would do well to give his days and nights to this letter.” Join us on Sunday morning at 9:45.
If you need a ride to church, please call me at (410) 554–9994 or email me at email@example.com. If you want me to visit you or, if you are not able to come to Divine Service, bring you the Sacrament at home, please do not hesitate to ask. For those who are unable to attend church we continue to livestream our services at Our Saviour Baltimore Facebook.
The Lord’s People are at the Lord’s Own Service in the Lord’s House every Lord’s Day.
WORKS OF MERCY
Although May 2023 seems far away, we need to restock for the Free Flea Market. At the conclusion of this year’s Flea Market, items that did not “move” were given to Orphan Grain Train (clothing) and Savers (household items). As you go through items you would like to discard, consider donating them to us during the year. Please let me know if you will be making a donation; I can be reached at (443) 425–3437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had recently posted that there were jobs that needed to be filled. I am happy to say that most of them been spoken for! Jean and Wayne West have agreed to take on most of them. They will be handling the lily and poinsettia orders, contact with the Helping Up Mission, and the financial secretary position. Bernie Knox and Gabe Purviance will be handling the holiday baskets. So many thanks for those who stepped up to help. There is one more job that needs to be filled: that of taking canned goods to CARES, probably every other month. If you can help with this, it would be very much appreciated!
Four milk crates, filled with canned goods, were delivered to CARES on October 24. So now the cartons are empty and waiting to be refilled. Many thanks to those who contributed items and shared the bounty the Lord has given us.
November 24, 2021 AD
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 email@example.com 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.
14th Sunday after Trinity
September 5, 2021 AD
November 25, 2020 AD
November 27, 2019 AD
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3: PUT YOUR CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR.
Wednesday, November 27
DIVINE SERVICE, 7:30 P.M.
“Come, ye thankful people, come”
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Since November 1 is All Saints Day we always keep the first Sunday in November in celebration of this festival of the Christian Year. It is a glorious festival in which we rejoice in the great reality of the communion of saints, that blessed company of all who are Christ’s both in paradise and on earth. We especially remember all those who have loved and served Him here on earth and who now rejoice in His nearer presence. We together with them look forward to that Last and Great Day when the risen Lord will appear in glory as Judge of the living and the dead and will raise from the dead the bodies of all who now rest in Him. According to the usage of the word in the New Testament all who are Christ’s are “saints,” that is “holy people” – holy not in ourselves but holy because in Baptism our sins have been forgiven and we have been clothed in the spotless robe of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. But from ancient times the word “saint” has especially been given to those in whom the light of Christ has shone more brightly: the virgin mother of our Lord and Savior, the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and confessors through all the ages. And all of us can think of those we’ve known whose lives were bright with faith and hope and love.
It is our custom especially to remember members of our congregation who have died since the last All Saints Day. This year we remember our dear sister in Christ, Ethlyn Gosnell, who fell asleep in the Lord on October 16 and was given Christian burial following the funeral service here in church on Friday, October 25. May she rest in peace and may the Light perpetual shine upon her. And may the risen Lord Himself comfort all who mourn her departure.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Germany this past month. It was delightful in every way – not least the German food and drink! Among other things I was able to see the city of Rastatt where one of my great-great-grandfathers had lived and the city of Bad Wildungen where one of my great-grandfathers had lived before coming to Baltimore. There I saw the church where Philip Nicolai served as pastor in the late 16th century. He is the author of what we Lutherans call “the King and Queen of Chorales”: “Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying” (LSB 516) and “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” (LSB 395). I visited Wittenberg and there saw the Castle Church of All Saints, the City Church of Saint Mary and Luther’s home; I attended Divine Service in the Chapel of the Old Latin School which now is an international center for faithful Lutheranism. I also visited the tomb of Saint Boniface (672-754) in Fulda. Because of his great missionary labors he has been called “the Apostle of Germany”; his name appears in the list of commemorations in our Synod’s present hymnal.
I think that we are all grateful for the new lighting in church. I for one had not realized how dim the lighting had become! Many of the bulbs had burned out but now they have been replaced with LED lights which will last a very long time.
The third Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day. On Thanksgiving Eve there will be Divine Service at 7:30 P.M. I remember how when I was a boy the churches would be filled on Thanksgiving – and that was as it should be. But that has long ceased to be true. There are no doubt all kinds of reasons for this. But do we not need to consider our priorities? Is it too much to ask that we spend one hour in the House of God to join together in giving thanks for His blessings to us all?
The last Sunday in November is the Last Sunday of the present Church Year. The following Sunday, Advent Sunday, will be the beginning of the new Church Year. As one Church Year is ending and another about to begin we surely need to examine our lives in the light of the Word of God. In doing so we will surely come to see our many sins in thought and word and deed and our utter dependence on the mercy of God in His Son Jesus Christ our Savior. Let us then be diligent in the use of God’s Word and Sacraments in which He freely bestows forgiveness of our sins, life, and salvation. Ask yourself: If this were my last day on earth, how would I wish to live?
I ask your prayers for me; you are in mine.
Works of Mercy
When I went to tally the results of the Free Flea markets this year, I was pleasantly surprised. 144 people attended and 1,165 items were distributed. And 12 volunteers assisted 32 times at these occasions. But even more impressive are the numbers for the 6 years we have been doing this outreach to the community. We touched the lives of 979 people and distributed 6,698 items. Wow!!!! That’s a lot of people and items that we gave from the bounty the Lord has given us! It couldn’t have been done without the helpful hands of the volunteers, who came out 264 times to assist. Quite impressive for a small congregation!
And that change that’s in your pocket? It all adds up. Bert Buchanan’s husband emptied his pockets every night in a jar for years. She recently shared these coins to be used to purchase items for the Helping Up Mission. The total came to $56.43. So every penny counts and is used to help others.
November 21, 2018 AD
14th Sunday after Trinity
September 2, 2018 AD
November 22, 2017 AD
November 23, 2016 AD
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Those of you who were at the Divine Service last Sunday, Reformation Sunday, will remember that the text for my sermon was taken from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).The Church as the mystical Body of Christ, His holy Bride, is a great reality in this world but we do not see her glory; instead the Church in this world is hidden under the cross of suffering, division, persecution. So it has always been and so it will always be until her risen Lord appears in glory. The Church is an eternal fellowship or communion: “I believe in the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.” Included in the Church are the believers here in this world and all those who have been called to Christ’s nearer presence in paradise. On the first Sunday in November, which we keep as All Saints Day, we celebrate this wonderful reality – as we sing in that wonderful All Saints Day hymn:
O blest communion! Fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine
It is no secret that we live in an age which has little use for the great unseen realities to which the Scriptures bear witness. And so how fortunate it is that every year we are pointed to those unseen realities on this great Feast of All Saints. But not only on All Saints Day should we be mindful of “blest communion,” this “fellowship divine,” for every celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar is a participation in the life of heaven. From earliest times the Church has prayed as we still do today: “Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify thy glorious name…” Our worship is no empty remembrance of an absent Lord! For the Lamb once slain on Calvary, now risen from the dead and worshipped in heaven is truly present under the outward forms of the consecrated bread and wine. And wherever Christ is, there too are His saints and all the holy angels.
As November goes on the Scripture readings direct our attention more and more to the Last Day, the coming again in glory of our Lord and Savior. In fact the last Sunday in November this year is the First Sunday in Advent, that blessed season when we not only prepare to remember our Lord’s coming in humility as the Child of blessed Mary but we also look forward to His coming again to be our Judge. And so the thought of the Last Day is a call not only to hope but also to repentance and amendment of life. No one can compel you to be present at the Divine Service every Lord’s Day and Festival, but the Catechism teaches us that “We should fear and love God so that we may not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” When we do not do this we are sinning against the commandment of God. Repentance is empty if it does not lead to amendment of life. The age in which we live is much afflicted with individualism, thinking only of oneself. The Church as the communion of saints is the contradiction of individualism and places us in communion with God the Holy Trinity and with one another. And that means among other things that we are bound to encourage our fellow Christians in faith and hope and love. When we fail to be present at the Divine Service we sin not only against God but also against our fellow Christians who need our encouraging presence.
Thanksgiving Day is November 24th but again this year we will celebrate Thanksgiving on its Eve, Wednesday, November 23rd, at 7:30 P.M. The giving of thanks is of course the heart of our life as Christians; the Divine Service is the Holy Eucharist which means the Holy Thanksgiving. The Catechism directs us to begin our morning and evening prayer with thanksgiving: “I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son…” Thanksgiving Day is the day when we give thanks especially for God’s mercies to us as a nation.
And speaking of thanksgiving, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank Scott Jones for the beautiful new green banner which he has given. It fits in very well with the green altar hangings and has triangles and circles which are symbols of the Holy Trinity. I also wish to thank Paul and Mary Techau for the new prayer desk in my study and for the beautiful crucifix above it. Having this prayer desk in the study will make it more convenient for any who wish to use the great privilege of private confession which is taught in the Catechism.
The postponed Voters Meeting will take place this coming Sunday after the Divine Service. We will hear about a proposal for placing our church building on the roster of historic buildings in our City. Do come to the Voters meeting to hear about this and other concerns. We will determine the schedule of services for Christmastide.
We now have a potluck lunch every second Sunday of the month and will this month on November 13th.
As we approach the coming of the new year we are conscious of the fact that 2017 will be not only the 500th anniversary of the Reformation but also the 125th anniversary of the founding of Our Saviour congregation. It is not too soon to give thought to how we might best keep these two milestones in the Church’s life.
And do remember to let me know if you are ill or if you have any concern which you would discuss with your pastor. I am always glad to see you. You are in my prayers. I ask your prayers for me and our whole congregation.
Works of Mercy
The holiday season is fast approaching, and, as in prior years, we look forward to sharing our food bounty with a few families who need a little extra help. Last year we provided dinners for ten families during Thanksgiving and Christmas. We would love to provide for the same number of families this year. To that end, and to the extent that you are able, please pick up an extra nonperishable food item for our holiday baskets. We will need the usual items for a traditional holiday table: canned cranberry sauce, canned sweet potatoes, green beans, greens, boxed mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, any canned vegetables, boxed cake mix, etc. Additionally, and any donations of turkeys would be greatly appreciated.
We continue to remember the residents of Helping Up Mission. Personal grooming items are always needed. Monies collected from the Alms boxes are designated to benefit the needs of the residents of the Mission. Please share your spare change. Many thanks for caring for the needs of those less fortunate.
– Quilla Downs
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
From ancient times the first day of November has been kept as All Saints Day, the festival when the Church here on earth remembers all those who now rest in Christ’s nearer presence. Here at Our Saviour we always especially remember those members of our congregation who have fallen asleep in the Lord since the last All Saints Day: this year Dr. Joseph Jones and Doris Goods. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon them.
God’s saving purpose is misunderstood if its goal is described as isolated individuals ﬁnally at one with Him. No, His saving purpose is that all who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus will together be with Him and with one another in that kingdom of love and joy which has no end. As we say in the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe…in the communion of saints.” In last year’s November newsletter I shared with you a few words of Pastor Wilhelm Löhe (1811-1872), one of the great Fathers of the Lutheran Church in the nineteenth century. Here is the entire excerpt from his writings:
There is one eternal Church, part to be found here and part to be found in eternity. Here it becomes smaller and smaller, but there it becomes ever larger, for the yearning, struggling band is always being gathered to its people. When I was young I thirsted for an eternal fellowship. Now I know an eternal fellowship which becomes more and more close and binding— the holy Church! From it death shall not separate me, but death will for the first time bring me to complete enjoyment of love and fellowship.
Or, as we shall sing in a fine hymn of Charles Wesley (1707-1788) this coming Sunday:
The saints on earth and those above
But one communion make;
Joined to their Lord in bonds of love,
All of His grace partake.
One family, we dwell in Him,
One Church above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.
November 26th is Thanksgiving Day. We usually have Matins at 10 o’clock in the morning, but after careful thought and discussion the Church Council has recommended that we try celebrating our national Day of Thanksgiving with worship the evening before. Although Thanksgiving is not, strictly speaking, a festival of the Church Year, it remains our country’s national day of Thanksgiving. When I was a boy the churches were filled— but that was a long time ago! I am personally of the conviction that the neglect of worship at this national festival is yet another deplorable sign of lethargy, indifference, and the growing secularism which tries to sweep all before it. I hope that Divine Service on the Eve will make it possible for more people to attend. The hymns sung on the day are wonderful hymns, not to be missed: “Now Thank We All Our God,” “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” etc. It has been said that “thinking people are thankful people.” When we think of God’s undeserved blessings showered on our nation— despite our many sins as individuals and as a nation!— we will wish to give thanks to the Lord “whose mercy endureth forever.”
I should also mention that the Church Council has recommended that the Festival Divine Service of Christmas Eve be held at 9:00 PM rather than at 10:30 PM. More and more churches seem to be having their Christmas Eve worship somewhat earlier in the evening. I mention this change now so that you can plan your Christmas Eve in such a way that you will not miss the celebration of the Savior’s birth for your salvation.
Looking back over the past month, we certainly had a wonderful Family Day here on October 11th. I think that the attendance was better than it has been in several years, and we were blessed with a ﬁne sermon by our friend, Pastor Elliott Robertson, of Martini Church. I wish to thank Louise Purviance for taking charge of the delightful luncheon which followed and also everyone who helped in any way to make our Family Day such a success.
The handsome red cope worn on Reformation Day is a gift from Vicar Trent and Maritza Demarest. The cope is a vestment which has continued to be used by the Lutheran bishops in Scandinavia since the time of the Reformation, and it has been restored in many parts of the Lutheran Church. If you have not yet done so, do look at our Church’s website. Vicar Trent has done a splendid job of putting it together and he continues to keep it up to date. Although I have not asked him to do this, he places a recording of my sermons on our website every week. Some of our members who are no longer able to come to church have said how much they appreciate this.
I cannot close without also thanking Steve Knox for all his work in connection with the installation of the new boiler which is now finally in place, up, and running! Please keep me in your prayers. You are daily in mine.
As an expression of our care and concern for those in need we will be collecting non-perishable food items for Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for families in the Waverly Elementary/Middle School Community. On October 6th we delivered six boxes of food to the CARES food pantry; that delivery depleted supply. Our focus now is to collected holiday foods (boxed mashed potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, string beans, sweet corn, macaroni, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, boxed cake mix, etc). With the help of a $250 donation from Thrivent and a gift card pledge from Giant Foods, we expect to provide dinners, including turkeys, for approximately ten families, for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. Many thanks for sharing your gifts of food.
— Quilla Downs