This week, on Sunday, January 28th, we will be holding our Annual Meeting, immediately following the 10:00 a.m. worship service. As I wrote the Pastor’s Annual Report, I found myself once more plunged into gratitude for this community. It is no surprise that Annual Reports can become Epiphanies in their own right, a window into the ways God is working among us. As I read through it, I found myself chuckling, rejoicing, praying, remembering, celebrating, planning, thinking, but most of all, thanking God for all of you, who are this Body of Christ. Annual Reports are available at the church office, should you need one. If you see Carol Gray, our Parish Administrator, please say thank you to her for her devoted work last week to edit and produce it. Thanks to all who contributed their reports and for all that we have been this year. Jenn Klopotoski designed the outstanding cover page, basing the illustration on a project she did with the children. (Above). The art is based on the verse from Micah 6:8 so many of us love:
“He has told you,
O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Last week, the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, the children worked on another creation based on Jesus’ call of the disciples when they were mending their nets: Mark 1: 14-22. Between the two of those art projects, the Sunday School has expressed something of the core of our self-understanding as a congregation, as disciples. The caption reads: Walking the Way of Jesus, We are Schooled in the Light of Christ.
See you Sunday! 9:00 a.m. for Sunday School; 10:00 a.m. for Worship, and 11:30 for the Annual Meeting.
During October, we have several opportunities to consider the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Here is a short list of what we are doing:
On October 9th at 7:00 p.m., Jonathan Rundman, a Finnish-American folk/rock composer and musician, will be offering a Hurricane Relief concert at St. Paul. Jonathan has performed at St. Paul in the past, and he was recently featured in a short video produced by the ELCA Refo500 team. We had scheduled the concert well in advance of the hurricanes that devastated areas along the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico. Now with the need so great, Jonathan has kindly agreed to change the focus of his concert to benefit hurricane relief.
On Sundays in October, during worship, we’ll be singing pieces composed by Martin Luther, especially his hymn settings for the parts of the service. Last Sunday, for example, we sang “Out of the Depths” for our confessional prayer. This Sunday, we’ll sing a Luther “Kyrie.”
Five members of the congregation are designing a history of our church starting in the 16th century to the present time which they will present on Reformation Sunday.
On October 15th,6;00 p.m. we’ll be holding a special Ecumenical Evensong at in the sanctuary, with two other churches, St. John’s Episcopal Church and Annisquam Village Church to mark the Reformation 500th anniversary, singing the Vespers setting from the Lutheran Book of Worship, and choral pieces Mendolssohn’s “Grant Peace We Pray,” and Schulz-Widmar’s “Fairest Lord Jesus.”
During October on Wednesday evenings, I am teaching a class called the Four Pillars of Lutheranism, on key Reformation insights with which we still reckon. We’ll also be looking at Declaration on the Way, to see how far we have come since October, 1517.
On October 29th, Reformation Sunday, we’ll have a special morning of worship, and a gathering after church during Fellowship Hour to mark the occasion.
Our Stewardship theme this year is taken from the notion of a Reformation garden. We are calling it: Abundant Garden: Beloved Community. Each week, we’ll honor the Lutheran insight of the “priesthood of all believers,” in the garden of our beloved community.
We hope you will come to any and all of these occasions. It’s only once every 500 years! Come and learn about who we are, where we have been, and where we hope to go.
Happy Easter–all 50 days of it. There was a wonderful, delighted spirit on Easter morning, despite the cold. Some of us were at Good Harbor at 6:00 a.m. to watch the sun rise–there were clouds, but it didn’t dim Easter light. Later at the 10:00 a.m. worship, the children brought in flowers for the altar; we sang our hearts out with our beloved choir, our guest musicians Michael Milnarik on tuba, his wife Sanae Kanda on piano; our bell choir rang in the hymn of the day. It was a festival of happy hearts, and a fitting joyous conclusion to Holy Week: Jesus is risen, indeed!