Mission Tidings Newsletter

February 2015

In This Issue
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Reverend's Reflections
St. Luke's Mariner's Cross



Dear People of God at St. Lukes,


How often during the day do you take up your cell phone* and check for missed calls, text messages, email, news, Facebook and so forth? Maybe you don't have a phone that fancy. How about turning on the computer? Or flipping on the TV...and switching around from channel to channel?


I have a suggestion as we head into Lent: could you forgo one of those times each day and instead turn to God for a quick check-in?


Center your heart, tune out what's going around you to focus in the exact same way you do when you pay attention to the screen in front of you. What to say next? You don't really have to say anything, but instead just be attentive-same mode of receptivity as receiving stuff from the screen. But wait!, as the TV commercials say, there's more! You can ask God things, like prayers for healing for others, or thanksgiving for a great thing that's just happened recently.


And as Lent comes this month, you may want to bring special focus to your inner, spiritual selves, how to feed that need of yours, how to nurture your spirit. During Lent this year I'm going to try something a bit different: I'll be looking for ways to build in some silence for reflection during the service, after readings, after the sermon, after taking communion. We might sing one or two less verses of hymns, or on a given Sunday omit a reading so that we might focus more on those that are read out loud. Even if we still hear the happy babble of a younger child, it will give occasion to reflect.


So consider your Sundays. If in the priorities of your life you are able to include Sunday worship in an intentional manner then you will find yourself challenged, but even more, fed for the coming week, month. Attending church matters.


In peace,



*would you believe there's an app for that, at least iphones...a counter that will tell you how many times a day you actually check in with your phone. Person I heard on NPR was surprised to find that for her it was 50 times a day.

 Ash Wednesday Services- Feb. 18th
7 AM, Noon and 7 PM
All services with Eucharist and disposition of ashes
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper- Feb. 17  

Please join us for our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, February 17th from 5:30 - 7:30 PM in Dutton Hall. This is a family friendly casual event for you to enjoy hot-off-the-grill pancakes, bacon and drinks. This year the proceeds will benefit Malawi Children's Mission (MCM). Cost is $5/person or $20/family. Please sign up in the narthex or online by end of day Sunday, February 15th.  Also, if you would like to donate food items please sign up in the Narthex or click here


Please contact Karen Hirsh @ [email protected] with any questions and visit www.malawichildrensmission.org for more information on MCM..
Community Dinner- Feb. 22 at 5 PM  
This month's meal will feature Salad, Shepherd's Pie, and Bread Pudding for dessert.  We need volunteers to make the Shepherd's Pie an Bread Pudding. Recipes available. Please sign up in the narthex.  Thanks for your continued support.
Lenten Adult Education      
Wednesday nights, 7 PM, starting Feb. 25th
A bit Downton Abbey, a bit of CSI (although without the violence or gore) wit some theology in the mix, too! 
Based on the novels by James Runcie, son of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie. Set in England, post-WWII, a vicar becomes an unwitting detective, and with a police officer solves crimes.
Some Saints for February

We have a resource in the Episcopal Church that had been called Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and more recently Holy Women, Holy Men. Most of the 365 days of the year are designated to observe the lives of exemplary believers; some lived long ago, some much more recently. Here are a few from February:


Cornelius the Centurion

Feb. 4th


All that we know about Cornelius is contained in the Acts of the Apostles (chapters 10-11). He was the first Gentile converted to the Christian faith, along with his household. A centurion was commander of a company of one hundred men in the Roman army, responsible for their discipline, both on the field of battle and in camp. A centurion was a Roman citizen, a military career man, well-paid, and generally noted for courage and competence. Some centurions, such as Cornelius, and those whom we know about from the Gospel narratives, were men of deep religious piety.


The author of Acts considered Cornelius' conversion very momentous for the future of Christianity. He records that it occurred as the result of divine intervention and revelation, and as a response to the preaching of Peter the chief apostle. The experience of Cornelius' household was regarded as comparable to a new Pentecost, and it was a primary precedent for the momentous decision of the apostolic council, held in Jerusalem a few years later, to admit Gentiles to full and equal partnership with Jewish converts in the household of faith.

According to tradition, Cornelius was the second Bishop of Caesarea, the metropolitan see of Palestine. Undoubtedly, Cornelius and his household formed the nucleus of the first Church in this important city, a Church that was gathered by Philip the Evangelist (Acts 8:40 and 21:8).



Absalom Jones

Freed Slave and First African American Priest, Feb. 13th


Absalom Jones was born a house slave in 1746 in Delaware. He taught himself to read out of the New Testament, among other books. When sixteen, he was sold to a store owner in Philadelphia. There he attended a night school for Blacks, operated by Quakers. At twenty, he married another slave, and purchased her freedom with his earnings.


Jones bought his own freedom in 1784. At St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church, he served as lay minister for its Black membership. The active evangelism of Jones and that of his friend, Richard Allen, greatly increased Black membership at St. George's. The alarmed vestry decided to segregate Blacks into an upstairs gallery, without notifying them. During a Sunday service when ushers attempted to remove them, the Blacks indignantly walked out in a body.

In 1787, Black Christians organized the Free African Society, the first organized Afro-American society, and Absalom Jones and Richard Allen were elected overseers. Members of the Society paid monthly dues for the benefit of those in need. The Society established communication with similar Black groups in other cities. In 1792, the Society began to build a church, which was dedicated on July 17, 1794.


The African Church applied for membership in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania on the following conditions: 1, that they be received as an organized body; 2, that they have control over their local affairs; 3, that Absalom Jones be licensed as layreader, and, if qualified, be ordained as minister. In October 1794 it was admitted as St. Thomas African Episcopal Church. Bishop White ordained Jones as deacon in 1795 and as priest on September 21, 1802.

Jones was an earnest preacher. He denounced slavery, and warned the oppressors to "clean their hands of slaves." To him, God was the Father, who always acted on "behalf of the oppressed and distressed." But it was his constant visiting and mild manner that made him beloved by his own flock and by the community. St. Thomas Church grew to over 500 members during its first year. Known as "the Black Bishop of the Episcopal Church," Jones was an example of persistent faith in God and in the Church as God's instrument.


Janani Luwum

February 17   Martyr, Uganda during Reign of Idi Amin


Janani Luwum was born in 1922 at Acholi in Uganda, near the Sudanese border. After his early years as a teacher and lay reader in Gulu, he was sent to St. Augustine's College, Canterbury. He was ordained priest in 1956 and returned to Uganda to assume responsibility for twenty-four congregations.


In 1969 Luwum became Bishop of Northern Uganda, where he was a faithful visitor to his parishes as well as a growing influence at international gatherings of the Anglican Communion. In 1974 he was elected Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire.

Luwum's new position brought him into direct contact and eventual confrontation with the Ugandan military dictator, Idi Amin, as the Archbishop sought to protect his people from the brutality of Amin's regime. In August of 1976 Makerere University was sacked by government troops. With Archbishop Luwum as their chair, the Christian leaders of the country drafted a strong memorandum of protest against officially sanctioned rape and murder.


In early February 1977 the Archbishop's residence was searched for arms by government security forces. On February 16 President Amin summoned Luwum to his palace. He went there, accompanied by the other Anglican bishops and by the Roman Catholic cardinal archbishop and a senior leader of the Muslim community. After being accused of complicity in a plot to murder the President, most of the clerics were allowed to leave. However, Archbishop Luwum was ordered to remain behind. As his companions departed, Luwum said, "They are going to kill me. I am not afraid." He was never seen alive again. The following day the government announced that he had been killed in an automobile accident while resisting arrest. Only after some weeks had passed was his bullet-riddled body released to his family for burial.


Early in his confrontation with the Ugandan government, Archbishop Luwum answered one of his critics by saying, "I do not know how long I shall occupy this chair. I live as though there will be no tomorrow. . . . While the opportunity is there, I preach the Gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God."



George Herbert

February 27


George Herbert is famous for his poems and his prose work, A Priest in the Temple: or The Country Parson. He is portrayed by his biographer Izaak Walton as a model of the saintly parish priest. Herbert described his poems as "a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that have passed betwixt God and my soul, before I could submit mine to the will of Jesus my Master; in whose service I have found perfect freedom."


Herbert had begun studying divinity in his early twenties, and in 1626 he took Holy Orders. King Charles provided him with a living as rector of the parishes of Fugglestone and Bemerton in 1630.


His collection of poems, The Temple, was given to his friend, Nicholas Ferrar, and published posthumously. Two of his poems are well known hymns: "Teach me, my God and King," and "Let all the world in every corner sing." Their grace, strength, and metaphysical imagery influenced later poets, including Henry Vaughan and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.


Love (III)

George Herbert, 1593 - 1633


Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,

            Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

            From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

            If I lacked anything.


"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":

            Love said, "You shall be he."

"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,

            I cannot look on thee."

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

            "Who made the eyes but I?"


"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame 

Go where it doth deserve."

"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"

            "My dear, then I will serve."

"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."

            So I did sit and eat. 

Christian Ed Update

The Christian Education Committee is delighted to have such an enthusiastic group of children and families joining us in church school this year.   We are excited to have some new activities for all the kids in the upcoming weeks and months.


First, we plan to kick off a fundraising project for the Lenten season. Starting on Ash Wednesday, we will be raising money for Heifer International, a well-known and respected charity which aids people around the globe in attaining self-sufficiency by providing animals for commerce and sustenance. Children will work towards raising funds to provide chicks, bunnies, bees, or other creatures to communities in need. This activity ties in well with the arrival of spring at the end of Lent, reminding us all of the rebirth and hope that we all feel at the closure of the Lenten season.


We are also excited to host a Lock-in on February 28th for all age groups. The event will be overnight for older children, and the younger ones can stay and play games and enjoy activities until 9pm that evening. We are looking for a few parents to volunteer to chaperone the event, so please contact us if you are interested in helping with this event.


The Scavenger Hunt is in the planning stages and we will be bringing you more information about it in the coming weeks.


All of our church school classes are learning about some exciting themes. One that we are particularly excited to share is that of Mrs. Barber's class. You can see all the little people displayed around the church, and the purpose of this activity, as Mrs. Barber explains, is: "The children have learned that we all become part of our larger Christian family when they are baptized. These items are supposed to represent how we are all connected together through our faith, love of God, beliefs, etc. so we'll place people, hearts, and crosses around the sanctuary to represent how we are connected together."

Please take time to enjoy this display, and congratulate the 1st and 2nd grade classes on their efforts.


All of the children are currently engaged in some great topics and themes, and our church school teachers work very hard to make each Sunday school lesson exciting and informative for children of all ages. If you haven't been to church school lately, we welcome you to come by and see what fun activities are happening from week to week!


Bethany Bergin

Christian Education Coordinator

Altar Flowers & Sanctuary Candles
This beautiful St. Luke's tradition continues....If you would like to dedicate the weekly Altar Flowers or Sanctuary Candle in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for blessings, please sign up on the 2015 charts in the narthex. The next open date for Flowers is April 26. Open dates for the Candle include: March 22,29, April 12, 26. The cost for the flowers is $55, the candle is $10.