Month: October 2017

The Stewardship of Our Resources

The Stewardship of Our Resources

“We bring nothing into this world and we take nothing out of it. Everything that we have while we are here on the earth comes as a gift from God. In appreciation, we choose to share a portion of these gifts.

The stewardship of our resources is an ongoing process. We give regularly and systematically in proportion to the gifts which we are given and the talents which earn us our possessions. Because we love God, we gladly dedicate these gifts to God’s service, and give a worthy portion for the care of people in need.

Giving money to the Church is a symbolic act – the offering of ourselves in service and devotion to God. Giving is a practical matter, too, because the offering makes it possible for the Church to pay its bills and carry out its mission in Christ’s name.

A question that is often asked is ‘How much should I give?’ The Bible says that we should set aside our ‘First Fruits’ – that our offering to God should be the first portion we set aside, not what remains. Some people give by proportion: for example, $1 per week for every $1000 of annual income. Others set aside a percentage of their income. The Old Testament guideline for giving was the tithe (usually a tenth). How close do you come to the giving expected of the early Christians?” (Excerpt taken from the booklet Stewardship and You)

Saint of the Week: October 18

Saint of the Week: October 18

Luke was a Gentile, a physician, and one of Paul’s disciples and fellow missionaries in the early spread of the Gospel through the Roman world. He is the author both of the Gospel that bears his name and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles. He apparently did not know Jesus, writing that he compiled his narrative from the report of “those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses” (Luke 1). A tradition attested by Eusebius holds that he was one of the first members of the Christian community at Antioch.

Much can be gleaned about his character from his writings. In his Gospel the elements particular to him include much of the account of the virgin birth of Jesus, some of the most moving parables such as those of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, and the words of Jesus during his passion to the women of Jerusalem and the penitent malefactor who was crucified alongside Jesus. All of these elements emphasize the compassion of Christ, which together with Luke’s emphasis on poverty, prayer, and purity of heart make up much of his specific appeal to the Gentiles, for whom he wrote this Gospel of the Savior of the world. Women figure more prominently in Luke’s Gospel than in any other, including Mary, Elizabeth, the widow of Nain, and the woman who was a sinner. Luke also emphasizes Jesus’ deity, from the angelic announcement of “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” that applies the Roman imperial titles of soter (savior) and kyrios (lord) not to Caesar in Rome, but to the newborn child in the backwater town of Bethlehem; to the subtlety of the Greek words used to address Jesus by different persons (or angels) at different times through his Gospel. In the first part of his Gospel, up through the passion and death of Jesus, human beings address Jesus as “master”, while angels refer to him as “Lord” (the Greek kyrios echoing the Hebrew adonai, a term applied to God). After his Resurrection, through the witness of God’s vindication of him, Jesus is called “Lord” by his disciples.

In the Acts of the Apostles Luke shows himself a remarkably accurate observer, concerned with making necessary links between the history of the early Church and the contemporary history of the Roman Empire. As noted about his Gospel, above, Luke showed himself an artist with words, which is perhaps the basis for the tradition that he was a painter and that he made the first icon of the Blessed Virgin. For this reason, Luke has become the patron not only of physicians and surgeons, but also of artists. When he is represented with the other Evangelists, his symbol is an ox, derived from Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1) and sometimes explained by reference to sacrifice in the Temple in the early chapters of his Gospel.

Luke was with Paul until the apostle’s martyrdom in Rome. What became of Luke after this is unknown. Early tradition holds that he wrote his Gospel in Achaia, and that he died at the age of eight-four in Boetia. In 357 the emperor Constantinus the Second had the presumed relics of Saint Luke translated from Thebes in Boetia to Constantinople, where they were placed with the relics of Saint Andrew in Church of the Holy Apostles. The observance of his feast day on the eighteenth of October is quite old in the East, but it appears on Western calendars only in the eighth century. The date itself is universal, and may be based on the actual date of his death. (Sources: The Oxford Dictionary of Saints and Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 1980)

The Stewardship of Life, Time, Health, and Talents

The Stewardship of Life, Time, Health, and Talents

“Life itself is a stewardship. Human life is the first and greatest gift of all and carries great responsibilities with it. As Christians, we know that our lives are sacred trusts. We are the stewards of those lives; God depends on us to use them to accomplish His purposes.

          Next, is the stewardship of time. When God gives us life, we don’t know how much time we have to use that life. But, whatever time we have is a gift from God, and we must use it wisely in every activity throughout the day. We must budget our hours so that we are able to give of our time to fulfill God’s plan.

          Then follows the stewardship of health of body and mind. God gave human beings superior minds to be used to fullest capacity in discovering God’s plan in understanding self and others. We are also given bodies in which to accomplish God’s work – bodies to be treated with respect (taken care of), not abused (harmed). We are to present our bodies and we renew our minds as offerings to God.

          And then there is the stewardship of talents. God gives all people potential talents when they are born. Each of us can share in God’s plan in his or her own way. The Bible tells us that if we use our talents wisely, we will be better able to use than and will develop others. But, if we don’t, we may lose even those talents we do have. (Excerpt taken from the booklet Stewardship and You)

 

Teresa of Avila, Nun – October 15

Teresa of Avila, Nun – October 15

Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada (later known as Teresa de Jesus) was born in Avila, Spain, on March 28, 1515, one of ten children whose mother died when she was fifteen. Her family was of partly Jewish ancestry. Teresa, having read the letters of Jerome, decided to become a nun, and when she was 20, she entered the Carmelite convent in Avila. There she fell seriously ill, was in a coma for a while, and partially paralyzed for three years. In her early years as a nun, she was, by her account, assiduous in prayer while sick but lax and lukewarm in her prayers and devotions when the sickness had passed. However, her prayer life eventually deepened, she began to have visions and a vivid sense of the presence of God, and was converted to a life of extreme devotion.

In 1560 she resolved to reform the monastery that had, she thought, departed from the order’s original intention and become insufficiently austere. Her proposed reforms included strict enclosure (the nuns were not to go to parties and social gatherings in town, or to have social visitors at the convent, but to stay in the convent and pray and study most of their waking hours) and discalcing (literally, taking off one’s shoes, a symbol of poverty, humility, and the simple life, uncluttered by luxuries and other distractions). In 1562 she opened a new monastery in Avila, over much opposition in the town and from the older monastery. At length Teresa was given permission to proceed with her reforms, and she travelled throughout Spain establishing seventeen houses of Carmelites of the Strict (or Reformed) Observance (the others are called Carmelites of the Ancient Observance). The reformed houses were small, poor, disciplined, and strictly enclosed. Teresa died October 14, 1582.

Teresa is reported to have been very attractive in person, witty, candid, and affectionate. She is remembered both for her practical achievements and organizing skill and for her life of contemplative prayer. Her books are read as aids to the spiritual life by many Christians of all denominations. Her Life is her autobiography to 1562; The Way of Perfection is a treatise on the Christian walk, written primarily for her sisters but of help to others as well; The Book of Foundations deals with establishing, organizing and overseeing the daily functioning of religious communities; The Interior Castle  (or The Castle of the Soul) deals with the life of Christ in the heart of the believer. Most of these are available in paperback. 31 of her poems and 458 of her letters survive. Her feast day in the Western Church is October 15. (Source: The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 1998)

October Schedule

October Schedule

  • Christian Education Classes: The Adult & Children/Youth Sunday morning Christian Education classes meet each Sunday at 9:15 a.m. The adult class is studying the Pentateuch (the first five Books of the Bible) and is currently examining the Book of Exodus.
  • Choir Practice: The choir practices every Sunday after the 10:30 a.m. Mass.
  • Wednesday Evening Service: Holy Eucharist with Unction at 6:30 p.m. followed by a study of the History of the Church during the Modern Period (1650-1900).
  • Men of St. John’s Group: Monthly breakfast/meeting will be held on October 28 at 8:45 a.m.
All Saints Day & All Souls’ Day

All Saints Day & All Souls’ Day

 

Wednesday, November 1 is All Saints’ Day. This is the day we celebrate the lives as all the canonized Saints as well as saints who lived exemplary lives known by the Church who are now in the presence of God in heaven. We will observe this important Holy Day with a special Eucharist at 6:30 p.m. on that Wednesday.

Thursday, November 2 is All Souls’ Day. This is the day we celebrate and honor the souls of every person who has ever died in faith and fear (both known and unknown to us). We will observe this important Holy Day with a (Said) Eucharist that will include a unique liturgy for All Souls’ Day at 6:30 p.m. on that Thursday. We will offer special prayers for our loved ones who are with the Lord.

Episcopal Visit – November 5

Episcopal Visit – November 5

We are excited that the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker will be making his Episcopal visit to St. John’s on November 5 (All Saints’ Sunday). Bishop Iker will be the homilist and celebrant at a special 10:30 a.m. Eucharist. Four parishioners will be confirmed and one parishioner will be received that morning. After the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist, there will be a special pot-luck lunch in honor of the Bishop’s visit and the confirmands. This will be a very special Sunday in the life of our parish, so please make every effort to be here on that Sunday as our Bishop ministers to us!

 

Chili Supper Fundraiser

Chili Supper Fundraiser

Join us this Saturday, October 21 (5:30-7:00 p.m.) for a chili supper fundraiser. We will serve chili with toppings, deserts, and drinks. Tickets are $8.00 (children under the age of 5 are free). You can eat in the parish hall or get your order to go.

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