In the Epistle for the Second Sunday after Epiphany, which we heard read in church yesterday, St Paul tells us “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9) This single verse essentially sums up for us what it means to live as Christians. Note it starts with love. And love, of course, comes from God. God’s love is always “without dissimulation.” That means it has no agenda, it has no pretense, it has no conditions, and it is His free gift to us. It is true love. He loves us. And when we accept that free gift of His love, we receive the power to love as He does. That means we must put that power, that love, into action and that is where St. Paul tells us that we must “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Evil is all around us and we should detest it. Evil is violence against God and against mankind. It should fill us with a righteous indignation, like our Lord felt in the Temple, driving out the moneychangers. While our outrage against evil is the right thing, it is not the only thing. We can’t stop there just wringing our hands about how bad something is. We must take the next step and “cleave to that which is good.” That means we embrace those things that are good and make them part and parcel of our lives. A friend of mine, who was a priest, once wrote to illustrate this: “We should, for example, be disgusted by the image of the perfectly innocent Son of God nailed to a tree. More than this, however, we should also embrace that innocent and glorious Christ, and cleave to the life that he offers us in his resurrected majesty.” From this example we should take our clue to living the Christian life and be sure that in all things, with the love of God coursing through our hearts, souls, and minds, we always abhor Evil and cleave to the Good.
This is our first actual newsletter since we have come out of the Christmas season and entered into the New Year. Lots of wonderful things have been happening and are also on tap for the future.
With the growth of this parish over the past few years and the plethora of activities we are always engaged in, I have been finding it hard to keep up with all the little details involved in the daily running of the parish and know that I must delegate some of that to others. With the Vestry’s approval, I have appointed Cynthia Hensley as our Parish Administrator. Honestly, this is an acknowledgement of the many things she has already been helping me with to keep our parish moving forward and now she will take on more of the day to day functions, such as publishing the bulletins. She will normally be in the office on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and, of course, will be available whenever she is needed.
Special Parish Meeting
With the Vestry’s approval, I am calling a Special Parish Meeting on February 4, 2018 at 9:45 a.m. All members of the parish should make time to attend this meeting. You will be presented with the Vestry’s plan for the immediate future here at All Saints. Last year, we announced that the Vestry approved designing a possible expansion of our facilities. The concepts and designs have been completed and our parish meeting will be about taking the next step. The meeting will be the time to learn all the details so please hold your questions until then. Anything you might have heard, other than what I have written here, is just rumor. We truly have been blessed here at All Saints over the past few years. The fact that we can consider expanding our “base of operations” for living the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is nothing short of amazing. I am so excited about the future here. Pray with me that our Lord continues to shower his blessings upon us. See you on the 4th!
Youth Group Ski Trip
Our teenagers joined with fellow Anglican teenagers from Charlotte and Orlando this past weekend on a skiing trip to Sugar Mountain. It was so much fun. I was extremely pleased to have Ethan Byrd “age up” to be a counselor for the trip. Talk about one helpful young man! Abigail and Isaiah were our youth representatives on the trip and we look forward to having more of our young people along next year. Here are some pictures from the trip.
Twelfth Night Party
We had a wonderful time at our Twelfth Night Party on January 5. When all the world was worried about the New Year, we gathered in fellowship to celebrate the final night of the season of our Savior’s birth. Thanks to Rebekah Byrd and my wife Kathy for their vision and execution of transforming our parish hall into a beautiful, relaxing place for the festivities. And thanks to some of the members of the a capella group Cantate for entertaining us with their renditions of the best loved carols of Christmas. You can check out their singing on our parish Facebook page by clicking here.
All of our classes are back in full swing. Please do come out to further your education in our Christian faith.
Children’s Sunday School is ongoing, as usual. Thanks to Sandy Peninger and Cynthia Hensley for caring for our young people.
Adult Sunday School is surveying the great controversies that were dealt with by the Church at the 7 Ecumenical Councils of the first millennium.
Tuesday Book Study is deep into C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Please read Chapters 20-22 for this week.
Bible Study on Wednesday nights is in the middle of Chapter 8 in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
A Special Day for a Special Person
As you all know, Meredith Kuehn retired as our Altar Guild Directress at the end of 2017. This coming Sunday we will honor her at our 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion in recognition of her many years of service at the altar in Christ’s Holy Church. After Holy Communion, our luncheon will also be held in her honor. Please join as we rejoice in the ministry of this faithful handmaiden of our Lord.
That is about it for this week. Don’t forget to scroll down and view the ski trip pictures and I will see you all in church.
Blessings, Fr. Erich