Saint Luke's Episcopal Church
St. Luke's Episcopal Church
2150 Boteler Road
Brownsville, Maryland 21715
The Rev. Thomas J. Hudson, Vicar
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is a Christian family called to worship Christ, being transformed by prayer and praise to be sent forth to teach His word.
No, that’s not a typo. You see, the Church’s year (also called the Liturgical Year or sometimes just the Christian Year always begins on the First Sunday of Advent, which is November 29th this year.
Because the birth of Jesus is celebrated in December, the Church wants it to be an event that comes early in the annual cycle of readings and prayers, not at the very end.
And because we observe the four Sundays before Christmas as the season of Advent, the Church’s year 2016 actually begins on November 29th.
Of course, we have to use the “secular year” for all other purposes—so don’t start writing 2016 on your checks just yet!
So…Happy Advent 2016!
The Advent Wreath reminds us of the coming of the Light of World – our Savior Jesus Christ.
November 29, 11:00 am
December 13, 11:00 am
First Sunday of Advent, December 6, 11:00 am
Second Sunday of Advent – Advent Event Lessons and Hymns & Gift Exchange,
Third Sunday of Advent, December 20, 11:00 am
Fourth Sunday of Advent – Decorating Day, December 24, 7:00 pm
Family Christmas Eve Service, December 27, 11:00 am
Service of Christmas Lessons & Carols
Note: There will be no service of Morning Prayer during Advent or Christmas.
Q: Why don’t we decorate for Christmas for all of December?
A: The secular world advances Christmas a little more each year. Stores are even moving “Black Friday” to before Thanksgiving Day! This is motivated by a need to bring in end-of-year profits as early as possible, coupled with people’s desire to experience the joy of the season as soon as they can. But we wait in preparation for the “actual” event, and that’s why we have a season of preparation before we allow ourselves to rejoice at Christ’s birth. We will decorate for Christmas after the service on the 4th Sunday of Advent.
Q: Why are we having only one service on Christmas Eve?
A: The Advisory Board discussed this. The attendance at the 11:00 pm service has been dwindling over the years, and we think it would be better to try to bring all members of the parish together to celebrate the birth of Jesus at one service. We realize that this decision may not satisfy everyone, but we hope that all who can will gather to welcome our Savior in peace and joy.
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [The Book of Common Prayer, pg. 159]
THE ADVENT WREATH
The concept of the Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the 16th Century. However, it is not until three centuries later that the modern Advent wreath took shape.
Research by Prof. Haemig of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, points to Johann Heinrich Wichern (1808–1881), a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor, as the inventor of the modern Advent wreath in the 19th century.
During Advent, children at the mission school Rauhes Haus, founded by Wichern in Hamburg, would ask daily if Christmas had arrived.
In 1839, Pastor Wichern built a large wooden ring (made out of an old cartwheel) with 20 small red and 4 large white candles. A small candle was lit successively every weekday during December.
On Sundays, a large white candle was lit. The custom gained popularity among Protestant churches in Germany and became the wreath with 4 or 5 candles that we know today.
Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920s, and shortly it spread to North America. Professor Haemig’s research also indicates that the custom did not reach the United States until the 1930s, even among German Lutheran immigrants.
In Medieval times, Advent was a fast during which people’s thoughts were directed to the expected second coming of Christ; but in modern times it has been seen as the lead-up to Christmas, and in that sense the Advent Wreath serves as a reminder of the approach of the feast. [Source: Wikipedia, downloaded 8 October 2015]
You may notice that it’s the same people serving at the altar and reading the lessons most of the time. These are not roles that are limited to people with years of training and experience! We need more people to take an active role in the services – by lighting the candles, carrying the cross, singing in the choir, reading the lessons, assisting at the altar, and distributing the wine at Communion.
The more people who are able to take on these roles, the less often anyone has to perform them, and the more of us who become involved in the liturgy. Training is simple, and is offered for each and every one of these liturgical roles. If you feel God’s Spirit calling you to do a little more, and if any of these roles appeal to you, please let Father Tom or Bob Markle know. We will gladly welcome you!
The annual Spaghetti Supper took place on Saturday, November 7, from 11 AM until 6 PM. The ECW reports that a profit of more than $2,000 was made that day. THANK YOU to everyone who helped in any way!
The next activity will be the “Advent Event” luncheon and gift exchange on Sunday, December 6, after the service.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION NEWS
Did you know that the John who wrote the Book of Revelation is likely not the same John who is the author of the Gospel of John? This is just one of the many things we are learning about the book in our Sunday Christian Formation gathering. I cannot think of a Sunday that I left the session without having learned some amazing fact(s). We always have a good time in a comfortable and relaxed learning environment – nice, comfy couches and chairs in the Parish Hall. We meet at 10:00 nearly every Sunday; please consider giving an extra hour to learn more about God’s Holy Scriptures and His plan for us. —Bob Markle
The Right Reverend Chilton R. Knudsen became Assistant Bishop to Bishop Sutton, effective October 15th. Bishop Knudsen retired from office as the 8th Bishop of Maine in 2008, and she now lives in Baltimore with her husband, Michael.
An Assistant Bishop is someone who is already consecrated as a bishop but is not actively serving in a diocese. Canon III.12.5 of The Episcopal Church says:
“When a Diocese, in the opinion of its Bishop, requires additional episcopal services, the Bishop may, with the consent of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, ask the Convention of the Diocese to approve the creation of the position of Assistant Bishop and to authorize the Bishop to appoint a Bishop for the position, with the consent of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, and under such conditions as the Bishop may determine.”
The additional “episcopal services” (i.e., duties of a bishop) that an Assistant Bishop performs include confirmations, ordinations, pastoral visitations, and other functions under the direction of the diocesan bishop.
Since at least 1870, Maryland has been such a large and far-flung diocese that it has needed more than one person serving as bishop. Of course, each diocese can only have one diocesan, or ordinary, bishop (so called because it is the diocesan bishop who has the authority to ordain), but he or she can have a variety of bishops assisting him/her. A Bishop Coadjutor is elected ahead of time to be the successor to the diocesan bishop upon his or her death or retirement. A Bishop Suffragan shares responsibility for various duties of the bishop or for specific areas of the diocese, but does not have the automatic right to succeed the Bishop Diocesan. Assistant Bishop is a temporary position, usually providing the diocese time to seek and elect a Coadjutor or Suffragan. Our previous Assistant Bishop was the Rt Rev Joe Goodwin Burnett, who served from 2012 until 2014. It is likely that, within a year or two, Maryland will once again elect a Suffragan Bishop, at which time the Assistant Bishop’s position will end.
Bishop Sutton’s choice of Knudsen was seen as a bold and necessary move, given that—like Heather Cook, who resigned and was deposed as Suffragan Bishop earlier this year—Bishop Knudsen has also faced alcohol addiction and is a recovering alcoholic. Knudsen is seen as a leader in The Episcopal Church in the areas of addiction and recovery. She has worked as a counselor in the field of addiction recovery and has also written two books on the subject. The diocese hopes that her experiences with alcoholism and recovery will help lead to a greater understanding of such issues, as well as to healing and growth in our diocese.
The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry took office as the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church at the National Cathedral in Washington on November 1st. On June 27, 2015, he had been elected on the first ballot to serve a nine-year term as Presiding Bishop, the highest elected position in the Church. He is the first African American to be elected to the position.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 13, 1953, Bishop Curry attended public schools in Buffalo, New York, and graduated with high honors from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, in 1975. He received the Master of Divinity degree in 1978 from Yale University Divinity School. He has also done continuing studies at The College of Preachers, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary, and the Institute of Christian-Jewish Studies.
Bishop Curry was ordained to the diaconate in June 1978, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo, New York, by the Rt. Rev. Harold B. Robinson and to the priesthood in December 1978, at St. Stephen’s Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, by the Rt. Rev. John M. Burgess.
He began his ministry as deacon-in-charge at St. Stephen’s in 1978 and was rector there from 1979-1982. He next accepted a call to be rector at St. Simon of Cyrene Church, Lincoln Heights, Ohio, where he served from 1982-1988.
In 1988 he became rector of St. James’ Parish Lafayette Square, Baltimore, Maryland, where he served until his election as bishop of North Carolina in 2000.
In his three parish ministries in North Carolina, Ohio, and Maryland, Bishop Curry had extensive involvement in Crisis Control Ministry, the founding of ecumenical summer day camps for children, preaching missions, the Absalom Jones initiative, creation of networks of family daycare providers, creation of educational centers, and the brokering of millions of dollars of investment in inner-city neighborhoods. He inspired a $2.5-million restoration of the St. James’ church building after a fire. The St. James’ After School Academy was designated a Jubilee Ministry by Presiding Bishop Edmund Browning.
Bishop Curry serves on the boards of a large number of organizations, including the Alliance for Christian Media and the Day1 Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Commission on Ministry in each of the three dioceses where he has served. He has a national preaching and teaching ministry, having been featured on The Protestant Hour and as a frequent speaker at conferences around the country. He has received honorary degrees from Sewanee and Yale.
He is married to the former Sharon Clement, and they have two daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth.
Birthdays Blessings to These Members of Our Church Family!
December 6, Carl Beachley
December 7, Ambrosio Carballo & Curt Selby
December 11, Maj. Scott McKenzie
December 15, Linda Shaw
December 23, Hollie Higgs
December 25, Austin Pohl
December 26, Charles Markle
December 30, Robbie Higgs
December 31, Steve Kidwell
January 3, Madison Higgs
January 6, Cooper Roelkey
January 13, Robert Markle
January 16, Christopher Pohl
January 17, Michael Farber
January 18, Colleen Selby
January 29, Lailynne Eackles
NOTE: These birthdays were taken from our November 2015 Parish Directory. Please let Father Hudson know of any corrections or additions that are needed.
As noted elsewhere in this issue of The Messenger, Advent is a time of preparation. However, this was not always the case. The earliest record we have of a special season before Christmas was something called “Saint Martin’s Lent.” It began on the feast-day of Saint Martin of Tours (a Roman soldier who became a Christian and a monk who was known for his generosity and love of children) on November 11, and it lasted 40 days until Christmas Day. Since it was intended as a second Lent, Advent included all of the lenten practices, such as fasting and prayers. The clergy wore the color purple, just as in Lent, and the liturgy was very solemn.
Today, we express the meaning of the season of Advent differently. The word itself comes from the Latin adventus, which means “coming in.” That Latin word is a translation of the Greek parousía, which refers specifically to Jesus’ Second Coming. Thus, one purpose of Advent is to remind us that Christ is coming again at the end of all time, as our judge and redeemer. That’s why our Scripture lessons emphasize themes of being ready, of preparing for our own judgment, and of the end of the world.
With this in mind, we are using altar hangings and vestments during Advent that are blue—the color of the first light of dawn. This helps to distinguish Advent from Lent, and to emphasize the coming of Jesus—as the baby we welcome every year on Christmas, and as the redeemer and judge we will welcome at the last day.
It is no coincidence that we celebrate Christmas just after the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. It is the shortest day of our year—the day when the light is almost gone. As the days begin to grow longer, we remember that Jesus is the true Light of the world, and his birth signifies the coming of a new light to enlighten all of us. As Advent proceeds, we light more of the candles on our Advent wreath, and the growing brightness hearkens to us the coming of Jesus, the “light of light” at Christmas.
Judy and I pray that all our parish family will have a blessed and wonderful Christmas, and that everyone will observe Advent as it is intended, with thoughts and prayers for the Light of our Life, and in joyful anticipation of the holy Day of the Lord that is coming.
Wishing you the all blessings of Advent and Christmas,
Father Tom +
FACTS ABOUT ADVENT
Because Advent is calculated based on the four Sundays before Christmas Day—a fixed date that falls on a different day of the week each year—the length of the season varies from year to year. The shortest that Advent can last is 22 days, when the First Sunday falls on December 3; and the longest Advent is 29 days, beginning on November 27. This year, Advent will last for 25 days, beginning on November 29.
The Second Sunday of Advent this year falls on December 6, the feast of Saint Nicholas. The patron saint of children, sailors, and the giving of gifts, Nicholas was bishop of the Christian community at Myra, a town in Asia Minor, in the early 300s.
St Luke’s Episcopal Church
2150 Boteler Road
Knoxville, MD 21758
Did you know that St Luke’s is on Facebook? That’s right – you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/St-Lukes-Episcopal-Church-Brownsville-MD-416571415181672/. There, you will find an events calendar, many photos of events at St Luke’s, and other useful information. While you’re there, please LIKE us!
We have also improved our web site, and it has a new address: http://www.stlukesbrownsville.org. If you go to the old web site, you will be automatically connected to the new one, but this will probably not last for long.
St Luke’s now has its own email address, too: email@example.com. You are receiving this newsletter from that email address, so add it to your contacts list to keep communications from going into the spam folder.
All of this is an effort to enhance and increase communications within our parish and with the world at large. If there are other ways we could consider, please let Father Hudson or a member of the Advisory Board know. Thanks!