We find ourselves this week once more in grief over a mass shooting at a school, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This one touches home just a bit more for me as I have been on that campus before and driven by that school many times during my time in southern Florida. I have addressed the topic of these incidents before in my writing to you in my weekly news so I will not reiterate what I have written before. But I would like to touch on something that struck me this week. Whenever such incidents happen, we hear such statements as “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” and other variations on this theme of “thoughts and prayers.” Many people say these things, some devout Christians and others probably not so devout. There has been, however, a public backlash about the “thoughts and prayers” sayings. That backlash has hit the internet, social media and is being reported in the regular media. The premise of this backlash is “Thoughts and Prayers Don’t Matter.” Needless to say, I was furious when I first heard it but then I calmed down and began to reflect on it. I have come to the conclusion that they are right—up to a point. Please bear with me here. The fact is your thoughts do NOT matter. Do those killed, do those family members left behind, or does the grieving community know what you are thinking? They do not. Do your thoughts make one difference to those affected by this heinous crime? They do not. Consider the story of a man who was beaten, robbed and left half-dead by the roadside. Along came a priest who saw the man laying there and kept on going. He probably thought “poor guy.” Then a Levite stopped and looked at the man. He was probably thinking, “Wow, he’s pretty beat up,” but he left. Their thoughts, whatever they really were, were of absolutely no value to the man. But then came the Samaritan. We can glean what may have been in his thoughts but they don’t really matter either. What mattered is that he helped the victim. So it is not your thoughts that matter, it is your actions that do. So what action do we take? This is where I part from the “Don’t Matter” crowd. As Christian people the very first thing we do is hit our knees in prayer. We act by talking to God, asking for his peace, which passes understanding, for all those directly affected. We pray for the repose of the souls of those killed. We pray for the killer that his heart may be turned. And then we keep on praying for our country, our leaders, our police, and all those involved in maintaining an ordered society. We pray that those who do not know God might be brought to a saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And we must pray for ourselves that the Holy Spirit may enlighten and guide us on how we might best ACT in our society to ensure that such crimes never happen again.And now on to a few happier items. Capital CampaignI cannot begin to tell you how excited I am by this parish’s response to our capital campaign. I think you will be excited too! As of right now, you all have committed $191,550 to the expansion of our parish facilities. That is right at 70% of the $275,000 budget that you have already committed.With this incredible level of support, the Vestry gave final approval to all plans and contracts in order to begin construction. Now the construction designs will be finalized and the proper permits will be sought. We will have our groundbreaking ceremony on March 4, following the 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion.Many of you have not, as yet, committed to this project. Please do so as soon as you can. It is everyone’s participation that will make this the success it should be. Junior Altar GuildWe now officially have a Junior Altar Guild. It is wonderful to have some of our young women learning to care for the holy things of the altar. Please encourage and congratulate Abigail, Chloe, and Peyton next time you see them. Here is a picture of them with Alice Owen, our Altar Guild Directress.
Lenten Fish FryOur next Fish Fry is set for March 16, 2018. Tickets are flying out of the church. Be sure to get yours when you come to church on Sunday. Lenten Appeal for 2018The annual Lenten Appeal in our national church is focused on building a school in our Diocese of Andhra Pradesh in India. Bishop’s Grundorf’s appeal letter is below. Please make this appeal part of your Lenten discipline this year. Our usual Lenten mite box offerings will also be directed to this project. Lenten ScheduleAnd speaking of Lenten disciplines, always remember Morning & Evening Prayer are said every day in the church and Stations of the Cross happens every Tuesday at noon and every Friday at 7:00 p.m. As always, more announcements are below and please remember to pray. It is your Christian duty. Blessings,Fr. Erich
Food Bank· Bread of Life in Transylvania County is this month’s recipient of our in-gathering of food stuffs. Bible Study
· Bible Study is back this coming week. We will continue in Chapter 9 in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
Tuesday Book Study
· C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters is our study book. It is very easy to jump in at any time. Join us at 11:00 a.m.Flowers and Sanctuary Candle Charts· New charts are available on the bulletin board for the giving of flowers and sanctuary candles. The suggested donation for flowers is $50.00 and it is $10.00 for the sanctuary candle. Sign up today to be sure you are able to get your desired day. Lenten Fish Fry· It’s that time again! On Friday, March 16, we will hold our Lenten Fish Fry. Tickets are $9.00 each in advance ($10 at the door) for breaded tilapia filets, roasted potatoes, hush puppies, coleslaw, and iced tea or lemonade. Take-out will be from 5-6 PM and dine-in will run from 6-8 PM. Kids under 12 eat free. Ticket packets are now available.
Lenten Appeal for 2018
Dear APA Clergy and Lay members, Having focused our Lenten Appeal efforts on our domestic missions during these past three years, we are once again shifting our focus to our foreign missions and their needs. Our focus this year will be to provide funds for a second APA Good Shepherd School, for Dalit children, in India. The first school was built at Kollur in the state of Telengana using funds from the 2011 Lenten Appeal. The school was part of a larger development initiative among women and children at risk in this region and was completed in late 2015. We are happy to report, there are currently six grades being taught at the school. This second school will be constructed in the Kadapa District of the state of Andhra Pradesh and its exact location will be determined by Bishop Jaya Rao, the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of India. Children from several of our churches in the area will be able to benefit from our new school. The search for suitable land is already underway and we anticipate that the school will begin in rented premises once an agreement on the land is reached. This school will change the lives of numerous Dalit children, as well as provide numerous benefits to the surrounding village communities. Through the spread of the Gospel and an English-medium education, future generations of children will be able to escape the crippling poverty and oppression resulting from the Caste system and be able to lead full and productive lives in Indian society. Our Lenten Appeal Project 2018 challenge will be to raise $150,000 for an APA Good Shepherd School near Jammalamadugu, Andhra Pradesh in partnership with OM (USA) and Good Shepherd Ministries (India). I am asking each individual within our churches to make a sacrificial Lenten offering of $1.50 per day for the 40 days of Lent (a total of $60 per person), or more as our Lord leads you. We will need one hundred percent participation in order to achieve this goal. Please make this a family project for Lent. Remember, your generous gifts will enable Dalit children to be liberated from the bondage of poverty and oppression. Please pray every day during Lent that God will use our offering to show His great mercy on the Dalit children of India. Checks should be made payable to your local church with a notation in the memo field “Lenten Appeal 2018.” Please make your Lenten Offering by Easter Sunday, April 1. Faithfully yours in Christ, The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, D.D., Presiding Bishop
This Week in the Parish
Saturday, February 178:00 AM, Morning Prayer5:30 PM, Evening PrayerSunday, February 18, First Sunday in Lent8:00 AM, Morning Prayer8:30 AM, Holy Communion9:45 AM, Sunday School11:00 AM, Holy Communion12:15 PM, Fellowship Lunch5:30 PM, Evening PrayerMonday, February 198:00 AM, Morning Prayer6:30 PM, Vestry MeetingTuesday, February 208:00 AM, Morning Prayer11:00 AM, Book Study12:00 PM, Stations of the Cross5:30 PM, Evening PrayerWednesday, February 218:00 AM, Morning Prayer5:30 PM, Evening Prayer6:00 PM, Holy Communion6:30 PM, Meatless Dinner7:00 PM, Bible Study7:00 PM, Choir PracticeThursday, February 228:00 AM, Morning Prayer5:30 PM, Evening PrayerFriday, February 238:00 AM, Morning Prayer5:30 PM, Evening Prayer7:00 PM, Stations of the Cross
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