Dearly Beloved, There are times when we, as Christian people, feel great despair regarding the state of affairs in our nation. The recent decision by the State of New York to allow abortion up to the moment of birth certainly should pop to the top of our “despair” list. However, when we consider what has preceded it, since the time of Roe v. Wade, it is a logical outcome. If we do not believe that human life begins at conception, the point in time indicated when God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” then that thing that is there does not have value, so then it is perfectly okay to root it out. Then we get into spurious debates over when does human life begin, when does that “blob of tissue” have value. The State of Iowa last week passed a law that restricts abortion once the heartbeat of the child is detected. Many people applauded this, in the wake of New York’s decision. I say, “Nice try Iowa, but no cigar!” The only difference I see between Iowa and New York is timing…both allow abortion. My office in the church, as your priest and rector, is to be to you, and the world around us, a “Messenger, Watchman, and Steward of the Lord (BCP, p. 539).” With that solemn responsibility in mind, I must be clear. Abortion is wrong, it is evil, it is diabolical. It is, in one short word, murder. Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. Humanity lost its likeness to God at the Fall but we still bear his image. Murder is the destruction of that image and that is precisely what abortion does. It destroys the image of God. There is no other way to look at it for anyone who is a disciple of Christ. So how do we respond and confront this dastardly practice in our country? Do not begin by pointing fingers. This is not a Democrat vs. a Republican thing. It is not a conservative vs. a liberal thing. No matter your political leanings, and lets be completely honest with ourselves here, have we all done everything in our power to stop this crime against God…this sin? How then do we rectify matters, how should we act as disciples of Christ? What comes to mind here for me is the Conversion of St. Paul. Paul is knocked to the ground and hears Jesus saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” That persecution that Jesus speaks of is Paul “breathing threats and murder against the disciples.” The story goes on to tell us that Paul was blinded. He did not see what he had done. Then comes along a man named Ananias, a disciple of the Lord. The Lord sends Ananias to Paul, to pray for him and lay hands upon him, that Paul may truly come to know God and see His plan for him and the world. Ananias did as the Lord commanded and “immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.” And the rest is, as they say, history. We all, then, are called to be Ananias in confronting the persecution of abortion. We must pray fervently and without ceasing that the scales may fall from the eyes of those who support abortion in any way, shape, or form. We must pray that they too, like Paul, would be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must pray that they come to know God and His Christ. We must pray that they too would become disciples of Christ to then, in turn, allow others to see God’s plan for themselves and the rest of the world.Shakespeare WeekThe performances of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet by the students of Classical Scholars begins today and run through next Saturday. Please check the “This Week in the Parish” column to see when those performances are happening. As is always the case, the students give a performance of their play just for us members of All Saints. That will be this coming Sunday at 12:45 p.m.Construction UpdateOur new office building has passed all the required inspections, except the final building inspection. That will come once a few final items are taken care of, such as handicapped accessories in the bathrooms and handles installed on the doors. Many thanks to all of you who came out this past Saturday and finished the moving-in process for us. We are “up and running” in the new office and now it is just a matter of getting settled in place. On Sunday, February 10, after the 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion, we will have a “Take Down That Wall” party, as we take the first few steps in expanding our parish hall. Be sure to be here. We promise everyone will get the chance to take at least one good whack on that wall!Ladies MeetingThe Ladies will meet tomorrow morning, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the parish hall. This is their annual “kick-off” planning meeting, so all ladies should come out and join in to help make this another great year in the life of our parish family here at All Saints. Altar GuildThe Altar Guild will hold its first meeting of 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the church tomorrow morning. All members of Altar Guild should plan on attending. Please let Alice Owen know if you are unable to be here.Presentation of Christ in the TempleTomorrow, we will celebrate the Feast Day of Christ’s Presentation in the Temple, commonly known as the Purification of St. Mary the Virgin. We will have Holy Communion at 12 Noon.News of NoteAs many of you are aware, Bill Fishburne had to return to the hospital this week due to complications from his heart surgery. I am pleased to report he is back home and feeling pretty good. Thank you for praying for him this week and keep up those prayers for a speedy recovery.Pictures!Next Sunday, February 10, we will be taking pictures for our new 2019 directory. Please plan on having your picture taken that day if you have not done so already. Our plan is to put out an updated Parish Directory by the end of the month!2018 Giving StatementsYour giving statements are available in the entryway to the church buildings. Please pick up your statement this Sunday when you come to church.And speaking of coming to church, I will see all of you on Sunday and I pray that Almighty God blesses each and everyone of you every single day!Fr. Erich
This Week in the Parish
Friday, February 1· 7:00 p.m., Romeo & Juliet PerformanceSaturday, February 2, Purification of St. Mary the Virgin· 9:00 a.m., Altar Guild Meeting· 10:30 a.m., Ladies Meeting· 12:00 p.m., Holy Communion· 2:00 p.m., Romeo & Juliet Performance· 7:00 p.m., Romeo & Juliet PerformanceSunday, February 3, Fourth Sunday after Epiphany· 8:30 a.m., Holy Communion· 9:45 a.m., Sunday School· 11:00 a.m., Holy Communion· 12:15 p.m., Fellowship Lunch· 12:45 p.m., Parish Romeo & Juliet PerformanceTuesday, February 5· 11:00 a.m., Book StudyWednesday, February 6· 6:00 p.m., Holy Communion· 6:30 p.m., Fellowship Meal· 7:00 p.m., Bible Study· 7:00 p.m., Choir PracticeThursday, February 7· 10:00 a.m., Romeo & Juliet PerformanceFriday, February 8· 10:00 a.m., Romeo & Juliet Performance· 7:00 p.m., Romeo & Juliet PerformanceSaturday, February 9· 2:00 p.m., Romeo & Juliet Performance
Other Announcements
Wednesday Night Bible Study· In our Bible study, we are continuing our study of St. Matthew’s Gospel. It is never too late to join us! Adult Sunday School· Adult Sunday school is at 9:45 each Sunday in the parish hall. Tuesday Book Study· The Tuesday Book Study is reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Please continue reading/reviewing through chapter 20 for this Tuesday’s class. Flower & Sanctuary Candle Charts· New charts are available on the bulletin board for the giving of flowers and sanctuary candles for 2019. 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. Food Bank· Bread of Life of Transylvania County is this month’s recipient of our in-gathering of food stuffs.
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