One of the things that has become very clear over the past couple of weeks is that people seem to be consumed with the COVID-19 coronavirus. The news media, as they always tend to do, sensationalizes events such as this with sound bites that almost never tell the whole story. We see reports of anxiety ladened people all over the globe worried beyond measure about epidemic, pandemic, or whatever doomsday-like word you care to use. And then there is social media (Facebook, Twitter, and the like) which is just one big panic room where so many unsubstantiated reports, predictions, advice, etc. are flowing like a river over a waterfall. Worry, anxiety, and panic. Perhaps you have felt some of these things as you have been bombarded by the world about this new virus. How do we as disciples of Christ respond to this bombardment? How do we put our fears in perspective? As I was considering this, the first thing that came to me was our Lord’s words, “Be not anxious for your life…Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself” (Matthew 6:25, 34). And Jesus gives us the answer on how to conquer our worries by telling us to “seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Essentially Jesus is telling us that anxiety is useless. Focusing on God, first and foremost, is the essential thing. It is when we truly focus on him that we shall receive all that we need, including the allaying of all our fears and worries, which is peace. I ran across a brief article from a pastor named Todd Wagner in Dallas who also addressed this same issue with his people, and he addressed it very well. He wrote: “First, it’s important to be reminded about what we already know. Worry is not our friend, and panic is not our way. Solomon reminds us, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Prov. 24:10). May it never be said that God’s people are governed more by fear than faith. Corrie ten Boom, along with other faithful from among the nations, led courageously in the face of the Nazi fascism—a different form of deadly virus. And she reminds us, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.” In times of crisis, the world needs steady people who are strengthened by God’s grace and selfless by God’s power. Worry accomplishes nothing except weakness of heart and head. It’s been said that 90 percent of the things we worry or become panicked about never happen, and the other 10 percent are outside our control. While we remain on alert against viruses of doctrine or disease, worrying won’t change our circumstances or lower our chance of infection. It won’t help us fight off illness or move us to action. Worrying about COVID-19 (or anything else) will only increase trouble. Rather than worrying and being anxious, Jesus calls us to respond with prayer and faith in him (Matt. 6:33–34; Phil. 4:6). We need not worry ultimately because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Cor. 15:55–57). Remind yourself continually: it takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to peace, the other to panic. Choose wisely.” Choose wisely! Excellent words! But since we pray, instead of worry, does that mean we can be careless about such things. Absolutely not! God does not intend for us to foolishly put ourselves in harm’s way (Proverbs 22:3) because that would remove us from the ability to help others should the need arise. Common sense should prevail here. While COVID-19 does not pose a risk to us at the moment (only one case has been reported in North Carolina), there are simple things we can do to diminish any risk that may present itself. And, honestly, these are things we should have been doing all along because the seasonal flu is a much bigger risk to us right now. First, wash your hands frequently and, secondly, stay home if you are sick. And so my friends, let us pray. Let us pray that Almighty God would give his wisdom to the medical community throughout the world to deal effectively with this new virus. Let us pray He endows his strength to those caring for those sickened. Let us pray that the Holy Ghost would guide governments throughout the world to help their people respond appropriately to this disease. And let us pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all, both now and in whatever may face us in the future. First Friday Youth NightOur young people will be gathering tonight at 5:45 p.m. for dinner and game night. The children will join the congregation walking the Stations of the Cross at 7:00 p.m. Lenten ProjectsTomorrow morning, the men of the parish continue with their Lenten projects. Our focus is on “sprucing up” the outdoors and finishing up some smaller inside projects in anticipation of us hosting our national church’s synod this coming August. We gather for morning prayer at 8:00 a.m., have a scrumptious breakfast provided, as usual, by Kathy Zwingert, and then get to work and be out of here by 11:00 a.m. The men would also like to invite the ladies to join them so that we can make this a family affair! See you in the morning! The rest of your announcements are below and, as I said above, Let us pray! Blessings,Fr. Erich
Lent· Lent is that time of year in which we make special devotion to our Lord in the Christian Duties of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Morning and Evening Prayer will be offered daily and we will also walk the Way of the Cross in church. The Lenten Schedule is printed below. Make this a holy Lent. New Lenten Study!· Our Lenten study has started, but it is not too late to join us! There are two class times offered weekly, Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., so that everyone in the parish can participate. Please remember, our Wednesday dinners during Lent are meatless. Donations of $3-$5 per meal are appreciated. Lenten Fish Fry· It’s that time again! On Friday, March 20, 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 p.m. and dine-in will run from 6-8 p.m.. Kids under 12 eat free. Ticket packets are available today! Easter Flowers· Envelopes have been placed in the pews for Easter Flowers. Your gift in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for a blessing will be noted in the Easter Day bulletin, April 21. The suggested donation is $25.00 and allows us to purchase lilies and special flower arrays for Easter Day, the Queen of all celebrations for Christian people. Vestry Meeting· The Vestry will meet this coming Monday, March 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the conference room. Annual Lenten Appeal· Mite boxes are available in your pews to use in this year’s Lenten Appeal. Mite boxes are to be returned on Easter Sunday. Please see Bishop Grundorf’s letter below about the Appeal for this year. New Mailboxes· The church mailboxes for have been relocated to the church office inside the workroom. Please use the new boxes for all correspondence. Food Bank· Western Carolina Rescue Mission of Buncombe County is this month’s recipient of our in-gathering of food stuffs.
This Week in the Parish
Friday, Mar. 6• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 5:45 p.m., First Friday Youth Night• 7:00 p.m., Stations of the Cross Saturday, Mar. 7• 8:00 a.m., Morning Prayer• 8:15 a.m., Breakfast• 8:30 a.m., Lenten Projects• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Sunday, Mar. 8, Second Sunday in Lent· 8:00 a.m., Morning Prayer· 8:30 a.m., Holy Communion· 9:45 a.m., Sunday School· 11:00 a.m., Holy Communion· 12:15 p.m., Fellowship Lunch· 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Monday, Mar. 9• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 6:30 p.m., Vestry Meeting Tuesday, Mar. 10• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 11:00 a.m., Lenten Study• 12:00 p.m., Stations of the Cross• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Wednesday, Mar. 11• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 6:00 p.m., Holy Communion• 6:30 p.m., Fellowship Dinner• 7:00 p.m., Lenten Study• 7:00 p.m., Choir Practice Thursday, Mar. 12• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Friday, Mar. 13• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 7:00 p.m., Stations of the Cross
2020 Lenten Appeal Letter
I can hear people saying to themselves, we just celebrated Christmas and now we are getting ready for Lent! Yes, Lent is upon us and it is time to make preparations. I encourage each of you to plan in advance what you are going to do on a personal level as your spiritual discipline for this Season. Talk with your parish priest if you need guidance or have questions. An important part of keeping a true Lent is focusing outside of oneself on to the needs of others. This can be expressed in a number of ways such as helping with local parish projects to assist the less fortunate. When we commit to a spiritual discipline during Lent, whether it is on a personal level or reaching out to assist others, it is part of establishing a rule of life which would set a pattern for future living. I am going to designate the 2020 Lenten Appeal to be for a domestic mission. I have spoken with Bishop Ordinary Giffin, Bishop Coadjutor Jones, Suffragan Bishop Perkins (Chairman of our Domestic Mission Board), and Missionary Bishop Haines, and we all enthusiastically support having our two Alabama mission churches that Father John Klein is pastoring to be the recipients. It will now be a matter of finding the right man to take on this challenge. Father Klein is a wonderful priest with great experience and knowledge. He is building St. James the Great Church in Smith Station, Alabama, from scratch and is also serving as the vicar of St. Matthias Church, Dothan, Alabama. He drives every Sunday, following Holy Eucharist at Smiths Station, to Dothan, Alabama (about 2 hours) to celebrate and teach there. He could use the help and would provide excellent training and mentoring for a young curate. Some of you may be aware that St. Matthias Church had an average Sunday attendance of 6 people and are now have over 30. Many new members have come from a local Episcopal Church which has gone the way of the World. Bishop Jones will be at St. Matthias upon his return from the Holy Land and will receive around 30 new members. Father Klein has been an inspiration and we are blessed to have him and his dedicated wife Linda with us. I pray that all of you and your parishes will join in the support of this year’s Lenten Appeal. The ambitious goal will once again be to raise $100,000. It would be used over a period of three years to support an energetic curate who would relocate to the chosen area; i.e. $50,000 the first year, $30,000 the second year and $20,000 the third year. The mission churches will be expected to increasingly make up the difference in compensation. My prayer is that as we consider our Lenten sacrifice for this Appeal, we will do so remembering we are working at Kingdom building. Whether it is in a far off land or here in our country, our goal is to bring people to Christ. As you fast and pray as part of your Lenten discipline for your own parish and its spiritual health, pray also for others in our Diocese and Province as well as our Global Partners who are laboring for the Gospel in other lands. May the Lord grant us a spiritually profitable Lenten Season and pray also for the Lenten Appeal that it will be blessed of the Lord.
Faithfully yours in Christ, The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, D.D., Presiding Bishop
Daily Lenten Schedule
Sundays· 8:00 a.m., Morning Prayer· 8:30 a.m., Holy Communion· 9:45 a.m., Sunday School· 11:00 a.m., Holy Communion· 12:15 p.m., Fellowship Lunch· 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Mondays• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Tuesdays• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 11:00 a.m., Lenten Study• 12:00 p.m., Stations of the Cross• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Wednesdays• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 6:00 p.m., Holy Communion• 6:30 p.m., Fellowship Dinner• 7:00 p.m., Lenten Study• 7:00 p.m., Choir Practice Thursdays• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Fridays• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 7:00 p.m., Stations of the Cross Saturdays• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 8:15 a.m., Breakfast• 8:30 a.m., Lenten Projects• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer
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