A request has come from Fr. Charles Wokoma, the Academic Dean of the seminary for the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, for me to teach two intensive courses to seminarians there during the month of May. The details have yet to be worked out, but the intensive classes would require me to be absent for three Sundays during May, probably the first three.
I me ntioned this first at Bible Class on January 20th. The approval and encouragement of the congregation is important to me, for a number of reasons. The only expense to this congregation would be paying for guest pastors during those three Sundays, because this trip is being funded by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. But since there is a cost to you, it requires your approval.
Secondly, I am your pastor, and my vocation is to serve you. My time away would be in essence your sending of me to do this. I would be serving in a missionary capacity and should have your blessing to do that.
Third, and most importantly, this is an opportunity for you to have ownership in my work for this seminary that teaches between 80 to 100 seminarians annually. The Lutheran Church of Nigeria has recently been making great strides in returning to a solid confessional, sacramental, and liturgical foundation.
Fr. Wokoma has been bold and faithful in the face of constant challenges to him because of his confession, as he guides the seminary, seeing that the men become pastors who are as solid and faithful as the best of our confessional young pastors in the Missouri Synod, theologically and liturgically, with full liturgical vestments.
The courses I have been asked to teach are in Medieval History and Christian Worship, in addition to a regimen of daily preaching.
I met with Fr. Wokoma at Fort Wayne in January, and he introduced me to Bishop Christian Ekong of Nigeria. Both men are eager to have me there. I also met briefly with Rev. Albert Collver, assistant to LCMS President Harrison, who gave his approval for the funding of my trip.
The church is impoverished and in constant need of American help. St. Paul’s can look for ways to direct mission dollars or goods their way.
I plan to make a request for permission to do this at the Elders’ meeting this month, and I anticipate the congregation will need to hold a special meeting to provide formal approval for this.
+ Pastor Eckardt
As you may be aware, we are looking toward the conclusion of our renovation undertaking. Bob Harrison has been hard at work, as has Sharon Hartz. Bob is almost finished with the painting, and Sharon’s work on the shields is complete and they are ready to mount. She is also preparing the dove for the back wall. Meanwhile our custom-made capitals are nearing completion: two of them, to sit atop two new pillars framing the altar on either side of the back wall.
We are looking toward the installation of a new sound system. A consultant from West Music in Moline has already made a modest proposal that we believe is quite doable.
The floor must be laid, either using stone or hardwood.
As soon as these steps are complete, and the furniture replaced, we can move back into the church, perhaps even before every detail is finished. At this point we are hoping to be back in church by Easter at the latest; hopefully much sooner.
Our constant prayer is that Almighty God would establish the work or our hands, toward his glory, toward the edification of his people, and toward doing what we can to burnish this church as a place where the grace of God in Christ shines forth as a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of his people Israel.
+ Pastor Eckardt
February UshersOtis Anderson, John Ricknell, Bill Thompson; Jim Hornback in Reserve.
2/2 Mindie Fisher2/4 Joshua Kraklow2/5 Tom Wells2/17 Monroe Kemerling2/23 Carol McReynolds
In Our Prayers
Our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following. Anyone wishing to update the list by addition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.in our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Mary Hamilton, Emmy Wear, Sue Murphy, Don Murphy, Joyce Long, Dick Melchin, DeAnne Anderson, Bea Harris, Allan Kraklow, Father Eckardt, who is having tests
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Katy Rutovicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Jodi Rutowicz [daughter of Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Pastor Kenneth Wegener
Elizabeth Godke, Sharon Field’s mother
Brandt and Oneda Hendrickson [Ricknells’ relatives]
Teresa Robertson [Carol Eckardt’s niece]
Helen Woods [Sue Murphy’s sister]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Ken Hart [Judy Thompson’s brother-in-law]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Dennis Hoag [Adam Shreck’s father-in-law]
Greyson Dana Gilbert [McReynolds]
Shawn Golden [Jim Watson’s son-in-law]
Angela Golden [Jim Watson’s daughter]
Kenneth Hampton [Don Murphy’s son-in-law]
Sue Harris [Steve Harris’s sister-in-law]
Nancy Callahan [Don Murphy’s sister]
in the military:
Donny Appleman [at request of the Ricknells]
Richard Heiden [at request of the Eckardts]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]
Traven Wetzel [at request of Kris Harden]
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria, China, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere
(for details, see back page)
Robin Sighting Contest Already Over: Steve Kraklow Defends His CrownSteve Kraklow has already reported a robin sighting in Peoria on January 22nd. He was there for a Bob Seger concert and says he saw them in the parking lot. A photograph verifies his record-setting find. Never in the entire history of our contest (six years) has a robin been spotted this early. And this year’s prize for the first sighting has been set at $10,000 per week for life, tax free! Or not. So Steve Kraklow is a very rich man. Or not.
In any case he is now the winner for two years in a row, also a first. Last year was a photo finish. He reported a sighting on February 27th at 1:30 pm, and Diana Shreck came in a close second, reporting a sighting a just few hours later.
In 2017 it was Barbra Kraklow, who, as you may know, is Steve’s mother. So we are witnessing the emergence of a Kraklow Robin Dynasty, or KRD for short. Other members of St. Paul’s will need to step up their game in 2020.
In 2016 the winner was Judy Thompson
In 2015, Carol Eckardt
In 2014, Michele Keehner
The robin, of course, is something we regard very highly because it is a sign of spring; and the approach of spring is also the approach of Easter; and the approach of Easter is enough to cause us abiding joy. So rejoice in the robin, O Christian!
And know this: as sure a thing it is that the robin comes, even more sure is the Resurrection of our Lord.
New Organ Arrangements as Ryan Van Wassenhove moves on
On Sunday, January 27th, we are bidding bon voyage to Ryan Van Wassenhove, who has been our organist for eight years. He is moving to the Quad Cities for the continuation of his college education, and has taken a position as organist there as well. We wish him well and thank him for his many years of faithful service to us here.
He has informed us of his availability to play for special occasions that do not occur on Sundays, so we hope to see him from time to time.
Our temporary plan for accompaniment going forward includes having Pastor play the organ for Prelude, Opening Hymn, Hymn of the Day, and Closing Hymn. This will involve a few moments of waiting here and there as he gets seated, as well as a cappella singing of other parts of the mass, and distribution hymns, with assistance from Diana Shreck on the violin.
Mary Hamilton is at home. Emilie Ricknell is at home; Joyce Long is at home; Emmy Wear is at Williamsfield Retirement Center; Dick Melchin is at Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo.
Altar Guild Notes
Altar color is white until February 17th, which is Septuagesima Sunday, when it turns to violet, and remains violet throughout February.
Soup Suppers Again?
Our Lenten soup suppers would begin the Wednesday after Ash Wednesday (March 13th) if we choose to have them again. There would be five on the schedule, since there is no supper scheduled for Holy Week. Let’s discuss this informally during February.
February 2nd is Groundhog’s Day, which is actually “Candlemas.” We will observe it on Wednesday, January 30th, at our usual 7 pm time.
The legend of the groundhog’s fear of his shadow probably comes from the fact that candles were lit on that day in the churches as tokens of Christ “a Light to lighten the Gentiles.” The candles were lit because the day was from antiquity called Candlemas, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Mary, which comes 40 days after Christmas. This commemorates the day on which the Blessed Virgin came for purification after she gave birth, and to present the Christ Child, according to the law of Moses. The priest Simeon then took Him up in his arms and declared Him “a Light to lighten the Gentiles.” At the Feast of Candlemas, therefore, everyone participates in a procession of candles, and will also relight the candle during the Mass, from the Preface through the Consecration, a visually moving way of signifying the high point of the service.
Since Candlemas falls on a Saturday this year, we will observe it on Wednesday night, to give more people the opportunity to attend.February Council MeetingThe February council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th, at 5:30 pm.
The first Tuesday events (altar guild, vespers, elders) will be held, God willing, on Tuesday, February 5th. Altar Guild at 6 pm; Vespers at 6:45; Elders at 7:15. All members are always encouraged to join us for First Tuesday Vespers, as you are able.
2019 Sabre Goes to Rev. Douglas SpittelThe Gottesdienst Sabre of Boldness was awarded to Rev. Fr. Douglas Spittel of First Trinity Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was recognized for his selfless dedication to the faith and your strong influence toward reverent and confessional worship in the city of Pittsburgh over several decades, effectively holding to the historic liturgy while fostering several outreach ministries including the establishment of the Lutheran Center for the Blind, a Hispanic mission, campus ministry, homeless ministry, and deaf ministry; he has been deeply involved with outreach in the city of Pittsburgh, and also over the years in the Eastern District (in which his congregation formerly held membership) a vocal supporter of historic Lutheran liturgical practice and the confessions.
CHRISTIANS REPEATEDLY BEATEN AND ARRESTED
Source(s): International Christian Concern, Christian Post
Date: 17 January 2019
For many years, Christians living in the highlands of Vietnam have faced persecution and harassment from both government agents and fellow citizens. In this communist country, where Christianity is considered a threat to the regime, Hmong Christians face frequent discrimination – to the point of imprisonment and torture.
In the village of Phá Lóm, a group of 33 Protestant believers have experienced ongoing harassment from authorities during recent months. According to their pastor, Hoang Van Pa, they have been told to renounce their faith or suffer the consequences. When the believers refused, the raids took place repeatedly. In addition, four of the believers were arrested and beaten.
COVINGTON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AT PRO-LIFE RALLY SMEARED OVER FALSE REPORT
Covington (Kentucky) Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann and his classmates have been attacked by everyone from respected journalists to celebrities, over a video from the National Right-to-Life rally in Washington, D.C. in January, that gave some critics an inaccurate impression that the teens were harassing a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, following the pro-life demonstration. The outrage was swift and harsh -- the Kentucky school was even closed due to safety concerns.
But a full viewing subsequently showed that this was a false narrative; it can be seen that the students were the ones who were accosted and yelled at before Phillips and other Native American activists approached them. Another group – the so-called Black Hebrew Israelites – were heard shouting abuse at the students for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
The shocking vitriol directed at the MAGA hat-wearing teens, at a Right-to-Life rally, from a Catholic school, before video evidence showed they were innocent of instigating the confrontation, has shown a disturbing willingness among a great many public commentators to demonize even children, as long as they are seen as conservative Christians.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443