St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 35 February 2023 No. 2
We received a letter from the Alliance Defending Freedom last month; it is printed below. These people are hard at work speaking out and seeking to educate people on the truth of abortion, and why the church must always stand strong against it and against its legalization.
The reason is simple: every abortion kills an innocent baby. That’s it. The attempts by the pro-abortion advocates in our country to derail that conversation are many; they have been many ever since 1973 when the Supreme Court essentially ruled that the Constitution prohibits laws against abortion. Back then, as now, the focus of those advocates was on the right of a woman to do as she pleased with her own body.
The premise for this right, it was argued at the time, was the right of marital privacy, which the Court essentially invented in 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut. In that case, the Court ruled that the Constitution did in fact protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on contraception. While the Court explained that the Constitution does not explicitly protect a general right to privacy, it argued that the various guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy.
On the basis of this ruling, the Court ruled in 1973, in Roe v. Wade, that as this privacy was a matter into which the state could intrude, so also, in the matter of whether or not a woman could determine whether or not to end her pregnancy was also a matter into which the state could not intrude.
Last year the Court extraordinarily reversed the 1973 ruling and vacated it, and all the friends of life rejoiced; and again the pro abortion crowd began to complain about the violation of women’s rights.
Whether or not these rulings reflect what’s really in the Constitution (they don’t), this matter has nothing at all to do with the rights of women, and it never ceases to amaze me that people still think it does.
It has to do with babies. Real babies, living babies, inside of their mothers’ wombs. They are not potential babies, not entities waiting to be brought into the world. They’re already in the world. And that’s the only issue.
And since it is, therefore, let no one say that the government shouldn’t be involved in it. Because the first duty of any government is to protect its people. And its people include these little ones. To say that it’s not the government’s business would be the same as to say that murder isn’t the government’s business. Murder can never be allowed in a civilized society. Murder, as in, the unjustified killing of innocent people. And most especially the government’s protection is needed for people who can’t defend themselves.
And who is more innocent and in need of protection than a tiny baby? These, more than any of us, ought to be the special concern of the law of the land. They need the government’s protection just as much as we do, even more.
They’re people, living human beings. That’s the issue.
When I attended the Confessions symposia at the Fort Wayne seminary a couple weeks ago, I was again struck by the display they have on their lawn as you enter the campus: thousands of little white crosses in rows, a somber reminder of the thousands of infants abortion killed in Indiana in the past year.
And so we continue to pray, every Sunday at the altar, for those who are in trouble, “especially any unborn children in danger of abortion,” and for our society, that God might “beat down Satan under our feet” and bring us back to being a society, as it once was, that recognizes that abortion is not merely illegal but unthinkable.
+ Pastor Eckardt
A letter from the Alliance Defending Freedom, January 5, 2023
Every innocent human life-whether born or not-is valuable, precious, and worthy of full protection.
But, sadly, not everyone agrees. Those of us who are pro-life are told that "abortion is healthcare," that abortion is a "basic human right," that the unborn child isn't a person with dignity to be protected.
Let's be clear: Abortion has no place in a civilized society.
It's barbaric to pit a mother's interests against those of her unborn child. Killing a baby is a bad solution to any problem. And women deserve better than abortion.
As clear as right and wrong may seem to you about abortion, not everyone agrees. Maybe not even all your friends and family agree. That's why you need to be ready to defend life and dispel common pro-abortion myths in conversation and respond with truth and grace.
That's why ADF has created a short, free downloadable guide to help you be a voice for the voiceless: Life: 3 Myths & 3 Facts.
To get a free copy, click here.
The Feast of Candlemas, or the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Mary, is upon us again, so-called because of the custom of distributing, blessing, and lighting of candles during the service. It is one of the more beautiful occasions we celebrate at St. Paul’s. Set on February 2nd, this year it falls on the first Thursday February, so we’ll observe it on its eve, Wednesday night the 1st at the usual time, 7 p.m.
When Jesus was presented in the temple, the priest Simeon also came in and declared, in the words of the Nunc Dimittis, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
This declaration of the Christ Child as a Light is the reason for the ceremonial use of candles at this Mass. The use of these lights in connection with the Blessed Sacrament emphasizes the analogy of Simeon’s jubilation on receiving the Child with our own reception of Christ at the altar. This connection is made at every Mass, of course, in our own recitation of the Nunc Dimittis. At Candlemas, the connection is highlighted because the Gospel appointed for the day is this very Gospel. The name of this Feast, Candlemas, also subtly provides a link to the Feast from which it springs, that great feast of forty days earlier, namely Christmas.
Hand-candles are used twice in this service. First, at the opening, in a procession toward the altar and back to the pews, all the while singing the Nunc Dimittis (the song of Simeon). Second, when the Sacrament is consecrated.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Septuagesima February 5th.
On Septuagesima Sunday we turn our gaze toward Easter, though liturgically it is still off in the distance. This Sunday marks the first day of pre-Lent (also called the Septuagesima season), a period of preparing our minds for the coming of Lent. A few liturgical matters are noted: we bid the Alleluias farewell, for we will not sing them again until Easter. The choir sings The Depositio, which is a “farewell to the alleluia” at the opening of the service. In addition, and we have changed the color to violet, also the color for Lent. The Septuagesima season is observed in three Sundays: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. These Latin terms mean 70th, 60th, and 50th, for we pass, roughly, the 70th, 60th, and 50th days before Easter. Following Quinquagesima comes Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40 days of Lent. Lent itself was once called Quadragesima, which means 40th.
In the middle ages Septuagesima Sunday was also seen as New Year’s Day, because of this shift in our focus: we had been living, as it were, in the wake of Christmas, since the Epiphany season is an extension of the Christmas season. On Septuagesima Sunday we live in the first stages of preparation for the coming of Easter.
Shrove Tuesday February 21st
A good opportunity to make confession privately in preparation for Lent. Pastor is available Tuesday afternoon until 5 pm and, as always, by appointment.
Ash Wednesday February 22nd
On Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, we will congregate at 7:00 pm to mark the beginning of Lent. The rite of imposition of ashes precedes the Mass.
The season of Lent emphasizes penitence, in preparation for Easter. Its span is forty days, like the forty days in which Jesus fasted in the wilderness, in fulfillment of the fast of Moses and Elijah on Mount Horeb.
The Apostles themselves left the specific manner of observance to Christian liberty, saying, Let each be convinced in his own mind. Leaving aside the question of what things one should fast from (whether sweets, or meats, or milk products, etc.), what is clear is that the custom of fasting itself is quite biblical. If Moses, Elijah, and Jesus himself fasted, certainly it must be a good practice. Indeed, on Ash Wednesday we hear Jesus saying, “When ye fast, be not as the hypocrites,” etc. Luther’s Small Catechism also declares, “Fasting and other bodily preparation is indeed a fine outward training.” Therefore we conclude two things: first, that fasting is a good thing, and second, that it is a matter left to Christian liberty.
Liturgically the Church fasts during Lent (as Israel fasted forty years in the wilderness). The color is penitential violet. Alleluias are not sung, and there is less music; flowers are absent, and weddings are not to be scheduled.
Then, the last two weeks of Lent are designated as “passiontide,” when statutes, images, and crosses in the churches are veiled, and no Glorias are sung at all, except in the Gloria in Excelsis on Maundy Thursday.
But in the midst of this penitential mood there is joy, especially at Laetare, the fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare means ‘rejoice’). The entire penitential season is not to be sad, but joyful. For true joy of heart, born of the suffering and resurrection of Christ, transcends all parts of Christian life, even the deepest of sorrows, as we confess with David that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Thus the forty days of Lent is followed by a contrastingly festive forty-day season from Easter until Ascension Day.
Annual Voters’ Assembly Set for January 29th
The annual voters’ assembly is set for the last Sunday of January, the 29th. As usual, this meeting will take the place of Bible Class during the hour from 10:30 to 11:30 am.
Choir rehearsals will be starting again this month, beginning on Wednesday, February 1st at 5:30 p.m. Let’s get started preparing for Holy Week; see you there!
2/2 Mindie Fisher2/4 Joshua Kraklow2/5 Tom Wells2/23 Carol McReynolds
February Anniversaries None
The first Tuesday events (altar guild, vespers, elders) will be held, God willing, on Tuesday, February 7th. Vespers at 6:45; Elders at 7:15. All members are always encouraged to join us for First Tuesday Vespers, as you are able.
Jim Hornback, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells
Pastor and Carol will likely be traveling to Florida this month for a few days to visit her father. Schedules are therefore pending that plan.
Robin Sighting Contest: Over Before It Begins
Every year we hold the robin sighting contest about this time, asking who can find the first robin of spring. But in this tenth year of the contest, just as this newsletter was about to be printed, Michele Keehner reported a robin sighing already! The eligibility is already limited to people in Illinois extending as far south as Peoria, but, wow, some robins like to get an early start!
We were all set to announce that the winner of the contest would get an all-expenses-paid dream vacation for two weeks in Hawaii. But, oh well, not now! Maybe next year? Our list of winners:
2023 Michele Keehner
2022 Steve Kraklow
2021 Andy Eckardt
2020 Michele Keehner
2019 Steve Kraklow
2018 Steve Kraklow
2017 Barbra Kraklow
2016 Judy Thompson
2015 Carol Eckardt
2014 Michele Keehner
A sign of spring, the robin may also help us think of the approach of Easter!
Saturday Bible Class Moves to 11 a.m.
In the interest of consolidating Saturday times, for the benefit of those who come both for the morning and for Bible Class, we have determined to move it from its 1:00 p.m. slot to the earlier 11:00 a.m. slot. Join us! We’re studying the Gospel according to St. Matthew.
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:
Don and Sue Murphy, Linda Rowe, Sharon Hartz, John Sovanski, Sandra VerPlaetse, Bea Harris, Grant Andreson, Jewneel Walker, and Emmy Wear, Kris Harden, Jim Watson, John Ricknell
beyond our parish:
Anna, Katie, and Jodi Rutowicz [Harris relations]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Elizabeth Godke [Sharon Field’s mother]
Oneida Hendrickson [Ricknell relative]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Tim Newman [Shreck relation]
Theresa Moore [Ricknells’ niece]
Kathy Boeger [re Harrises]
Allison Leezer [relative of the Kraklows]
Shannon Watson [Jim’s daughter]
Richard Heiden [Carol Eckardt’s father]
Jeff Lewis [Carol Eckardt’s brother in law]
Pastor Justin Kane
in the military:
John Eckardt, Donny Appleman [at request of John Ricknell], Richard Heiden [at request of the Eckardts], Eli Wetzel, Traven Wetzel, Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson], Jake Mahaffey, Trevor Shimmin, Shad Draminski, James and Ann Lee Armstrong, Marcus Prentice [son of Felicia Baker]
any unborn children in danger of abortion; Debra Reeves’s children Rae Beth and Drew Wayne; those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Venezuela, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, North Korea, and elsewhere.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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