The Number One Issue for All Citizens
This article appeared in the Kewanee Star Courier on Friday, October 16, 2020
During this election cycle in particular, now that there’s another vacancy in the Supreme Court, one key issue that we’ll be hearing about again is the matter of abortion.
This may be an uncomfortable topic for some, and for that I apologize. But it must be considered.
The matter is often easily relegated to the back burner in our personal thoughts and political discussions. It doesn’t usually make news except when the news cycle calls for it during an election season or a time to appoint a judge or a justice. So outside of these times no one pays too much daily attention to the fact that there are still over 2,000 abortions every day in this country. Thankfully those numbers have come down significantly since the fateful Roe v. Wade Supreme Court horror in 1973. But it’s not enough.
Over 2,000 innocent babies are willfully killed every day in America.
So what is the number one issue facing us today? The economy? The pandemic? The rioting? So many matters of great import these are. But we dare never forget that still there are over 2,000 babies slaughtered every day.
Your political persuasion shouldn’t matter here at all. This is not a women’s reproductive rights issue. To be pro-life is not in itself a matter which has fundamentally to do with reproductive rights. We may certainly argue about whether a woman has the right to decide to use birth control or not, and that’s a debate worth having. But it’s not this debate; for every preborn child—every one—is already the product of reproduction. As soon as a woman is pregnant, she carries a human life inside or her that is not her own. She carries a baby. Even in the first trimester, it’s a baby, and that’s a matter which is biologically proven. A fetus is alive, is human, and is distinguished from its mother. Arguments about viability are also irrelevant. “Viability” means able to survive on its own. Tell me, is a one-year-old child able to survive on its own?
So many things are thrown up in the conversation which are nothing but distractions. What if the fetus is deformed? What if it’s defective? What if, heaven forbid, it’s the result of rape? Are any of these factors sufficient to justify killing it? Even when the matter of saving the life of the mother is raised, we must begin with the fact the fact that in this case we are dealing with two lives. Why not, in that rare case, seek to save both? Why couldn’t we seek to take the baby
prematurely so that the mother does not die, and then try to save the baby? The point here—the only point—is that this has nothing to do with a potential life. It has to do with a living human being, a baby.
And this is why our Sunday morning prayers at worship always include, in our prayer intentions for those in trouble, “any unborn children in danger of abortion.” For that’s what they all are: children.
The ending of this horrific daily genocide must be first among all of our political concerns, for I can think of nothing more pressing.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Who are we?
Reprinted from the November 2006 Newsletter
[a question asked in the brochure we provide to inquirers]
“We are a Lutheran parish of Christian people who rejoice in our salvation, and in having the Word of God among us.
“When we hear the Gospel our hearts rejoice and are glad. We sing, and our choir sings, and our liturgy expresses our unspeakable gladness in the solemn dignity that befits holy joy.
“The Lord Jesus Christ here lavishes us with His eternal gifts and mercy. The Master serves the servants, and this wondrous mystery delights and humbles us in His presence.
“We welcome you to share this joy with us.”
This, according to our brochure, is the reason we gather, and the reason we are a parish of Christian people. There is really no other reason. We don’t have a mission statement, like many companies and associations do; we don’t state objectives for progress. That’s because we are a congregation of hearers. We come together to hear the word of God, which is preached in our midst.
It’s important to remember this, especially when we consider, as virtually all congregations do, what to do about financial shortfalls and budget woes. We are not a business, and we are not incorporated. The designation “not-for-profit” truly applies, because we aren’t interested in making money. We do need to make ends meet, and we always struggle to come up with ways to do that, but of course, that’s not an end in itself. We exist as a parish for only one reason: to hear and receive the gifts of God, and to rejoice in them. For this reason, the most appropriate thing to do, in the interest of the welfare of the parish, is to pray that God in His mercy would bless us.
That, admittedly, isn’t much of a “stewardship” sermon; and it would probably have stewardship advisors shaking their heads. Indeed there are many stewardship programs we could purchase (for a pretty penny) which may well give us plenty of “success” if we followed their directives. But unfortunately their directives are generally contrary to what’s at the heart of our existence. Put plainly, we do not exist in order to teach people how to give, but in order to instruct people as to what they have received. The former objective would make us a law-oriented parish, while the later is oriented toward Christ and His Gospel. It’s a tricky thing to keep straight, but critically important.
So of course let’s all remember to do our part in giving (actually most of our membership does, and without even needing much encouragement by way of reminders), but let’s remember first of all that we must learn to be as Mary of Bethany was, sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His Word.
Otis Anderson John Ricknell, Bill Thompson, Jim Hornback
11/5 Steve and Berniece Harris
11/10 Gayle and Phil Beauprez
11/19 Steve Kraklow
11/20 Jewneel Walker
11/30 Charlene Sovanski
In Our Prayers
Our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following. To update the list please inform the pastor
in our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Emmy Wear, Sue Murphy, Don Murphy, Dick Melchin, DeAnne Anderson, Bea Harris, Allan Kraklow, Sandra VerPlaetse, and Monroe Kemerling
and beyond our parish:
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Katy Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Jody Rutowicz [Harrises’ daughter]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Elizabeth Godke, Sharon Field’s mother
Brandt and Oneida Hendrickson [Ricknells’ relatives]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Dennis Hoag [Adam Shreck’s father-in-law]
Rachel Smith [Emmy Wear’s cousin]
Matthew and Yvette Baker [Dale’s son and wife]
Warren Williams [relative of the Kemerlings]
Theresa Moore [Ricknells’ niece]
Carol Grigsby [friend of Jewneel Walker]
Tim Newman [Kemerling relation]
Melinda Fisa [Monroe Kemerling’s granddaughter]
Kathy Boeger [re Harrises]
Allison Leezer [relative of the Kraklows]
Floretta Reynolds [Jim Watson’s aunt]
Kimberly Johnson [friend of Derek Baker]
Dana Conley [relative of the Kraklows]
Roger Wear [Emmy’s father]
Les Murphy [re Murphys]
Bud Harfst [Sue Murphy’s brother]
Everly Stoner, great grandchild of the Murphys
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]
Eli Wetzel, Traven Wetzel, Shawn Wetzel
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
Jake Mahaffey, Trevor Shimmin, Shad Draminski
Brett Armstrong, James Armstrong Jr., and Ann Lee Armstrong
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, China, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere.
For persecution details see www.persecution.net.
Monroe Kemerling, at home; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield; Emilie Ricknell at home, Dick Melchin at Hammond-Henry Extended Care in Geneseo; Bea Harris, from time to time, at home; Dale Baker, at home.
Altar Guild Notes
The council will be meeting on Wednesday, November 18th which is the usual third Wednesday.
Please make a note of it.
All Saints Day
All Saints falls on a Sunday this year, the first day of November. Since it is a Feast of the First Class, it takes precedence over a regular Sunday and will be observed on Sunday the 1st .
Thanksgiving is on November 24th this year. We observe it, as usual, the night before: Wednesday, November 23rd, at 7:00 p.m.
The First Sunday in Advent is November 29th. We begin the decorating with the Advent wreath, lighting the first candle. Other decorations go up during the season, until Christmas Eve. Sometimes they go up bit by bit, but this depends on the availability of volunteers.
This decorating during Advent is a local custom, not a liturgical rubric, since technically Advent is a season of penitential preparation for Christmas, similarly to Lent which prepares for Easter.
The Gospels for the four Sundays in Advent are likewise preparations for the coming of Christ, as are the Gospels for the last three Sundays of the Church year, in November. This is a remnant of the lengthier preparatory period that used to be called “St. Martin’s Advent,” named for the day of Martin of Tours, November 11th (Martin Luther is named after him), after which the penitential preparations for the coming of Christ would begin.
The coming, or advent, of Christ, is considered three ways: first, his coming again in glory at the Last Day; second, the celebration of his first coming, observed at Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord; and third, his coming to us in the Blessed Sacrament.
Most of you likely noticed a new directory that has been printed and made available on Sundays. Judy has asked that you take a look at your information, and make any additions or corrections needed and let her know. Some corrections have already been made.
Also, please provide your email. Most members’ emails are not in the system, but these are a handy way to reach people.
Trustees and the Building
In October, work was done on the bell tower, which was badly needed to stem the leaking that occasionally happened during heavy storms. A crew with a lift truck was brought in to fix areas needing repairs, and they expressed confidence that the work they did would solve the problem. All major cracks and holes were ground to a depth of ¾ inches with electric grinders and diamond blades. Once ground and washed, they were caulked. The north and west side had a sealer applied to the brick when completed.
They also did some paint touch-ups on the church’s metal decorative front on the roof.
Finally, they placed a shield on the gutter on the west side, to prevent water runoff from spilling out at the top of the downspout off the side of the building.
The project is costing us about $2400 but the council determined it was necessary to protect our newly remodeled and beautiful church. The lift truck was provided at an additional value of about $450, but this was covered, thankfully, by a joint agreement with Bob Johnson, who has helped us out like this in the past. There was no cost to us.
Covering the Cost
Members may remember how much they would have spent on Oktoberfest materials and donations, and perhaps, since there is no Oktoberfest this year (except for Little Oktoberfest, which was held on October 25th), consider donating it directly toward offsetting the cost of the steeple work (see above) instead.
We may pass a plate at the Little Oktoberfest banquet as well.
Pray for your congregation meanwhile!
The food pantry is still in use, to aid any poor folks that might come by for basic needs. A box in the hallway is placed to collect nonperishable items; when the box gets filled, the load is delivered to the Kewanee Food Pantry. But often the food available right here is offered to people who need it. So your contributions in kind are appreciated!
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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