A Word about Finances and Donations
Dear members of the body of Christ at St. Paul’s,
I’ve been asked to say a word to you about finances, something which, as you know, I rarely do. It’s not really on my radar. But finances keep the doors open, and so they are an important thing to be aware of. St. Paul’s has been shrinking as Kewanee itself has been shrinking, yet somehow we continue to keep on. From a human perspective, this is due to the selfless and sacrificial giving of so many of our members. It’s remarkable, really, and it provides no small affirmation for my decades’ long belief that people don’t need to be cajoled or ‘guilted’ into giving more; they need to be able to see what tremendous things their giving has produced. It is very common for church bulletins and newsletters to print out the amount of donations next to the amount that is ‘needed’, always a woeful difference and deficit. Week after week, month after month, what the people see leads them to think it’s hopeless. While I print the previous week’s total, I never print the need. It’s really kind of disingenuous to do so anyhow, because sometimes big donations come in, sometimes not, and other factors play a part too, so merely taking the budget and dividing it by weeks isn’t altogether accurate. Most importantly, somehow, somehow, for the entire 26 years of my tenure here, we’ve managed to get along. Well, how did that happen? I don’t know. Prayer has a lot to do with that, and, I believe, acknowledgment of what our gifts have helped to bring about: a vibrant, if small, beacon of the Holy Gospel in this place. Thanks be to God for that!
But it is also good to remember that sacrifices are important for Christians to consider. They’re nothing new for the church, of course, which routinely celebrates the martyrdoms of saints, the ultimate sacrifice. In addition, more recently and perhaps personally, our forefathers left homes, fields, loved ones, and an entire way of life to immigrate to America and settle here on the frontier, all so they could worship their Lord aright, and receive His Gospel in its purity. They sacrificed considerably, and quite willingly, for that.
We are vibrant in many ways, unified in confession and love. I thank God for all of you daily, as I am well aware of the lavish grace He has shown us here in our mutual confession and faith. Yet only a handful of members are actually giving an amount which comes close to an actual tithe, which is 10% of one’s income. It may surprise some of you to hear that although the tithe is not required of us, it was required of the Israelites, and it remains a good guideline for giving. I was raised with this idea; I have known and sought to follow it since childhood. Some of you may find the tithe impossible to meet, depending on your circumstances. OK, then, how about 5% for starters, or for now?
One thing the Apostle St. Paul does declare is that each one should set apart a weekly offering in proportion to his income, though he does not say what proportion to give. At least we can say it ought be more than your pocket change. It ought to be more than a few dollars a week, unless you’re very poor. On the other hand, if you are blessed to be making a salary well above what most people make, you might consider an offering level more than 10%.
The nearby chart gives some quick suggestions. If all our active members took this little encouragement to heart, we’d not only be able to pay our bills, but we might even have some to give to worthy missions which could use our help. My prayer is that we meet this challenge quickly; indeed it is my expectation, as I am aware of how blessed we are as a unified congregation, and how the love of our members one for another is so richly evident in so many ways.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
+ Pastor Eckardt
If annual family income is: 5% weekly is about: Or 7% weekly: Or 10% weekly:
$20,000 $20 $25 $35
$30,000 $25 $40 $55
$40,000 $35 $50 $75
$50,000 $45 $65 $90
$60,000 $55 $80 $115
$70,000 $65 $90 $135
Be sure to check out the Persecution Details in this newsletter for an important matter of deep concern to the LCMS and St. Paul’s.
Altar Guild Notes
The council will be meeting on Wednesday, September 15th which is the usual third Wednesday.
9/1 John Ricknell
9/10 Jan Schoen
9/17 Mary Beth Jones
9/18 DeAnne Anderson
9/19 Jaclyn Kraklow
9/19 Jamie Kraklow
9/20 Derrick Baker
9/28 Allan Kraklow
9/18/1976 Tom and Sue Ann Wells
9/19/1993 Jeff and Tara Wagenknecht
September Ushers: Jim Hornback, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells.
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. Grant Andresen, at Park Vista in East Moline. Jewneel Walker, at Kewanee Care.
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, Don and Sue Murphy, Dick Melchin, Bea Harris, Allan Kraklow, Sandra VerPlaetse, John Sovanski, Tara Wagenknecht, Grant Andreson, Dale Baker, and Jewneel Walker
and beyond our parish:
Anna, Katy, and Jody 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]
Dennis Hoag, Tim Newman [Shreck relations]
Theresa Moore [Ricknells’ niece]
Kathy Boeger [re Harrises]
Allison Leezer [relative of the Kraklows]
Shannon Watson [Jim’s daughter]
Loren Lindstrom [Alissa’s Grandfather]
Maxine Bitting [Judy Thompson’s sister in law]
Loren Hartz [Sharon’s brother]
Pastor Jacob Sutton
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
James and Ann Lee Armstrong
any unborn children in danger of abortion
the people of Haiti who suffered a great earthquake,
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Afghanistan, Finland, Iran, Syria, India, North Korea, China, and elsewhere.
Finland (August 20, 2021):
A brave Finnish Lutheran woman by the name of Päivi Räsänen received the prestigious Kåre Kristiansen Prize for her recent refusal to submit to Finnish authorities challenging her faith. The government is demanding her compliance with edicts that require her to renounce Christian and Biblical views against homosexuality.
Miss Räsänen, a member of the Finnish Parliament, wrote a tract on the Christian view of marriage, and for her refusal to recant she now faces the possibility of jail time. But she has told the authorities that she will not reject St. Paul’s clear teaching on sexuality, “no matter the consequences.”
Her (Lutheran) bishop is Bp. Juhana Pojohla, who also has been threatened with jail time over this matter. He stands solidly and publicly in agreement with her, and like her will not recant.
In 2009 Father Pojohla received from Gottesdienst the annual Sabre of Boldness award for his courageous stance. I personally met with him at the time; he was deeply honored and encouraged, as were his fellow Lutherans in Finland, as we later learned. Earlier this year he was elected Bishop of the Independent Lutheran Church of Finland.
Rev. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, met with both of these faithful and courageous Christians in August to express the support and encouragement of their American brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Catechism is on Tuesdays, at 5:00 in the afternoon; anyone may attend, and members sometimes do, for a lively discussion and learning opportunity. IN addition to studying the catechism, we are reviewing the Old Testament.
By Karl Fabrizius
Fr. Fabrizius is Pastor of Our Father Lutheran Church in Greenfield, Wisconsin, and a contributing editor of Gottesdienst. This article was posted at Gottesblog on Tuesday, August 24th.
Before COVID, there were already casual Fridays, and in companies where it was mainly young people every day was casual. Even nicer restaurants are often full of casually dressed people. Now people may never dress for work when they work from home. This has affected the church as well. Few men wear suits to church, let alone dress clothes. Women rarely wear dresses. In many churches, the pastors do not vest in historic vestments or even preach from the pulpit. After all, if God is your good buddy, He surely would want you to be casual and relaxed in His presence. During the last year, the Sacrament fell victim to even more of the casualness of society as the abomination of disposable cups was taken one step further to a self-contained unit of a small wine cup packaged with some bread. This package could also be handled by one individual and then cast aside into the trash.
In view of these things, it is time for a little reminder. The New Testament uses the term “Mysteries” to refer to the Sacraments that Christ has instituted for His Church on earth. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD) frequently referred to the Lord’s Supper as a “mystical benediction.” Notice that he has combined the mystery of God’s gift to the Church with the term “Benediction” which refers to the proclamation of a blessing. Indeed, the Mystery of the Lord’s Supper is only understood through the Words which Christ has proclaimed at the institution of this Sacrament. Chrysostom writes that in the mysteries we must not look at the things set before us, but trust His Word which is of higher authority than our thoughts and senses. He then continues:
How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! thou seest Him, Thou touchest Him, thou eatest Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He giveth Himself to thee not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within thee. Let then no one approach it with indifference, no one faint-hearted, but all with burning hearts, all fervent, all aroused. For if Jews standing, and having on their shoes and their staves in their hands, ate with haste, much more oughtest thou to be watchful. For they indeed were to go forth to Palestine, wherefore also they had the garb of pilgrims, but thou art about to remove unto Heaven. [Homilies on Matthew 82:4, NPNF 10:495]
This is nothing to be casual about. Do we not sing in the Liturgy the song of Isaiah, “Holy, Holy, Holy”? In the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy God who sent His Holy Son in flesh and blood, strengthens us by His Holy Spirit to draw us ever nearer to the Eternal Feast in Heaven. Solomon cautions us, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1)
Why are we so formal in the Divine Service: bowing, kneeling, wearing vestments, etc.? It is, as Chrysostom reminds us, that Christ comes to us so that we might see, touch, eat and receive Him as He prepares us to be removed into Heaven. Our Lutheran Fathers remind us that this is a great mystery, “a secret which ought and must be used with great circumspection and fear, not because the absent body and blood of Christ are signified, but rather because, as Chrysostom says, the Word teaches and faith regards it as certain that what is present in the cup of the Lord is precisely what flowed from the side of the Lord.” (Apology of the Book of Concord, p. 237) In a world where everything is casual and often very sloppy, the Church reminds Herself that Christ gives us His own Holy Body and Blood to eat upon this altar that we might eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins. That is His Word that is sure and certain. This is not the vain imagining of men which would make us ask how can these things be, but the infallible words of Christ. These things must be believed precisely because they are Mysteries. Faith then receives the Mystical Benediction imparted to all those who eat and drink believing in Christ’s Promise.
This is not something to be received in disposable cups or throwaway containers for these are the Holy Things of God Himself according to His own Word. All that we do is to confess this. The silver or gold sacramental vessels remind us that this is the greatest feast of any on earth. The pastor is clothed in white with a royal looking chasuble as a servant of Christ who has received Holy Orders to administer the Blessed Sacrament according to the Word of Christ. The pastor kneels to adore the Sacrament because he believes the Word of Christ that this is the Body and Blood of the Son of God upon the altar. In this confession, we are reminded that through the personal union of God and Man in the one Christ, we are fed not only His spiritual Body, but His real Flesh and Blood, for the day of the Resurrection. Then, we come to the altar and kneel before the Son of God as He gives us the great gift of the forgiveness of sins, that our weak, doubting minds might cling by faith to the certainty of His Word of Truth. Our ears hear the Word of Benediction of our Lord, “This is My Body,” “This is My Blood,” “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Truly, this is not something of indifference, but causes hearts to burn with joy at the tender mercy of our God who has visited His people.
Last year we held a mini Oktoberfest, just for our parish, and it was a success. We hope to do the same this year, some time in October. However, we are also looking ahead . . .
Wedding in October
We are looking forward to a big wedding at St. Paul’s on October 16th. Drew Clapper, formerly of St. Paul’s, is to be married to Lauren Brandt here. Look forward to a grand event. Lauren is a member at Zion in Detroit, whose pastor, Father Mark Braden, and I will be officiating at this wedding together.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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