Walking with Christ through the Gospel of Mark Sunday School class

Starting on November 17th, Dr. David Malick will be begin his six-part study on Mark's Gospel. The goal of this class will be to help us acquire skill and comfort at reading Mark as a theological story of Jesus' life. Special emphasis will be placed on how we, as followers of the Lord, can grow deeper in our own discipleship.

Childcare will be provided. We look forward to hearing from Dave, and we'll see you there!

Islam in Christian Perspective Sunday school class.

This week, the Rev. Dr. Graham Cole will be teaching the second part of his Sunday School class entitled "Islam in Christian Perspective." In these classes, Graham will introduce the main features of Islam as a religion and where it chiefly differs from the Christian faith.

Childcare will be provided and we hope to see you there!

August Rector's Update

In the western world during the late 20th Century it became fashionable to deride supernaturalists.  Indeed, philosophical naturalism or materialism was celebrated as the only intellectually respectable world view.  But in recent decades supernaturalism is increasingly in vogue – especially among college and university students.  One effect of postmodernism with its celebration of diversity and inclusivity is a growing interest in spirituality, eastern mysticism and religions other than traditional Christianity and Judaism.  G. K. Chesterton’s observation of early 20th Century  English culture is quite applicable to American culture today: “Our problem is not that people today believe nothing – it is that they believe anything.”  Such confusion, Chesterton recognized, leads to destructive moral and spiritual relativism.  

Americans today manifest a deep longing for “something other” or “something more” than what they can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.  They articulate a faith in a spiritual reality and seek to know it.  Most young and middle age people are not secular.  On the contrary, they express spiritual curiosity and alertness.  There is a growing cultural conviction that there is “Someone” or “Some Reality” out there that is greater than we are.  Over thirty years ago, I was a similarly confused young man with a growing conviction that God exists and that I had a need to know Him.  One evening while skimming a biography of Peter Marshall, the illustrious pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., I was deeply touched by one of his sermons where he maintained that many of our burdens and inner confusion come from lack of trust in God and “misunderstanding of what God is like. We are dismally ignorant of the of the love and power of God.  No wonder we do not trust Him!”  Peter Marshall went on to say that “if you want to know what God is like, look at Christ.  Study what Christ said.  Notice what Christ did.” After reading this sermon,  I began to prayerfully read the Gospels.  I gradually began to learn the truth of Jesus Christ’s words: “And this is eternal life,  that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  (John 17:3) 

Let’s all devote time to reading the Holy Scriptures daily – praying to know God through Jesus Christ because knowing Him is urgent and important.  This truth is revealed in the words from the Apostle Peter’s testimony: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Let’s also pray to know Jesus Christ better and to love Him more.

Blessings in Him,

Pastor Lyle

The Altar Linens

Each week, before the service begins, the altar is dressed in appropriate linens.  For most of the history of the church, the altar was made of marble.  To protect this fragile but beautiful material, the altar guild would cover the top of the altar with a Cerecloth.

A Cerecloth was a piece of waxed linen that was made to fit exactly on the top of the altar to protect the fair linen from the dampness of the stone and the wooden altar from wet spills.  It was a practical cloth and was not seen by the congregation.  Depending on the circumstances, many churches today use a piece of plastic cut to the appropriate size.

On top of the cerecloth when the Frontal.  It is the cloth that reflects the color of the season and can be anything from a tiny drape over the front of the altar to a large cloth that completely covers both front and back of the altar.  Many frontals are made of very expensive materials and are heavily decorated.  Ours are made of color appropriate pieces that reflect the season.  Since we not yet in a permanent home with its corresponding altar, our frontals are hand made and can be replaced, if necessary.  Each week they give a clue to where we stand in the church year.  For the next several months, we will mostly use green.  [Note that the frontal and the chasuble are matching, as is the veil over the chalice].  Green is the color of growth and the time of the year when the Gospel readings are usually focused on the teachings and parable of Jesus.

Over the frontal, you find the Fair Linen.  This piece, as the name implies, should be a piece of very nice white cloth.  It goes over the top of the altar and may hang down the sides.  Some fair linen is embroidered with five crosses, reminiscent of the five wounds of Christ.  Again, ours has been hand made by a member of the congregation to fit the needs of this particular altar.

In the center of the altar and closest to the celebrant, you will see a lovely square piece that is embroidered with an appropriate symbol, i.e. a lamb triumphant, a cross, or something that points to Jesus.  This cloth is called the Corporal.   It protects the fair linen from any spills and catches any particle of the bread that might fall on it.  The word comes from the Latin “corpus” meaning “body.”  Each week the body [wafers] and blood [wine in the chalice] are placed on top of this linen.