Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Look at St. John the Apostle (Clinton Twp., MI)

The spring storms of early April took a toll on a familiar landmark at St John the Apostle (Clinton Township, MI). Their bright blue and white sign, despite all the extra TLC and maintenance it received, was blown over during high winds. Not wanting to waste an opportunity for a much needed revamping of their physical church image, the Vestry and people of SJA joined together in the process to restore, freshen, and improve their public look.
Constructing a new sign took some time, due to design, building, permits, etc. During the wait, they began with new vinyl lettering for the window to display some pertinent information about the church.  Then, an announcement board, with interchangeable lettering, built from the old parts of our fallen sign. At last, the new sign was completed in August, with a color scheme similar to our web presence and a Celtic cross reflecting who we are as Anglicans. All these improvements made the “old rusty cross” really seem dated and uninspiring. So the Vestry decided it was about time to paint it and begin to take proper care of it.  
Though totally unrelated to the outside, yet practically providential, the church benefitted with an interior facelift as well. Through the generosity of another church, they were gifted with the use of some new items for our worship: a new tabernacle, Gospel cover, carved art for the walls (an Angus Dei and Chi Rho), as well as four chasubles and two stoles for our priest.
We know that buildings, things, or appearances do not define God’s presence or our worship of him. God is worshipped quite fully and reverently in hospital rooms, hospice bedsides, storefronts, old warehouses, living rooms and various house churches. God is found present whenever and wherever two or three of his people gather.  This is promised and proven true time and again. Yet, we would be wrong not to be grateful for these physical and tangible “signs” (John 20:30-31) God has given us, reminding us of his never-ending care and provision for us. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.
There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.
Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.
In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).
Augustine is still acclaimed and condemned in our day. He is a prophet for today, trumpeting the need to scrap escapisms and stand face-to-face with personal responsibility and dignity.

 “Too late have I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you—things which, if they were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors and I drew in breath—and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” (St. Augustine, Confessions).

Monday, August 27, 2012

School Prayer

The Oscoda Area Schools (Oscoda, MI) this day held a Community Prayer Service as teachers and staff returned to school one week ahead of students. Well over 100 teachers, staff and community members gathered at the flagpole at 7:30 AM.
Those present prayed, as a community, for God’s blessing and covering for the new school year.
The invocation of blessing was delivered by Fr. Jeff Johnston, MSJ, Curate at Hope Anglican Church in Oscoda, MI. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Missionary Society of St. John (MSJ) joins in rejoicing this 3rd Anniversary of our beloved Bishop Bill Ilgenfritz Consecration to the Episcopate. We of the Missionary Society join in offering our prayer and supplications with thanksgivings for his ministry among us as Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints

May our Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest and Bishop of our souls, continue to inspire and empower him with His Holy Spirit as he leads our diocese to fulfill Christ's mission and ministry in this second decade of the 21st Century. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

A warm welcome to the newest addition to the Missionary Society of St. John:

Emmanuel Anglican Fellowship is a group of dedicated Christians, who are excited to be affiliating with the Missionary Society of St. John, the Missionary Diocese of All Saints, and the Anglican Church in North America.  We worship in the Anglican tradition, embracing the three streams of liturgical, evangelical and charismatic expression.  This is a house church, where the Eucharist services, teaching series, and warm fellowship truly give glory to God.  Our worship is vibrant, traditional, and liturgical as it brings together worship both old and new.

Our goal is to be a mission church desiring to reach both those who have not heard the good news of Jesus and to provide a home for those who have felt alienated from their churches due to a departure from the faith.

Sunday 10:00 a.m. services are held at the chapel of the Pines Retreat House, 2365 Old Mill Rd., Hudson, Ohio 44236.  Visitors are always welcomed. 

For more information contact Fr. Ken Bieber.

Friday, August 10, 2012

St. Lawrence

The esteem in which the Church holds Lawrence is seen in the fact that today’s celebration ranks as a feast. We know very little about his life. He is one of those whose martyrdom made a deep and lasting impression on the early Church. Celebration of his feast day spread rapidly.

He was a Roman deacon under Pope St. Sixtus II. Four days after this pope was put to death, Lawrence and four clerics suffered martyrdom, probably during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian.

Legendary details of his death were known to Damasus, Prudentius, Ambrose and Augustine. The church built over his tomb became one of the seven principal churches in Rome and a favorite place for Roman pilgrimages.

A well-known legend has persisted from earliest times. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. When Lawrence knew he would be arrested like the pope, he sought out the poor, widows and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians must have considerable treasure. He sent for Lawrence and said, “You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him—only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words.”

Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasure of the Church.”

The prefect was so angry he told Lawrence that he would indeed have his wish to die—but it would be by inches. He had a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it. After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, “It is well done. Turn me over!”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses Thy well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.
The feast of the Transfiguration of Christ celebrates the revelation of Christ's divine glory on Mount Tabor in Galilee. After revealing to His disciples that He would be put to death in Jerusalem (Matthew 16:21), Christ, along with Ss. Peter, James, and John, went up the mountain. There, St. Matthew writes, "he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow."
The brightness was not something added to Christ but the manifestation of His true divine nature. For Peter, James, and John, it was also a glimpse of the glories of heaven and of the resurrected body promised to all Christians. As Christ was transfigured, two others appeared with Him: Moses, representing the Old Testament Law, and Elijah, representing the prophets. Thus Christ, Who stood between the two and spoke with them, appeared to the disciples as the fulfillment of both the Law and the prophets.
At Christ's baptism in the Jordan, the voice of God the Father was heard to proclaim that "This is my beloved Son" (Matthew 3:17). During the Transfiguration, God the Father pronounced the same words (Matthew 17:5).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

St. John the Apostle VBS

This summer's VBS took the children of St. John the Apostle (Clinton Township, MI) to Rocky Point Lighthouse where they learned the importance of being a beacon of God's Light. Helping each other made a seemingly impossible game easier. Blindfolds and a little oatmeal "mud" gave them a better understanding of how Jesus gave Light to a blind man. Together they assembled 50 bags of soup ingredients, most of which will go to a food distribution center, giving Light to those in need. Through games, song, work and lessons, the children discovered that in everything they do, they too, can "Shine God's Light". 

Additional photos may be viewed here:

Contact Information

11195 S. Grayling Rd.
Roscommon, MI 48653

Telephone: 586-264-6044
msjanglican "at"