Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not recant, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do not other. (Hier stehe Ich. Ich kann nicht anders.) God help me. Amen.
Martin Luther’s closing words in his defense at the Diet of Worms, convened by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1521.
Dear Friends and Partners in the Way of Christ,
The month of October is a time for celebrating the life, history and faith of the ecumenical Christian Church. In this month, we at St. Philip’s will be celebrating World Communion with a neighboring congregation, receiving the Neighbors in Need Offering of the United Church of Christ, observing the Festival of Saint Francis with a blessing of the animals, holding our annual meeting, beginning our fall stewardship campaign, and recognizing the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on “Reforming and Reconciling Sunday.” We’ll also see the beginning this month of our new family-centered LOGOS program on Wednesday evenings.
This festival month begins on Sunday, October 1, 2017, when St. Philip’s will join Eden United Church of Christ in Affton for World Communion Sunday worship. The service begins at 10:30 a.m. (one hour later than usual for St. Philip’s members). Eden has welcomed us to share in their service that Sunday, when our own sanctuary will need to be closed due to asphalt repairs to our parking lot. We’re thankful for Eden’s neighborliness, and look forward to the shared experience. Offerings for St. Philip’s that Sunday may be placed in our offering envelopes and put in the offering plates during worship or may simply be held for the following Sunday. Our church council has decided that any loose offering that Sunday should be retained by Eden Church for their congregation’s ministries.
The Neighbors in Need offering at St. Philip’s is ordinarily received on World Communion Sunday. This year, the offering envelopes for NIN will be placed in the bulletins on the following Sunday, October 8, 2017. This UCC offering has traditionally gone for domestic relief efforts, Native American ministries, and justice advocacy. The ministries supported by this year’s offering include these ministries and give particular support to environmental conservation, direct service grants, and bringing national church staff as consultants and speakers to regional church settings.
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible; and suddenly your are doing the impossible.
St Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226
In recent years, many Protestant churches have been holding celebrations of the Festival of Saint Francis, on or near the date when it is celebrated in the Roman Catholic calendar. Francis died on October 3, 1226. At St. Philip’s, we will celebrate the extraordinary influence of this medieval friar on Sunday, October 8, 2017, with the traditional blessing of the animals service, which recognizes Francis’ conviction that God is present in all creation. Martin Luther too seems to have shared this feeling. He is quoted as saying, “All creatures are merely veils under which God hides himself.” Worship that Sunday will be outdoors in the rear churchyard. All church members and community neighbors are invited to come and bring their animal friends for blessing. Please feel welcome to invite others to join you for church on this fun occasion.
The ONA planning committee will be showing a brief video during worship on October 15, 2017, as a continuation of our congregational conversation about being a welcoming fellowship. The video comes from Pilgrim UCC in Carlsbad, California, and features the personal story of a young woman who expresses appreciation for the ministry of hospitality in that congregation. At the end of worship, there will be an opportunity for those who wish to comment or ask questions about the video to do so. This is also the Sunday when our choir begins singing again. If you’ve been thinking about joining the choir, we encourage you to speak with music director Mike Orzel, who will be pleased to hear from you.
Please pray for the success of our fall LOGOS program which starts on Wednesday, October 18, 2017. Sign up sheets for LOGOS are available on a table in the gathering area of the church. Adults as well as children are welcome to sign up for this mid-week event, which includes relationship building across generations through recreation, religious education, worship activities and a common family meal. It’s a great opportunity for sharing by parents and children, grandparents and children, and empty-nest adults who want to invite a neighbor child or a niece or nephew to experience the Christian fellowship. Even if you have no child to bring, you might consider LOGOS as a place to give some volunteer time as a group leader, cook, cleanup person, table parent, etc. The personal rewards for participation are abundant.
Our fall congregational meeting this year is immediately following worship on Sunday, October 22, 2017. On this day, we will have the opportunity to see and review the budget for the coming year and hear about our plans for the immediate future. This day also marks the beginning of our stewardship campaign, as the opportunity to commit ourselves to the support of the coming year’s program and ministry and the reasons for doing so are set before the congregation.
Finally, Sunday, October 29, 2017, is the day set aside by the churches to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation — or, more precisely, the anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg, Germany, in an effort to eliminate the practice in the church of selling indulgences. Luther believed that this practice, which had become corrupted in his time, subverted the clear teaching of the Scriptures that the church’s message of salvation comes solely by grace through the faith of Jesus Christ. In the many years that have passed since the time of Luther, there have been countless reasons to realize that the Church of Jesus Christ in all its branches is in need of continual reforming, forgiving and reconciling as we seek to move forward in the Spirit of justice and compassion.
What a month! I look forward to the work and fellowship we will experience together.
Allen M. Fluent
All Saints Day Service
November 5, 2017
The first Sunday in November is celebrated in our congregation as All Saints Day. On that Sunday, we will remember any member or friend of our congregation who departed this life over the last church year. A list of those who have died will be read as part of the remembrance. Please advise us if you know of someone whose name should be included who may be unknown to us. Also, if anyone has a parent or other close family member you would like to have named on this Sunday, please let us know.
Daylight Saving Time ends
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Please remember to set your clocks!!!