Saint Nicholas Delaware

Saint Nicholas Episcopal Church, Newark, Delaware

From the Pastor’s Pen

The Pastor at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church publishes a newsletter — The Anchor — weekly. Here is the latest:

For the Week of September 22 – September 28
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

I am sure that you all will join me in thanking our ad hoc team that has worked on the design and implementation of a security system for Saint Nicholas’ Church. Now our outdoor lighting is being improved, new locks have been installed on the front doors, and closed circuit TV monitoring has been installed. My thanks also to the Vestry for exercising leadership by setting this work in motion, and to all who have contributed to the cost of the project.

On Saturday the 28th of this month, the Vestry will be meeting for a morning workshop. The focus of the workshop will be on the life and work, the mission and ministry of this parish over the next several years, and how all this will be sustained. Again, my thanks to the Vestry for its willingness to do the work of leadership.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of September 15 – September 21
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

The Ministry of hospitality is a core ministry of the Church. It is an act of caring, nurturing and inviting; an act of concern for the wellbeing of stranger and friend alike. This Sunday we will acknowledge and commend the hospitality ministry of the Seamen’s Center at the Port of Wilmington.

People from many nations, serving on the merchant vessels that bring the goods of the world to our country through the Port of Wilmington, are blessed by the hospitality offered to them through the ministry of the Seamen’s Center. An ear for listening to their stories, transportation to shops, gifts of warm clothing, items of personal hygiene, and holiday remembrances are made available to these seafarers by the Seamen’s Center.

The Vestry joins me in commending the Seamen’s Center for your prayers and support. The insert in the service booklet contains information for providing Christmas gifts for those who find themselves far from home and family during the Christmas celebration.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of September 8 – September 14
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

Hurricane Dorian, like an irritating guest, just will not leave. As I write this on Wednesday afternoon, Dorian has blasted the Virgin Islands and devastated the Bahamas. It is now determining just how it plans to visit the East Coast of the United States. Who knows the final cost in lives and property Dorian will deliver before blowing itself out.

Episcopal Relief and Development has put out a call for financial resources to assist those who are, or will be, casualties of Dorian’s force and fury. If you would like to make a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development, you can do so by making a check payable to Saint Nicholas’ Episcopal Church and in the memo write ERD/Dorian. We will send the total of our Saint Nicholas’ collection to Episcopal Relief and Development following Sunday the 15th of September.

That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation, we beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. (BCP The Great Litany)

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of September 1 – September 7
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

What does a member of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and two members of Saint Nicholas’ Episcopal Church have in common? They are the pioneer team from the Episcopal Church in Delaware volunteering to share in the asylum ministry of Team Brownsville at the United States/Mexican border in Brownsville, Texas. This inter-parish ministry has been titled Brownsville Love.

Team Brownsville is a volunteer organization formed by the faith community and others in Brownsville. Its mission is to minister to families and individuals “Legally seeking asylum in the United States.” As its web page states, these volunteers “Prepare, deliver, and serve delicious meals, prepared with love to families waiting for the chance to legally cross the border and seek asylum.”

These parishioners, with the blessing of our Bishop, will take part in Team Brownsville’s mission beginning October 17; and upon their return, they will share what they witnessed and experienced with our two Newark Parishes as well as with other interested parishes of the Episcopal Church in Delaware.

Our connection with Team Brownsville is through the Episcopal Church of the Advent, one of its founding members. Of the many who legally make a claim for asylum, only a few will actually receive it. However, all are fellow human beings and worthy of “the cup of human kindness.” Team Brownsville exists to provide that kindness with love, reaching out to others who share in the image of God.

These parishioners are the first of what might be many more from Delaware, including UD students, who journey to Brownsville and reach out to others at the Brownsville/Matamoros International Bridge. Thus, whether they secure asylum or not, these folks will know that they have been loved and respected.

If you would like to contribute to the ministry of these parishioners and Team Brownsville, please do the following: make your check payable to Saint Nicholas’ Episcopal Church and in the memo write Border Mission /Brownsville Love. You may place your check in the offering basket on a Sunday or mail it to: Saint Nicholas’ Episcopal Church, 10 Old Newark Road, Newark, DE 19713.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

 

For the Week of August 18 – August 24
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

In 1619, nineteen persons disembarked from an English privateer at Jamestown in the colony of Virginia. They were the first of what would be hundreds of thousands of enslaved persons from the continent of Africa who would spend their lives as chattel and beasts of burden, the property of European colonizers and their descendants.

Some 170 years later, the Constitution of the United States was produced by our Founders and it enabled the continuation of enslaving human beings. The trauma of slavery is seeded in the story of America and its fruits still feed bigotry and nourish division.

Yet, when we listen to those “Better angels” as they speak to our souls and the soul of our nation, we know that such fruit is unhealthy for us and for this country. The creation story is the story of humanities creation in the image of the creator, not qualified by skin color or gender. The cross and resurrection, as Paul would clearly see, mark God’s victory on behalf of all humanity.

One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Liberty and justice, two sides of the same coin. There is no justice without liberty and there is no liberty without justice.

Pray God that we hear and listen to those “Better Angels.”

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

 

For the Week of August 11 – August 17
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

This week I remembered to buy school supplies to add to the collection for the Fill the Bus campaign. In just a few weeks, they will be in the possession of a local child entering school for another year of “Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.” While summer will not be officially over, it will be more behind than with us.

During the months ahead, as we worship and work in the fellowship of this faith community, let’s be mindful that we must not take for granted that this community is ordained to go on into the future. It can, it may; but not because we wish it so, or because we close our eyes and cross our fingers. If the story of Saint Nicholas’ is a story about living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus through the way we live together, the way we welcome newcomers, and by the way we reveal God’s love and kingdom to friend and stranger alike; then it is a story each of us needs to be responsible for telling. What was planted 55 years ago, and nurtured through those years, will not continue to be fruitful if the day comes when there are no gardeners left able to tend and care for it.

So, let’s make the months ahead a season of exploring and enabling the future of this community of Jesus’ people. This will not be a one and done exercise. This will be the work and ministry of each of us. I spread this before you, not to sow despair, but because I for one do not believe the Spirit of the living God is ready to give up on Saint Nicholas’, nor that the Spirit intends for us to give up. We have this treasure, let’s rejoice in it and keep it available and alive for generations to come.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

 

For the Week of August 4 – August 10
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

Three weeks ago, I received a copy of a letter written by the six Bishops of the Episcopal Dioceses in Texas. It was about what they were witnessing as a human catastrophe at the border with Mexico. Like many of you, I have been following the border story for some time through the reporting in the national media. But, with the Bishop’s letter, I was being informed by my fellow Christians and Episcopalians.

So, I decided to pursue the story. I contacted the Diocese of West Texas and was directed to the Church of the Advent in Brownsville, Texas. The parish is located at the border, where as the saying goes, The Rubber hits the Road.

I received an immediate response from Ms. Andrea Rudnik of the Church of the Advent who is engaged with an inter-faith group of volunteers who minister with asylum seekers on both sides of the border. In response to my question about how parishes outside the area might become helpfully involved she wrote:

The areas where churches can get involved are through raising funds for the ongoing work and by sending ministry teams. We are currently supplying daily meals, hygiene supplies, portable toilets and water, critical elements that are completely missing in the plaza area where these people wait. There is no shelter for most people, no toilets or running water, no place to bath or cook, basically nothing.

Since I had now involved myself, I decided to share this involvement with others. Amongst those with whom I shared the Church of the Advent story, one parishioner picked right up on it. I have also made initial approaches with the Episcopal parishes in New Castle County and have met with Fr. Sasser of Saint Thomas’. Also, I have a meeting scheduled with Bishop Brown later this month.

This ministry will be included in the Rector’s time at our next Vestry meeting. One of our church members is preparing to be our pioneer volunteer from St. Nicholas’. Fr. Sasser has garnered interest at St. Thomas’, and we will bring together interested and concerned members of both parishes.

Indeed, if you are interested in joining her and me in conversation with St. Thomas’, please let me know, either in person or at laneiii@hotmail.com.

For me, this involvement is not political, it is simply about hearing Jesus: I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Matt. 25

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

 

For the Week of July 21 – July 27
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

Each evening last week, a group of children and adults gathered in community as Saint Nicholas’ Vacation Bible School. I was privileged to experience some of the fellowship and excitement of this intergenerational event. It was indeed special, and to make it so took a lot of dedication and hard work by our team of adult leaders.

With prayer, music, art, storytelling, breaking bread together, and play, the members of the Vacation Bible School explored and lived into the theme of the great commandment, Love God/Love Neighbor. What and who is neighbor was the underlying question that stimulated each evening’s program. The answer to that, based on the Biblical narrative in the Gospels and from Saint Paul, is that our neighbor is every woman, every man, every child, for each is created in the image of God.

You might remember that beautiful photo of our earth taken from space during one of the Apollo missions. There floating in space is my home, your home, the home of every human being. Indeed, there floating in space is our neighborhood, the neighborhood God created for us all. To be a resident in this neighborhood is not conditioned on race, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or nationality, just simply on being human.

My thanks to the community of Saint Nicholas’ Vacation Bible School for encouraging me to be mindful of my neighbor.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of July 7 – July 13
Sunday, July 7, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

If I gave you two chances to answer this question- What is the importance of the number 189? – what would be your response? Well, you would probably be wrong both times. So here is the answer and it involves our dear friends Maria and Joseph Tucker. The number 189 is the total of the years of their marriage, 64; the years of Joseph’s priesthood, 35; and the years of Joseph’s life, 90.

Fr. Joseph and Maria have been part of the Saint Nicholas’ family for many years, so you are invited to join them in the celebration of their life and ministry on Tuesday the 16th of July at 11AM. If you plan to do so, please let the Parish Office know by telephone or e-mail no later than July 12.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of June 30 – July 6
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

A number of years ago I spent part of an afternoon at the home for women, Notre Dame, in Port au Prince, Haiti. The home, and the care offered in it, was the work of the Sisters of Saint Margaret, an Episcopal order of nuns. I believe that there may have been as many as a dozen women living in this home located in one of the poorer sections of a city largely made up of poor sections.

The concrete block facility consisted of small rooms, the personal spaces for the women, and a modest community room that served as kitchen and dining area. A concrete pad provided outdoor activity space for the residence. A high wall and metal gate provided security. There was nothing physically attractive about Notre Dame, but spiritually it was alive and welcoming.

For the women living there, mostly folks whose families were too poor to care for them, or who were widowed and alone, it was a clean and caring haven. It was a place of love for those who had felt unloved. Indeed, it was a home and in the midst of much chaos, a place of peace.

The sisters of Saint Margaret were exercising the centuries old ministry of the Jesus Movement, the ministry of hospitality. For them, the residents of Notre Dame were not objects, were not be pitied; they were the wonderful gift of God, a gift that filled the hearts of the Sisters with joy and amazement.

I have not forgotten that little sign of the Kingdom of God present in the midst of some of the worst the kingdoms of this world can offer. It is so often that the grace and love of God is in our midst, not in great and mighty deeds, but in small and humble manifestations. Indeed God often meets us in the little things of life, so we must pay attention or we will miss that encounter.

Perhaps Paul had this in mind when he wrote: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of June 23 – June 29
Sunday, June 23, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

I hope that you have the time and opportunity during the summer to relax from the routine of your lives. That is, in some fashion, find time for rest and refreshment, whether that be an adventure in some new place or at home sitting in the shade of the “old apple tree.”

Sunday morning will go on as usual here at Saint Nicholas’. The one routine that I do not recommend taking a holiday from is gathering with your brothers and sisters in Christ in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup. When you are not here, you are missed. Each of you contribute to the whole that is Saint Nicholas’ Episcopal Church.

My prayers and best wishes for all. For those on the road, safe travels; and for those taking their “time off” at home, relax and enjoy.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of June 16 – June 22
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

I am happy to report that our Vacation Bible School team is hard at work preparing for this summer’s session. The dates for this summer are Monday the 8th of July through Friday the 12th. The VBS program will be held in the evening and the team will soon be publishing times and themes. Saint Nicholas’ offers VBS for both the children of our parish and the children of the community.

If you have children in your family or know children in your neighborhood, let them know about Saint Nicholas’ VBS and invite them to participate. This summer program can and should be yet another way of making our parish known in the community. It is, more importantly, a means for sharing the good news of Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of June 9 – June 15
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

As I write this, the commemorations of D Day are going on. Seventy-five years ago, the war on the Western Front of Europe began with a terrible cost in life and limb. There are still those alive who went through that maelstrom on the 6th of June in 1944, but their numbers dwindle. Those of you who have experienced the confusion and terror of battle can identify with their memories; the rest of us can only imagine.

So, we pause to commemorate the deeds of those who left the landing boats on June he 6th in 1944. And this year we do so as we approach the Day of Pentecost. The celebration of the empowering of the Church to be the voice and presence of the holy sanity of the Kingdom of God. In the face of all that is contrary, even as it was those Seventy-five years ago, we affirm with the Psalmist:

You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; *
And so you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the LORD endure for ever; *
May the LORD rejoice in all his works.
He looks at the earth and it trembles;*
He touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;*
I will praise my God while I have my being.
May these words of mine please him;*
I will rejoice in the LORD.
Bless the LORD, O my soul*
Hallelujah!

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of May 19 – May 25
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

We continue in our days of celebration- the celebration of Easter, the empty tomb, the risen Jesus. Each Sunday morning we enter the nave to begin the resurrection celebration. We pass the Font containing the waters of Baptism. Before us is the Altar, the table from which we will receive the bread of heaven and the cup of salvation. We bring with us our joys and our sorrows, our strengths and our weaknesses, our hopes and our fears, our expectations and our doubts.

We are the community of the baptized, the Easter people, who gather as the Saint Nicholas’ fellowship and offer ourselves as a living sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for the grace and love of our God who is not far off; our God who is in our midst and who knows us by name. We are the beloved community, and for a moment at least, the time and place in which we gather is holy time and holy space. It is the time and space filled by the Spirit of God and by the people who have been anointed by that Spirit to be in the world but not of the world.

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21)

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of May 12 – May 18
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

This Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Easter, is the day set aside as Mother’s Day. This day provides us an opportunity to honor and celebrate the love we have received from those who have nurtured and sustained us, even in the down times of our lives. We don’t earn this kind of love, it I freely given. It is gracious and it is healing. And, it is empowering.

So, we give thanks for those who are and who have been our mothers. We give thanks for the love we know and have known through their words, their smile, their embrace. May the Lord bless them and keep them.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of April 28 – May 4
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

I begin with that which has become all too familiar, another murderous terror attack on children, women and men as they gather for worship, in this case the celebration of Easter. Sri Lanka was not on my mind as I was getting ready to travel to Newark to celebrate Easter with all of you. But when I turned on the radio as I was pulling out of my parking space at Maris Grove, the jarring and awful news of the church bombings in that nation confronted me. Once again, intentional acts of cruelty defiled holy spaces where people were in communion with one another and with their God.

So it goes, synagogue, mosque and church become killing grounds for those who would sow the weeds of fear, doubt and despair to strangle the flowering plants of joy, confidence and hope. The attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka, gathered to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, have now taken nearly 300 lives. Of course, we denounce this evil and condemn those who serve it. Of course, we mourn for those who died, and those who have been maimed, and those who lost loved ones and friends. And, we are reminded that the inspiration of those who are servants of evil is energized by hatred.

Hopefully, we are also mindful that the response to this evil is justice, not revenge. Justice at times may seem to move slowly while revenge can be swift and momentarily satisfying. But, revenge begets revenge while justice provides an opening for cleansing and renewal.

In these days of Easter, these days of resurrection and new life, we keep our eyes on the prize of the risen Jesus who tells us, as he told Peter, to feed and tend his sheep. The best response that we can give to evil is the response of Jesus, giving witness to faith, hope and love.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of April 21 – April 27
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

I am writing this piece on Holy Thursday morning. Before the day is over, we will have commemorated Jesus’ last gathering with his disciples before his arrest and execution. The Holy Thursday liturgy focuses on Jesus commandment that we love one another. He demonstrated this love through the washing of his disciples’ feet, and by sharing one last meal with them and identifying that meal with his self -offering.

In the day following, we will gather at the cross of Jesus as we rehearse his passion, and in humility acknowledge our need for the grace that flows from that passion. And then we will wait, wait until the gates of death are open, and in joy and wonder we greet the risen Lord.

The celebration of the Resurrection at Saint Nicholas’ will begin on the evening of Holy Saturday with the Great Vigil of Easter celebrated here jointly with Saint Thomas’. Then, the next morning, the Sunday of the Resurrection, we will continue the celebration as we gather to give God glory through song and prayer and to receive the holy food in the Eucharist.

The Good Friday Liturgy begins at 12PM.
The Great Vigil of Easter begins at 7 PM.
The Sunday Easter Liturgy begins at 10AM.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of April 7 – April 13
Sunday, April 7, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

It is now April and Easter is just three weeks away. Once again, as with last year, we will open our Easter celebration with the Great Vigil of Easter beginning at 7 PM on Saturday the 20th. This will be the second joint Vigil held with Saint Thomas’. The first, last year, was held at Saint Thomas’.

The Great Vigil of Easter has deep roots in the liturgical life of the Church. In many places in the early life of the Church, it was the occasion for those entering their life in Christ to be baptized and then join in the full worshiping life of the Christian community. For those of us who have not participated in it, the Vigil will be a new liturgical experience. The lighting of the new fire, the smell of incense, the ringing of bells all point us to the joyful revelation of the empty tomb and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus which we affirm in the first Eucharist of Easter.

The second Easter celebration will take place on Sunday morning the 21st of April at 10 AM. For sure, children are encouraged to join in this celebration, the more the better.

Easter is the Queen of the Christian liturgical season. I look forward to seeing and being with you for at least one of these Easter celebrations.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of March 24 – March 30
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

People of faith around the world are in solidarity with the Muslim community of Christ Church, New Zealand in this time of horror and grief brought about by the terror attack on their mosques. At least fifty people were murdered as they gathered in prayer and worship. The white supremacist who took their lives targeted them because they were Muslim immigrants.

We have once again experienced the slaughter of men, women and children congregating in places of worship. A church in Charleston, South Carolina, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand are no longer places of sanctuary, rather targets for hate. The people who left their homes in Christchurch, never to return, set out to do what so many of us do on Fridays through Sundays, they set out to be in fellowship with others as they worshipped the Lord their God.

Our prayers are indeed offered for those murdered in Christchurch as well as their families and community. We grieve for them, and we grieve that once again hate and bigotry have been served by an awful act of terror. We are mindful of the words of the poet: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” It tolls for this denial of our common humanity.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of March 10 – March 16
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

The Gospel reading for this Sunday, the First Sunday in Lent, is Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus: After his baptism, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. We reflected on Jesus’ Baptism on the First Sunday after the Epiphany. Now, on the First Sunday in Lent, we will reflect on his struggle to grasp the meaning of this anointing.

The rest of Luke’s Gospel is the narrative of Jesus incarnating his understanding that God’s anointing meant that he was to announce and give witness to the kingdom of God. In this Lenten season, we will follow that narrative to the Cross, and beyond, to the empty tomb. We will discover the cost to Jesus of being the anointed one, and the promise for us because he is.

Prayers for a holy Lent for each of us.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of March 3 – March 9
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

As we are approaching the forty day season of Lent, it is not inappropriate that we take a deep spiritual breath before stepping off on the journey through that season to the Cross and beyond. Taking a deep breath is a way of collecting oneself before engaging in an undertaking or task. Taking a deep spiritual breath is a way of clearing ones heart and mind in order to better experience the “still small voice” of God’s admonition to listen to his son.

We will read the transfiguration story in this Sunday’s Gospel account from Luke. At the conclusion of this reading, the heavenly words directed to us at Jesus’ baptism will be repeated: Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him. We are informed as we enter Lent that we will be in for a time of listening. A reminder, listening is not a casual act, it is intentional and can be challenging. It might even be life changing. While the voice of God may come as a breeze, its effect can be as the winds of a storm.

So, find time to be quiet and listen, if only for a few moments. At the least, it might prove restful, but, at the most it might open you to a vision of God, and to God’s vision for you.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of February 24 – March 2
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

What a joy this past Sunday to have seven pre-teen children with us. And, what a pleasure it is that they felt at home and enjoyed their Saint Nicholas’ experience.

I have been blessed during the many days of my life to meet and share good news with children in all sorts of situations. Often these have been children who, for all intents and purposes, live under stressful and oppressive conditions. From Port-au-Prince in Haiti to Pretoria in South Africa, from East Wilmington, Delaware to occupied Palestine, children, who are often living on the edge of disaster, reveal an inner reservoir of hope and trust. When I listen to the better angels of my nature, I know that I am meant to be an assurance that their trust and hope is not in vain. I am meant to be their voice and presence, interfacing with the powers and principalities that mock their dignity and deny their worth.

During the upcoming season of Lent, I encourage you to join me in praying and advocating for the children of the world. Especially, during this holy season, for the children of the Holy Land who live under the daily stress and humiliation of military occupation. Pray for the children of Hebron in occupied Palestine who daily pull on their back packs and walk the gauntlet of the check point police on their way to and from school. Pray and advocate for the twelve year old boy who is awakened in the middle of the night by the military police who have entered his bedroom to take him from his parents because he has been accused of throwing stones. And, as you pray, may you know the peace of the Lord down in your heart.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of February 17 – February 23
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house. Deuteronomy

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans

We read from both Deuteronomy and Romans this past Sunday, the 10th of February. I have quoted from the closing lines of the appointed readings because I find them to be compelling. In spite of so much in humankind’s religious story that proves divisive, so much that seems to promote exclusion rather than inclusion, these lines speak to a different possibility, the possibility that God’s love reaches beyond race and creed, beyond ethnic and national identification.

The Deuteronomist instructs the Hebrews about their obligation once they enter the Promised Land. They shall return to God a thank offering and then they shall celebrate. And, that celebration is to be inclusive, all are to be invited, including the people who already inhabited the land.

Paul in his letter to the Romans proposes that God calls, invites, all to know life through his reconciling love made known in Jesus. There is no distinction he says between Jew and Greek (non-Jew). The Lord is ready and desirous to hear all who reach out in faith to be blessed by the saving love of God; a love incarnated in Jesus.

Sisters and brothers, this is good news. It resonates with that verse from John 3:16, so often promoted on bumper stickers: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of February 10 – February 16
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

In my past message, I wrote about the use of money, of financial resources, and how Jesus and Holy Scripture pay a great deal of attention to this use. Now, a few thoughts about the connection between our financial resources and the Church.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, there are countless admonitions to present the obligatory tithe to the religious authorities. One might make offerings as well, but the tithe was mandatory. Jesus will call for offering from abundance, for being just and fair with one’s financial resources. We might remember the widow’s offering:

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12

As was said last week, there are many demands upon us as we consider the use of our resources. Some are mandatory, such as local, state and federal taxes. In the case of our tax dollars, a portion goes to agencies and activities that care for the needs and wellbeing of those in need. Other uses are voluntary, charity offerings. These support causes and programs at the local, national, and international levels; causes and programs that assist others in times of natural disasters, or help underwrite medical research in the quest to overcome the many diseases that threaten human life.

And there is the Church and its relationship to our financial resources. We commit financially to the life and work of the Church because we believe that its witness to the Kingdom of God calls for our participation. We do this, not because we are buying God off, but because it is what we do as people who have acknowledged Jesus as the Lord of our lives. We do this because we believe that the Gospel is of great value, too valuable for us not to walk its talk. We do this because our resources, joined with those of others, enables ministries of health care, education, and peace of justice, at home and around the world.

I encourage you to consider the use of your resources after your death. For sure, with whatever these resources are, care for those you love. But, also give prayer and thought to the ongoing mission and ministry of the Church. The Book of Common Prayer contains this admonition:

The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provision for the well-being of their families, and of all persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of February 3 – February 9
Sunday, February 3, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

Have you ever stopped to think what Jesus’ most talked about topic was according to the Biblical narrative? Well, it was about money, wealth and possessions. I have seen one statistic reporting that about 15% of his preaching and teaching was about this topic. Indeed, in the Bible there are over 2300 verses dealing with money, wealth and possessions. Jesus could be direct about accumulating and using wealth, too direct for many of his listeners and often for us.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich.

And in case one gets too big headed about her or his generosity, Luke tells us that Jesus, pushy as ever: Looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.

As individuals and as families, we daily make decisions about how we use the financial resources available to us. This is so no matter how great or how small these resources are. For some of us, there may be times when these decisions are excruciating: food or the rent/mortgage; medicine or the power company; maintenance on the car or the needs of a child or parent. For others, there is a far more leeway in deciding how our resources are distributed.

Even compulsory expenditures allow us to contribute to the common good. We pay our taxes and part of each dollar paid is used in the nurture and care of those in need, at home and abroad. And, we may benefit from this. For instance, if a member of your family has been served by Medicaid, your tax dollars were at work. Or, when the police break up a narcotics ring, your tax dollars are at work.

We also choose how to distribute our resources. The United Way, our favorite school or college, the arts, social service agencies, these and more are destinations for our giving.

What about the Church? What is the connection between our faith, hope and love in Jesus and our financial resources? Tune in Next Week!

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of January 27 – February 2
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

I was delighted by the energy that developed at our Annual Meeting this past Sunday. It confirmed that the life and work of Saint Nicholas’ Episcopal Church continues to be important, meaningful and worthwhile for you. This parish is a good place to call ones’ spiritual home, and a good place in which to become disciples and apostles of the one whose birth we so recently celebrated. In other words, it is a good place in which to put the walk to the talk of our baptisms, as we were reminded when we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus.

By honoring our baptisms, we of Saint Nicholas’ identify ourselves as steadfast members of the Jesus Movement. The life and work of Jesus of Nazareth is our life and work, and the evidence of our faithfulness is revealed by the quality of our commitment to the great commandment: You shall love the Lord our God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10). And, of course, we know who our neighbor is, even the one for whom our default position is rejection (visit Luke 10:25-37).

Having said yes to God through our baptisms, we are incorporated into the Jesus Movement. So then, we are in the line of the prophets who spoke the word of the Lord, and of the apostles who served the Living Word of the Lord incarnated in Jesus. Let’s not allow the energy of this past Sunday dissipate. Let’s realize it in our worship, our service, our evangelism and our fellowship.

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of January 20 – January 26
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

Last Saturday I attended the ordination and consecration of Charles Lane Cowen as a priest in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. The service, which took place at Trinity Church in Wilmington, was a lovely one. As fitting for Trinity Parish, it was conducted in both English and Spanish.

I am always interested in how the preacher at an ordination develops her/his sermon. In this case, the preacher constructed her sermon around the theme of Joy. She contended that joy is center in the life of a person/institution living a life in Christ, and that Charles is one whose life is so lived.

The next morning I was with you during our Sunday gathering for worship and fellowship. The service was held in the context of the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus. And in this context, we celebrated our own baptisms, especially the baptisms of the children and young people in the Life in Christ program.

The snowy messy weather did not put a damper on the joyfulness of the occasion. Being in relationship with Jesus and with one another is indeed a cause for joy. And, baptism establishes us in such relationships. The community of Jesus is a community of joy, and the reality of this joy is expressed through love. Jesus puts it this way in John’s Gospel Account:

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15)

To put this another way, how about the lyrics of a song most of us have sung at some time in our lives:

I have the joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart, (where?)
Down in my heart, (where?)
Down in my heart,
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart, (where?)
Down in my heart to stay.

And I’m so happy, so very happy
I have the love of Jesus in my heart.
(Down in my heart)
And I’m so happy, so very happy
I have the love of Jesus in my heart. (George William Cooke)

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of January 13 – January 19
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

This Sunday, the 1st Sunday after the Epiphany, is the occasion for celebrating the Baptism of Jesus. We will read from Luke’s Gospel account that Jesus was baptized during the period when John was baptizing in the Jordan River. This Sunday is commonly known as the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, and is one of the normative occasions for baptisms.

While we do not have candidates for Baptism at this time, we will focus on it on Sunday. In the course of holding up Baptism, we will give special attention to the children who have been baptized here at Saint Nicholas’. These children are members of our Life in Christ Ministry, a ministry unique to our parish.

The Life in Christ Ministry provides ongoing support for the children and their parents, enabling the children to live into the vows and promises made for them when they were baptized. Each child has an adult member of the parish who has accepted the calling to be the child’s guide as he or she takes on the discipleship that is theirs in Christ.

For all of us who have been baptized, this Sunday provides a reminder for us as well that we have the same discipleship as the children. I remind us of what the Catechism says about this:

The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.

I look forward to being with you on Sunday

Faithfully,
Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

For the Week of January 6 – January 12
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Service begins at 10:00 a.m.

From the Pastor’s Pen:
Dear Friends in Christ,

I am writing this on New Year’s Eve and there are less than seven hours left in 2018. So, by the time you read this, we will be in the new year with the days of 2019 stretching before us. Of course, the beginning of this new year will be informed by the events of the old. The so called slate is not wiped clean at 12 AM on December 31.

However, the story of the old year, while informing, need not dictate that of the new. To that end, I share the closing verse of the Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s New Year’s 1945 Poem:

While all the powers of Good aid and attend us,
Boldly we’ll face the future, be it what may.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely on each new year’s day.

Bonhoeffer wrote this while in prison, just a few months before his execution by the Nazis. As the old year passed away, with all its tragedies and horrors, he was confident that the promise of God was the true reality for creation, not the seductiveness of evil.

So, into 2019 we go, taking with us the things from 2018 that still need doing, and those that need undoing. We go with the assurance that God does not withdraw God’s promise, that God will indeed befriend us. We go holding dear that promise of God spoken by John, the promise that darkness cannot overcome:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Faithfully,

Bill
(The Very Reverend William B. Lane)

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