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January 10, 2009
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Dear Friend,

Welcome to Epiphany (the season, that is).  The twelve days of Christmas ended last Monday, the Christmas decorations came down and the trees went out into the street. Grace's Christmas season was capped off by a visit from our Bishop.  See article below and pictures here.

Your editor has made some improvements to Grace's web site.  If you haven't looked lately, now might be a time. What do you think?  Let us know if you have ideas for further improvement.

A Note on This Sunday's Readings The Epiphany season began with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6.  Epiphany is the first of two "green" seasons of the church year, when our readings focus on growing the church. Epiphany lasts until Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which this year begins on February 25.

This Sunday, the first Sunday after the Epiphany, we celebrate the baptism of our Lord.

Our first reading looks forward to the ministry of the Messiah. The second reading is one of the early Christian proclamations of the meaning of Jesus' ministry from the time of his Baptism through to his dying and rising. The third reading is Mark's description of Jesus' baptism.

Jesus' Baptism was for all the Gospel writers, and in the apostolic preaching of the Gospel, the event which initiated the redemptive ministry of the Messiah. It was in this event that Jesus was revealed as Messiah (Christ). God proclaimed him the beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit.

In Holy Baptism each Christian is adopted as the child of God. Each Christian becomes a "messianic" person, anointed by the Holy Spirit. We do not simply become passive recipients of the benefits of Christ; we are "christed," or christened. We become sharers in his life and his redemptive ministry.

All those who are baptized and anointed with chrism are received "into the household of God." They join with that household in confessing "the faith of Christ," proclaiming his resurrection and sharing in his eternal priesthood, the priesthood which is enacted sacramentally in the Eucharist and daily in lives of self-giving love toward one another and toward the world.
Bishop BreidenthalBishop Breidenthal Visits Grace 

Last Sunday, Bishop Briedenthal visited Grace to confirm two members, to celebrate Eucharist and preach, and to join us in a meal following the service. The pictures on our web album illustrate our time together better than this author can do with words. 

In addition to pictures taken during the servi ce, our photo album contains quite a few pictures of Mr. Breidenthal speaking with us after lunch. The progression of intensity and variety of gestures gives an idea of how engaging his conversation was. Also, note the postures of the Mission Council members during their stand-up meeting with the bishop.

Bishop Breidenthal
Keep in Your Prayers ...

Prayer RequestsEliose Pinto, Ruth Bertram, Joyce Markham; Estel; Mrs. Matthews; Judy Handy, Shelly Martin, Susan Dewbrey, Deb Gamble, Barbara Todd; Kim Martin, Robb Martin; Florence and Bob Poyer;Dean Bryeans, Mary Hall, Chris; Irene Bryeans; Joshua, Caleb, Anne, and Darryl Handy; Marcus Flemister; Kim Herrmann, Al Berghausen; Teri; Mary Lou Bellows; Jackie Lewis.
Coming Events at Grace

Grace Church Calendar

In the coming week:
  • Morning Prayer and Eucharist, Sunday, January 11, 10 am.
  • Community Healing Service with Drumming, Reiki & Traditional Healing and Reconciliation, Wednesday, January 14, 7 pm.
  • Choir Practice, Thursday, January 8, 7 pm.
Coming special events:
  • Annual Meeting, Sunday, February 1 (note change of date).
  • Stir the Pot Series: 
    • The Sword of Constantine, Sunday, January 25, 4:30 pm. A warning about what can happen when military and religious fervor are joined.
    • The Freedom Files, Sunday, February 22. Highlights vital civil liberties issues.
    • An Inconvenient Truth, Sunday, March 15. A film about one man's view of global warming.
    • Do Not Go Gentle, Sunday, April 26. A film about the power of imagination and aging.  The filmmaker will be with us.

Take a look at the newly-reformatted Grace Church Calendar for more complete and uptodate information on meetings and services at at Grace.  Let us know if we've missed anything.
Annual Meeting is February 1

The date for the annual meeting has been changed to February 1, so as not to conflict with our Stir the Pot series. Please make every effort to be here for that important meeting. 

If you are responsible for contributing  reports for the annual meeting, please have them into the office no later than Monday, January 19 so that we will have time to assemble them into a the document that we distribute to all.
Deacon Givler at the AltarThe Diaconate of All Believers

Permanent Deacons are a relatively new feature of the Episcopal Church in the United States.  Most people still think of the Diaconate as a stepping stone to the Priesthood. (Or perhaps, as some have noted, the date of ordination into the pension fund. But permanent or perpetual deacons, unless an otherwise paid role, participate in the pension fund in name only and are not on a path to priesthood or episcopacy). 

Historically, while the priests were converting, educating and inspiring, deacons were serving the poor by distributing the donations of the faithful.

A diaconia, according to Wikipedia, was originally an establishment built near a church building, for the care of the poor and distribution of the church's charity in medieval Rome or Naples. These were the successor to the Roman corn supply system and often stood on the very sites of the former bread distribution stations. Examples included the sites of San Vito, Santi Alessio e Bonifacio, and Sant'Agatha in Rome, San Gennaro in Naples (headed by a deacon named John in the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth century).

Today, the order of deacons is a separate and distinct order which serves directly under the office of bishop, is not entitled to voice or vote, cannot consecrate nor bless and wields no control or power within the church.  The order of deacons doesn't even have exclusive rights to the central feature of its office which is service, the Diaconate of All Believers.  The order of deacons acts as a symbol of the Christian obligation of all believers and reminds all Christians to ask themselves each day what they have done for their Savior and his church.   

If a bishop today were disposed to raise up an order of deacons he or she might create an inspirational job description to be placed in church bulletins and posted in conspicuous places in parishes throughout the diocese.  The job description might sound something like this: 

Deacon Givler in the KitchenWanted: Mature Christians with an appreciation for life as it is, an abundance of gratitude for whatever they have been given, compassion for the disheartened, grieving, hurting, confused, misabled, lonely, uncomfortable, small, angry, frightened, abused, addicted, sick and misguided parts of themselves and others, who have a need for significant rewards but no money, and have the ability to damp themselves down far enough to make room for others. Apply at diocesan house for an exhaustive study of yourself and your potential gifts.

Thanks to a merciful God, the Diaconate of All Believers has a much simpler entry process.  It is always begun through an exercise of the ministry of presence.  Find someone in distress and listen to them.  Do not try to fix or remove their issue.  Just listen. Listening is what we Christians have always distributed along with bread and clothing because it says what God has always said to us... you are not alone no matter what has happened to you.

Gary+, one of many deacons in the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

Thanks to Deacon Givler for contributing this article. The pictures illustrate two of his more visible roles at Grace.
New Cordless Microphone Installed

We have a new cordless microphone for use in the service.

The Prayers of the People are ideally prayed from the congregation.  Now that we have a cordless mike that can be placed mid-way the center aisle, we the person assigned to lead Prayers of the People can use that mike instead of the lecturn mike.
Those people having announcements to make should the mike nearest you so that everyone can hear.
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While we try our best to represent the Grace Church congregation, opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anyone other than the editor (and perhaps not even his!).

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Photos in eGraceNotes are often edited to remove extraneous material.

Ken Lyon, Editor.
Grace Episcopal Church | Phone: 513-541-2415 | 5501 Hamilton Avenue at Belmont Avenue | College Hill (Cincinnati) | OH | 45224