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This Week at Holy Trinity

This Week at Holy Trinity
Francesco Hayez, The Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (1867). Source: Wikimedia Commons


25th Sunday after Pentecost – November 15, 2015
Mass at 11:00 a.m. Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 ; Psalm 16;Hebrews 10:11-14; Mark 13:1-8. Pastor George Detweiler preaches and presides.

Today’s gospel and first lesson are both of a type of literature called “apocalyptic.” Written in times of persecution, it casts the situation of the faithful in stark “them & us” terms:

  • we are the children of light – but the world is filled with the children of darkness;
  • we are right – they are wrong;
  • we are following Jesus – they are not;
  • Jesus will come to save us – he will destroy those who do not believe in him (or do as we do).

Every year, at the end of one church year and for the first Sunday of the new one, we have scripture readings from the apocalyptic writings: Daniel, Revelation, and the one apocalyptic chapter in each of the gospels of Matthew, Mark or Luke. This is to prepare us for the return of the Lord Jesus, to at least annually remind us that the Church is waiting for the coming Kingdom of God; that the life we live now is not what God had in mind for us from the beginning.

Apocalyptic writing is always intended for insiders, to comfort them with the knowledge that they have the inside track to God; that God, at least, is on their side. Mark adds a twist, though – a warning to the insiders that even they need to “Beware,” to pay attention to what is happening around them so they are ready for and open to the Lord’s return.

Daniel 12 mentions the story of Michael, (a story that is more completely told in Revelation 12, on which is based tonight’s Bach Vespers’ cantata). Psalm 16 expresses confidence in the Lord’s protection for the faithful, even in difficult times. The Hebrews reading reassures us that Christ has opened God’s kingdom to us, so we can approach the Day of the Lord with confidence and hope.

Bach Vespers at 5:00 PM on Sunday features a cantata for 22 voices and instruments (including 4 trumpets!) by J. S. Bach’s 2nd cousin, Johann Christoph Bach, entitled Es erub sich ein Streit. Also featured is a motet by the first Cantor of the Lutheran Church, Johann Walther, based upon Luther’s hymn “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word.”


Music for Sunday
Prelude: “Moderato” from Symphonie Gothique No. 9, Charles-Marie Widor
Offertory: O Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, Herbert Howells
Communion: Who Is At My Window, Who?, Welford Russell
Postlude: “Allegro” from Symphonie Gothique No. 9, Charles-Marie Widor

#757 All My Hope on God is Founded
#626 By Gracious Powers
#700 Bring Peace to Earth Again
#327 Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow


November Council Notes
The Council had a full agenda at its November meeting. In addition to preparing for the Annual Congregational Meeting on December 6, there were several items related to the process of calling the next pastor.

  • The Minutes from the previous month were approved.
  • We reflected on and discussed Mark 12:38-44.
  • The Interim Pastor reported that an intergenerational Advent Workshop is being planned for Sunday, November 29. Also on that day children’s Bibles will be distributed to children who are at least 3. (We will do this again at the beginning of Lent.) He will be hosting discussions around the theme of “Advent – a season of hope” on the first three Wednesday evenings of December.
  • All four families who were invited to the workshop on bringing young children to worship attended it. There is real interest on the part of parents. While we do not have a critical mass of families to offer something for children every week, it is important to do what we can with periodic events.
  • The Parish Life group will meet next Monday to look at the Sunday morning experience and how we can make volunteering on Sunday mornings a more regular expression of how members care for Holy Trinity.
  • Pr Detweiler hosted an initial meeting for prospective members. They will be invited to the “Advent: A Season of Hope” sessions as well.
  • The treasurer reported on the growing deficit. Hopefully most of it will be retired by December’s giving.
  • The Council will recommend that every-five-year review of the congregational constitution be postponed until 2016, under a new pastor.
  • After extended discussion, the proposed budget for 2016 was approved for submission to the congregation at the Annual Meeting. Only the addition of a line for the expenses related to calling a new pastor led to a projected deficit.
  • The slate of Council nominees was approved.
  • The Council looked over the packet of reports for the Annual Meeting.
  • The Council reviewed the Ministry Site Profile and Pastor’s job description, which will be submitted to the Metropolitan New York Synod. Several small changes were made, whereupon it was approved as corrected.
  • The Call Committee was appointed: Steve Aurand, chair, Tommy Bricco, Susan Hannah, Patty McGreevey, Jon Stewart, and Kim Suttell.

All of you are invited to ask a council member about this meeting as they are representing you. I witnessed true deliberation among this group and open conversation. I look forward to more voices joining in at the annual congregation meeting on December 6.

Pr. George Detweiler

Advent: A Season of Hope
Advent begins Sunday, November 29. While our culture rushes toward Christmas, we in the church take time to reflect on the hope that we have in Christ and its source. The traditional Advent prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,” is about much more than the celebration of Christmas.

On Wednesday evenings December 2, 9 and 16, following the 6:15 pm Mass (7 pm),  Pastor Detweiler will lead a discussion about the sources of our hope in these times in which we live. We will have a chance to ask questions, to reflect on the traditional scriptures associated with Advent and to pray. All are invited invited to join these gatherings on the 2nd floor of the Parish House.

Intergenerational Advent Workshop, November 29
Following worship on Sunday, November 29, everyone is invited to participate in an intergenerational Advent workshop. Lunch will be provided. There will be an opportunity for everyone to make an Advent wreath, and there will be additional activities for children. Bishop Rimbo will be with us to talk about Advent traditions and to bless the completed Advent wreaths. Advent devotional books for all ages will be available, as well.

We want to make certain we have enough food and craft supplies, so please let us know if you are attending. You can do that by email (office@holytrinitynyc.org) or on the sign up sheet on the table at the back of the sanctuary. This is a great way to begin this special season of hope!

November 15 & 22: A two part series on “Between The Testaments,” exploring what happened during that 400 year period, why it is important, and what we can learn. Led by Pastor David G Burke, PhD.

The books of the Apocrypha are among the most important sources for the history, culture, and theological developments during the period between the prophet Ezra (c. 400 BCE) and the time of the New Testament writings (mid to late 1st century CE). This collection of scriptures that were never approved by the rabbis for inclusion in the Hebrew Bible were, however, translated quickly into Greek and became part of the ancient Greek Septuagint Bible used by the early church. The fact that they were fully part of the early Christians’ Bible is a major reason for valuing and studying the 15 books that comprise this corpus. Another important reason is to be able to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of this obscure time “between the Testaments.” The 16th century reformers (notably Luther) raised questions about these books because no Hebrew originals could be found for them (not realizing that once the rabbinic decisions had been made not to include them in the Hebrew Bible, copies in Hebrew were no longer made). Luther saw them as secondary, but said they are well worthy of study because there is much to learn of God in them and they can deepen faith. Discussion during these 2 Afterwords will center on identifying the books of the Apocrypha and digging into several of the key books.

The Annual HUG Thanksgiving Dinner will be held on Saturday, November 21. Please bring your pies for this special meal to the office during the week or on Saturday morning during HUG to help our HUGgers celebrate this special time.

November 22 is Stewardship Sunday. We will pray together over our blessings, the robust tradition of music we enjoy, and our enchanting nave behind the red doors on Central Park West. As the Mass concludes, members will be invited to complete and return a 2016 “Estimate of Giving” pledge card. Please prayerfully consider your pledge to Holy Trinity. As the Call Committee is formed and we continue the process to call our next pastor, let your voice and support resound!

The Annual Congregation Meeting and Potluck Luncheon will be held on Sunday, December 6 following mass. You will be asked to vote on the budget for 2016 and new Council members.

+ Rest in peace, LeAnna +
We learned this week that LeAnna Knight died on September 5. There was no service. She was cremated and her remains sent to her family in Iowa. Although Pastor Detweiler had asked her court-appointed guardian to notify us if she was hospitalized or died, the guardian was under no obligation to do so.

Making of Christmas Wreaths
Please join in to make the wreaths that decorate the church and the outside fence and front doors during the Christmas season. We will get together on Friday, December 11 beginning at 5:00 PM. Bring some food to share!

Scripture Readings–Week after 25th Sunday after Pentecost
Monday: Daniel 12:2. What does the reference to resurrection mean here?
Tuesday: Daniel 12:3. How can we shine like the brightness of the sky?
Wednesday: Psalm 16. On what is our confidence to rest?
Thursday: Hebrews 10:11-12. What Old Testament image is being used here?
Friday: Hebrews 10:13. For what is Christ waiting?
Saturday: Hebrews 10:19-22. Why can we approach God with confidence?
Sunday: Mark 13:1-8. What contemporary events does this passage bring to mind?