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This Week at Holy Trinity

This Week at Holy Trinity
Maurycy Gottlieb, Christ Preaching at Capernaum Wikimedia Commons


Third Sunday after Epiphany – January 24, 2016
Mass at 11:00 a.m. Readings: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a; Luke 4:14-21. Pastor David G. Burke preaches and presides.

Both the Hebrew scripture reading and Gospel paint scenes of scripture being read by a religious leader.  In Nehemiah, that leader is Ezra, who reads all day and interprets what he is reading to the people. Their response is to answer “Amen. Amen.” and lift up their hands.  Then they bowed their faces to the ground and worshiped the Lord. That day was dedicated as holy to the Lord. Psalm 19 picks up the theme of worshiping the Lord. Here the heavens and earth declare God’s glory.

In the Gospel, Jesus goes to the synagogue in his hometown on the sabbath and, at the time of the reading, takes up the scroll and reads from Isaiah. Every line he read could be applied to his ministry. In fact, Luke uses this story as the announcement of Jesus’ ministry, his mission statement. In Jesus, Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled.

The second lesson is the familiar explanation of Paul of the diversity of gifts and their usefulness. He was writing to a divided congregation, seeking to have them appreciate the work of the Holy Spirit among them. Their abilities are not just their possession, but gifts of God through the Spirit for the purpose of strengthening the body of Christ. How might we better use the diversity of gifts and abilities in this congregation?

Bach Vespers at 5:00 PM on Sunday
Bach Vespers is on winter break and will return at 5:00 PM on Sunday, February 7, 2016.


Music for Sunday
Prelude: Passacaglia in G minor – Georg Muffat
Offertory: O How Amiable – Vaughan William
Postlude: Toccata in F – Georg Muffat

#886  Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
#668  O Zion, Haste
#487  What Feast of Love
#843  Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness


Dear friends in Christ,

With the appointment of a Call Committee, Holy Trinity is now embarking on this next stage of transition in ministry. It can feel like we are walking into the Great Unknown. As one who has been a participant in this process at least six times, and an observer of it even more frequently, I hope I can provide some perspective and reassurance.

In most of the congregations I have served as interim pastor, little produces as much anxiety as the beginning of this process. Some are annoyed that they were not appointed to the Call Committee. (Usually these are people who do not attend regularly and do not know the members of the Committee well.) There is also often objection to the confidentiality of the process – it gets described as “secret.” Both of these reactions betray a lack of trust in the leadership of the congregation, which in turn makes the beginning of a new pastor’s ministry more difficult. I believe that you can trust the leaders of this congregation to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in calling the next pastor.

The congregation’s important role in this process is to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the Call Committee, candidates and the congregation. Especially important is patience. We cannot advertise on Craig’s List for someone from the ELCA clergy roster. Holy Trinity has a very unusual ministry and requires a specific set of skills in its pastors. Someone with the needed skills may be discovered quickly, or, finding the pastor who can connect well with this ministry might take a while.  In addition, not every pastor can live in New York City, (even those who think they want to live here may not actually be comfortable here). Our Call Committee has a challenging task ahead of them!

The confidentiality of the call process is the way it is most like secular hiring: no one tells their current employer that they are looking for a new job. Only the Call Committee – not me, Council members or officers – will know anything about the candidates. In a place like Holy Trinity that has visitors every Sunday from all over the country and world, it would be very easy for word to travel back to a candidate’s current congregation that they are interviewing. For example, one of the Call Committee members is friends with someone from one of my previous ministries. Also, I have had the experience in previous interims where one comment from each of several Call Committee members made it possible for me to figure out who were the candidates. The Lutheran world is so small that confidentiality is required to make it work.

Please keep in mind that our ministries of proclaiming Jesus Christ continue throughout this process, no matter how long it takes. There is no need to be anxious or worried. The Word made flesh is among us and guiding us. May we find his grace and blessing in this process also.

In Christ’s name,
Pastor Detweiler

A hearty thanks to the people of Holy Trinity and all who participated in last Sunday’s Food/Fund/Awareness-Raiser for the Holy Trinity Women’s Shelter.  The post-Mass lunch, sponsored by Thrivent and their Action Team program, was well attended and resulted in donations of food and supplies and more than $1,000.00 for this important program.  Thanks, too, to Kerry LaVelle and William O’Doherty of Thrivent and our Shelter Coordinator Michele De Coteau for their contribution to and participation in this gratifying event.

If you pledged — or would like to make a new or additional — contribution, please send or bring it directly to the Shelter (Wednesday-Friday evenings, into June) or the church office.  As the Thrivent Action Team t-shirts proclaim, “Live Generously.”  The Holy Trinity Women’s Shelter guests and volunteers thank you for doing exactly that!

Parish Life Survey
In an effort to better understand the various factors that impact attendance and participation at worship and other activities at Holy Trinity, the Parish Life working group has created a short online survey, the results of which will be used to help schedule upcoming events in the Lenten and Easter seasons. We ask that you please respond to this survey within the next few days. The survey should take 3-5 minutes to complete, and responses are anonymous. Please click here to complete the survey. Thank you!

Did you know about 13 people volunteer during a normal Sunday service, excluding singers? 13 roles X 52 weeks = 676 volunteer jobs to cover!

Currently we have about 35 people who volunteer regularly, meaning those people will volunteer almost 20 times during the year. Holy Trinity can use your help! Come to one of our two volunteer training sessions:
Sunday, January 24, following mass and coffee hour
Monday, January 25 at 6:30 PM

If you are able to volunteer, or want to learn more, let Pastor Detweiler, Donald or Kim Suttell know in person or by emailing the Office.

Fifth Sunday Potluck Lunch is coming on Sunday, January 31. Please join us and bring your favorite winter warmers to share with six others.

Sunday, February 7 is the festival of the Transfiguration, the last Sunday before Lent. After that Sunday we will not sing or say “Alleluia” until Easter. A traditional activity for that Sunday is to symbolically “bury the Alleluia” at the time of the last hymn. This is a natural for children and parents.

At 10:15 AM we invite parents and children to gather in the Community Room to make Alleluia banners. We will provide materials, instruction and some commentary about observing Lent and anticipating Easter.

Then, during the last hymn of the 11 AM liturgy that morning, children will be invited to come up front (with their parents if they want) and place their banner in a box under the altar. The banners will stay there until Easter, when the children will get to remove them.

Please let Pastor Detweiler (pastor@holytrinitynyc.org) know that you can attend the banner making on February 7 so we are certain to have sufficient materials.  Thanks!

Bread for the Day is a daily-use devotional resource filled with rich treasures:
•    A brief scripture reading (NRSV texts) for each day following the daily lectionary developed by the Consultation on Common Texts and presented in Evangelical Lutheran Worship
•    The devotions begin January 1, 2016
•    A prayer and hymn for each day
•    Brief yet helpful introductions to the seasons
•    Table graces/meal prayers for the holidays and seasons
•    Household blessings for special times throughout the year (for example: Blessing for the New Year, Blessing of the Home at Epiphany, Prayer for Placing Palms in the Home, Blessing of the Easter Meal, Blessings for Mother’s and Father’s Day, Remembering Those Who Have Died, Lighting the Advent Wreath, Blessing of the Christmas Tree)
•    Monthly pages for recording prayer requests
•    Notes on festivals and commemorations
•    Simplified forms for morning and evening prayer
•    Waking prayers and bedtime prayers, including prayers with children

Scripture Readings – Week after Epiphany 3
Monday – Nehemiah 8:1-3 – What was the purpose of this sabbath day gathering around the word?
Tuesday – Nehemiah 8:5-6 – What effect did the reading have on the people? Do we do anything similar?
Wednesday – Nehemiah 8:8-10 – What were the people told to do in response to the reading?
Thursday – Psalm 19:1-10 – How is the word of the Lord depicted here?
Friday – Psalm 19:12-14 – What is to be the response to the Word?
Saturday – 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a – What is your particular gift in this congregation?
Sunday – Luke 4:14-21 – What difference does reading scripture make for you?