Dear People of God,
Tomorrow will be the Feast of the Ascension, the 40th Day of the holy season of Easter. It will recall for us the "going home" of Jesus, who for 33 years had dwelt among us, but who from eternity had been one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The reunion of the holy Trinity is most important for us, because when Jesus returned to heaven, he took our humanity with him. It was not like in the movies, where often we see someone die, and then a wispy smoke-like ghost rises out of the body, leaving a dead corpse in the street, as the spirit ascends and eventually seems to evaporate. In the Biblical tellings of the Ascension, although they may differ in some respects, they agree that when Jesus ascended, his human body went with him. The tomb was empty on Easter Day, and the place where his resurrected body stood in the moment before he ascended was just as empty,... no head of human body lying on the ground as he evaporated into heaven.
I love the idea that He (the eternal and all-holy 2nd Person of the Trinity) took His human Incarnate part of Him... back to heaven with him. When he sits on the throne of glory, it is in a human body. So united were the human and divine sides of his nature, that neither death, nor resurrection, nor even ascension separated God from Man. The Hypostatic Union remained united.
Do you love it when I talk theological? Or does it put you right to sleep. All the technical theological jargon can be off-putting for those who have never studied theology,... especially if you are reading this as a second language.
But do not be put off.... it is Good News,.... Great News! The Union of the Divine and the Human is no temporary thing. He is part of us, and we are part of Him, for ever and ever. Amen!
May the confidence we have in that union strengthen us in moments of weakness. If you ever feel alone, or forgotten, or wonder where the Love of God has gone, know that the throne of God is occupied by One who knows what it is to be human. ...One who knows what it is to be in grief, or pain, or want. A full experiential understanding of what it means to be human is unbreakably linked to the Divine nature of the Godhead.
We will celebrate this wonderful and eternal union on this coming Sunday,
This Coming Sunday.... The Sunday after the Ascension We will quite a Sunday, with a Baptism for Tatum Rose Acton.... along with the presence and harmony of the Stuttgart Community Handbell Choir, and... immediately after the service, a spontaneous Picnic in the Park, (weather permitting). For the picnic everyone who wants to participate is asked to bring a sack lunch of their own choosing, a blanket, a folding chair, sunscreen, and a willingness to share. Provide your own drink of preference,... games for the kids, and whatever else will make the picnic fun. We will meet at the Villa Berg Park, next to the Church Office, Karl-Schurz-Straße 39,...near the Mineral Baths, Berg and Leutze. If you don't know the way, you are welcome to travel with the Vicar on Public Transport and walk with him to the picnic.
Another Baptismal opportunity will come around in June, if you know anyone interested please contact the Vicar.
The Feast of Pentecost brings a joyous end to the Great 50 Days of Easter. 19 May, at the 11:15 service, the Coming of the Holy Spirit will be celebrated with our traditional..."Pentecost Voices" proclamations. And... a Guest Preacher. If you speak any language other than English or German, please prepare to participate. At some point in the service, all "speakers" will be invited to the front to make an Easter Proclamation, in their own words, in their own language. It need not be long,... but should hopefully include the words: Jesus Christ, Resurrection, and Alleluia. For example: "Did you know that Jesus is no longer dead. He was killed and buried, but, thanks be to God, he is alive. We have seen and spoken with him. It is a miracle. Hallelujah!" If you can say something along those lines in whatever language, we want you to be one of the many "speakers". Don't be shy. In past years we have heard Easter proclaimed in : Arabic, Afrikaans, Amharic, Dutch, Finnish, French, Gaelic, Greek, Hindi, Latin,, Igbo, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Texan, Welsh, Yuroba, and Zulu, I wonder which languages will be proclaimed this year?
Ten Days in November I want to add a personal note of thanks to those who came to see Eric and me in the play last week at the Theater Tri-Bühne. Your lovely compliments and interest in the play makes it all worthwhile. There will be one last chance to see the play in Stuttgart ( Monday, 13 May at Theater Tri-Bühne, 8 p.m.) before we take it on the road, to the International English Theater festival and contest in The Hague. This Monday's performance will be exactly the same as last week. This will be the short form, lasting just one hour. For the contest purposes, we can only perform for an hour. Thus we have edited down the full play into the short form. I am now busy unlearning all the lines I spent the last few week trying to memorize! Call the Tri-Bühne Box Office if you are interested in tickets. 0711 2364610
Good news from Paul and Ed....thanks for your continued prayers. We have received positive news from both that their recovery, while slow, is progressing. Thanks be to God! And while you are praying, please add Tsega to your prayers, as her due date comes very close.
Last Sunday..... Thanks to the Kesse Family for allowing us to participate in the formalities following their father's death. The prayers and and presence of the friends of the family along with the simple but delicious Ghananian Sack Lunch were really nice. May the soul of John, and of all faithful people everywhere rest in peace.
Thanks also to those who helped with the operations of the American German Gospel Concert on Sunday afternoon. The Leonhardskirche was packed with people (and baked goods!) and between the donations and the Bake Sale offerings, over 2400 euros was raised for a Feeding program in Armenia. The choirs and musical groups did a tremendous job showing the wide variety of Gospel music! I am already thinking about what to do next year if the Leonhardskirche gets too small??? We had a great team of volunteers helping with the service... and we brought many delicious treats for the bake sale. Again, thanks to all who helped. K+
Stewardship.... Is a year-round issue. In some countries the Anglican churches focus all their fund-raising efforts around a day or a couple of weeks, when the financial committee and the treasurer, inform everyone about the financial status of the congregation. But with our very fluid congregation, people coming and going all the time, our finance committee has realized that Stewardship cannot be limited to a certain day or couple of weeks. It must be a year-round effort, with constant information reaching the people who keep the church alive through donations, pledges, tithes, and such. To that end you will find each week an insert in the liturgy sheet showing our progress toward the financing of the church budget. It doesn't get into a lot of details, but very successfully reminds us that as supporters of the work of St. Catherine's Church, we all share in the responsibility of financing the church. We must all do our share to keep the church alive. If you are a newly arrived member of St. Catherine's, and would like to find out more about how we survive financially at St. Cat's, the Vicar, Wardens, Parish Council, or Finance Committee would all be glad to talk to you, to explain our approach to Christian financial stewardship. We will be glad to tell you about our budget, our funding sources, and the best ways to make your personal donation. One question often asked is: What is a reasonable donation to the church? Answer.... It depends on your personal situation. We have an annual budget of roughly 65,000 euros. There are 52 weeks per year. Thus, simple arithmetic shows us that, in order to pay our bills, we need to raise 1,250 euros per week. If we have roughly 75 pledging units...( families and singles)...we would need an average gift of 17 euro per pledging unit just to keep our heads above water. If that is too much for you to give, and it may well be too much for some among us, give what you can. And if you are in a situation where you could give far more without any problem, please do, to help make up for those who can't. Together the totals can add up to a point where the bills will be paid, the programs will continue, the outreach can continue,and the work of God will prosper. It is not a big amount for most of us... But it can make a big difference in our life, and the lives of those who share in St. Cat's and the lives of those we touch. Thanks for being a good steward. K+
Women's Coffee Morning... 16 May, Thursday morning, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Coffee Room of the church. Join other women from the church for a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, while enjoying a nice chat. It's just for fun.
From Warden John:
Please email John Thompson, Warden at
What sort of Summer Fellowship Activities are you interested in? Over the past few years we have had a wide variety of activities throughout the summer months. Even though the vicar will be on sabbatical this summer, the rest of the church can still have 'fun in the sun.' Do you have any ideas? Let me know. What have we done in the past that you really enjoyed? What new ideas do you have that would be a fun family activity? All ideas are welcome.
For other fellowship activities, such as Men's Pub Night and LEGS, check out the church activities calendar on the website... www.stcatherines-stuttgart.de
Have a blessed week!