In this week’s newsletter we have details of up coming events, signs of life from the vicar, and encouragement from Rev’d Wolfgang Siebenpfeifer to make Lent mean more than just abstinence.
This Sunday – 28th February
Flights permitting Ken will have returned to lead the service on Sunday. Many thanks to the clergy who have helped carry on “worship as normal” in his absence.
The Church Council will meet before the service at 09:30 – if you have any questions or comments for them to discuss please contact the secretary, Christopher, firstname.lastname@example.org
After the service there will be a Games Afternoon – why not stay on and enjoy some extra fellowship in the Anglican Centre?
This plan is simple. Bring your own lunch / drinks (except tea / coffee which we can make in the kitchen). Jackie will bring lots of games and you could also bring a favourite. We can make a couple of groups up and have some fun!
Please let Jackie know if you would like to join in the fun – email@example.com
The next Womens’ Group Coffee Morning will take place on Thursday, 25th February 2016 from 10 until 12 in the Church Centre. We hope that Ken will be back from his travels and so able to open up for us. We then look forward to hearing about his trip. Should he not make it back in time we will just go down the road to the Cafè Hüftengold and enjoy a coffee/tea and a chat there. I look forward to seeing you there.
Alison Seyerle – firstname.lastname@example.org
World day of prayer
This year’s World day of prayer has been prepared by women from Cuba under the them of “Nehmt Kinder auf und ihr nehmt mich auf” Kuba – Stuttgart. There will be a service in St. Eberhard’s Gemeindesaal on Friday 4th March at 19:30.
Ladies’ Evening Group (LEGS)
The next Ladies’ will take place on Monday 4th April from 19:00 at Ha Long near Hölderlin Platz. If you would like to join us please e-mail email@example.com
Message from the Vicar
I am sitting in the Houston airport waiting to begin my 24 hour journey home to Stuttgart. The two week visit has gone quickly by. It has been a great opportunity to check in with my Texas Bishop and clergy friends. I have seen innumerable ‘former parishioners’… And been able to answer their many questions about life in Germany. I have eaten lots of seafood, enchiladas, and BBQ. In short I have had a great time here. But best was being with my family. I was able to see all but two nephews.
For that I am very grateful.
And now I am flying back to my other home, my other family: you. If my stand-by ticket works properly, I will add in Stuttgart Thursday morning. I will be out of it FTA few days, as the jet-lagged does strange things. But we have little time to waste. Lots to do.
Thoughts from Wolfgang – Don’t let Lent fizzle out in self-repression
LENT has connotations of chocolates, wistfully eyed but not eaten, firmly corked wine bottles and hours spent in prayer and spiritual reading. You give up your favourite things for the good of your soul.
Lent is well under way. Traditionally it is an occasion for self-denial, but it can be perilous. We should not be looking for ways to “give up”, but for opportunities to “give out”.
Most of us have predilections concerning doctrinal issues that tend to drive us apart. The interpretation of scripture, sexual preferences, theological differences and liturgical practices loom large in the Church, removing any possibility of cohesion. Lent is not to be missed occasion to give out a few sparks of understanding to those who differ from us, and to reflect on our own stance, possibly modifying it.
It is a wonderful opportunity for the frail and ill to do their part in encircling creation with the spirit of Christ. Take this on board, and we would turn the world into the Kingdom of God overnight.
“Giving out” means resetting our parameters, and reshuffling the way we perceive the world. It is possible to view it cynically as a resource, from which we extract whatever we want: power, money, possessions. If we allow evil to outride good, and if we let rancour burn, and irritability and anger rule the day, and selfishness be our bedfellow, we give nothing to the world.
There is an acid test that we can use. If our conduct is hurtful to others and damaging to the world, it is wrong. Fiddling the tax returns, or whispering unhelpfully about other members of the congregation is not of Christ; nor is allowing dislike to fester or withholding our forgiveness. Failure to welcome the stranger or a penchant for passing judgement on churchgoers is at odds with the Lord’s Prayer.
Together with Christ, we are shaping the world’s destiny. Every act, thought, kindness, or cruelty becomes an indelible piece of the universe. This is both sobering and challenging. We can sour the world or sweeten it. Throw out a few sparks of kindness, compassion, happiness and love, and Christ will surely smile. As Hildegard of Bingen said, 900 years ago: “And so, humankind, full of creative possibilities, is God’s work. . . Humankind is called to co-create.”
It is small acts that transform the world — such as a reassuring hand, a sharing of tears, a warm smile, an offer of help to change a lightbulb, or the promise of prayer for a sick acquaintance.
I once knew a couple who had taken a disabled neighbour a cooked meal at midday for 12 years. I alone knew, and they never missed a single meal.
So don’t let Lent fizzle out in a conflict over whether we should keep the wine bottle firmly corked, or the chocolates wrapped in their golden box. Let it be an outpouring, a gushing forth of love on to the world.