Dec
01
2014

December 2014

Dear Parishioners:

The great themes of Advent have been traditionally “Heaven, Hell, Death, and Judgment”. While they don’t seem to fit with the modern mind as we prepare for Christmas, they are subjects we need to consider very seriously. With Christmas preparation beginning commercially sometime after Halloween or sooner, the whole meaning of Advent has been obscured. The ancient tradition of the church was that Advent was a time of preparation for the second coming of Christ. Christmas was not to be celebrated until December 25th that would conclude with the great Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.

I remember that when I was a young priest I use to rant and rail against making Advent a season just for the commercial side of Christmas. Well, we all know what a losing battle feels like to try and keep that tradition in our secular world. However, those four themes must be faced in the church which has often diluted this message to the extent that these themes have been neglected.

There is a heresy or wrong teach among many Christians today called “Universalism,” which denies the reality of Hell. What Universalism states in effect is that God is simply too loving and good to allow judgment that would result in Hell. But, from the lips of the one who in His Incarnation revealed total love and goodness, has also come some of the strongest words of warning about the consequences of sin and the rejection of God. Jesus minced no words, while at the same time telling us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Scripture tells us that “God desires not the death of a sinner, but rather that he repent and live.” Jesus tells us that there are those who would rather go to Hell than to repent and live. Without the possibility of judgment and Hell, the Cross is robbed of its meaning and power. This is because in effect the Incarnation and the Cross were not really necessary if the message is we are all going to Heaven.

God emptied Himself in Jesus’ Incarnation, but in the end He will respect our choices and allow our hearts to be hardened, if that is the way we choose to go. He persistently offers us the opportunity to choose Him rather than hardening of our hearts.

Persistent sin on our part can harden our hearts; just look at the parable of the rich man who refused to help the poor man at his gate. He went to Hell, while the poor man was to be found in the bosom of Abraham. It was the persistent refusal to see Christ in that poor man that in the end condemned the rich man. Judgment is the natural consequence of our choices, whether in this life or the life to come. God has provided a means of redemption through Christ to all who reach out to Him in faith.

Time and time again the Church briefly touches on these major issues which the tradition of the church hold up as the themes of Advent against the current sentimentalized holiday mood. We state in the Creed, and affirm from the Scripture, that Jesus will return in power and great glory to judge the living and the dead. Our preparation for that is not a fascination with the details of prophecy, but rather we live a holy life given up to God in service to Him and our fellow brothers and sisters.

May God bless each one of us as we prepare for Christmas by dwelling on the great themes of Advent, and realizing that our life here on this earth counts in crucial ways.

And I cannot resist the temptation: Have a Merry Christmas—see you at the Altar—and a Blessed New Year.

In Christ,
Fr. Kresowaty+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/12/01/december-2014/

Nov
01
2014

November 2014

Dear Parishioners:

As we anticipate making out our regular giving to God in November, too often there is an air of hurried, guilty distaste surrounding the task. “Here are those cards once again!” We don’t mind giving, but must it be so often? We almost begrudge the church its need. But in doing so we are liable to overlook our own need.

In the heart of us all there is a stubborn kernel of covetousness. The whole point of giving to God is that our giving itself becomes a sacramental path for grace to enter our hearts, softening and finally consuming that kernel. Joy Davidman, in “Smoke of the Mountain”, beautifully describes the process.

“Not until Christ came were we shown the real alternative to covetousness, in that charity which not only loves to give but also takes with love. And not until Paul taught us did we understand how a man may appeal to the Grace for help against the covetousness in his own heart.

Christianity is everywhere paradoxical, everywhere too difficult for simple black-and-white thinking; but nowhere more so that in its doctrine of worldly goods. For they are good things—and yet we must not long for them. They are to be enjoyed—and yet we must not make that enjoyment our goal.

They are God’s plenty; in the form of bread and wine, they are the very symbols of that act of God which makes and keeps us man; they devote our lives to getting them. If we have them, the best possible thing we can do is to give them away; if we don’t have them, we may expect to get them, but we mustn’t worry about it! The Savior who bestows miraculous loaves and fishes upon the multitude is the same who proclaims that man does not live by bread alone, and he who teach us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” also warns us, “Take no thought, saying, “What shall we eat?” It seems almost that we are told not to desire what, by our very natures, we cannot live without.

The paradox is easier once we remember that the text runs, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”—once we remember the distinction between the ends and the means. Seeing God face to face is our goal; the pleasures of life, and even life itself, are the means to it. Therefore the milk and honey and corn and wine and soft chairs and fine houses and swift automobiles—all those pleasant things—exist primarily as a kind of currency of love; a means whereby we can exchange love with one another and thus become capable of the love of God.

In Charity, we value such things not only for their pleasantness, but also because we can give them away and give our love with them; or else because, in receiving them we receive other’s love for us as a baby at the breast sucks his mother’s love with her milk.

Nowadays we usually praise the power to give, which implies worldly success, far beyond the power to take, and we are sometime ashamed of “receiving charity.” Yet Christ and the apostles were not. Though it be more blessed to give than to receive, to be fully Christian one must know how to do both with the same humility and the same joy.”

After all, God’s love has given us this creation and the freedom of choice. The Father’s love has given his only Son to die for us and our salvation. The Son’s love has given us the way of life, forgiveness of sin and the promise to be with him forever. The Holy Spirit’s love gives us strength and wisdom. Are we willing to accept these gifts of love in humility? Are we willing to give back in joy and love?

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/11/01/november-2014/

Sep
01
2014

September 2014

Dear Parishioners:

September brings us the opportunity to renew our desire, our hope, our commitment to our Lord and Savior. Why do I say that September brings this? Doesn’t every day? The answer is of course each day should be desiring to serve our Lord with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Each day we should place our hope in our Lord and Savior. And each day we should be renewing our commitment to the Lord. But September brings us the end of summer relaxation and rest but also the opportunity to become engaged in the ministry of our Lord at St. Alban’s. Bible Study resumes on Wednesday; Choir resumes on Wednesday evenings; Christian Education resumes on Sundays at 9:15 am; the Life Shelter continues to serve those in need; the Age to Perfection group continues to meet for lunch; the Greeters and Newcomers continue to welcome those known and unknown into our community of faith; the Ushers, Acolytes, Altar and Flower Guild continue to serve the Lord for worship; the nurses continue to provide blood pressure checks for the parish; the St. Alban’s Singers begin their rehearsals; the Youth Group continues to meet; Inquirer’s Class begins –and the list goes on and on. This September brings us the opportunity to work—yes I said work—for our Lord. The Letter to St. Timothy states very clearly that faith without work is dead.

Although our Rally Day has come and passed, September still offers us the opportunity to work and live out our faith. I was at a conference in August focusing on the revitalization of the church. The speaker quoted an author. I don’t remember the author’s name who coined the question but I thought I would at least share a paraphrased version with you: Are you a person who waits for the golden opportunity or are you one who looks for the gold in every opportunity?

God asks each one of us to step out in faith and trust in him. Are you up to taking an opportunity to look for the gold that He has placed in the various ministries he has given St. Alban’s? In a very secular way perhaps we have heard it before: you only get out of something how much you are willing to invest in it. If we are looking for the Church to provide us with a cafeteria of delights and looking for just the right opportunity, we will be greatly disappointed. If we are looking to deepen our faith and love of the Lord, then we must look for the gold in every opportunity that God has put before us. Putting our desire for God, living and working for God, and committing our whole self to God is living our life searching for the gold in the opportunity. After all, does not Jesus say that the kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price and the merchant sells everything to purchase it? Or the kingdom of Heaven is like a hidden treasure of great price and the man sells all that he has to purchase the field? The gold is in every opportunity that God puts before us—are we willing to give ourselves up to finding it?

We have been given Good News. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to us and is with us always. He died on the cross for our sins and the sin of the world. Are we willing to take every opportunity to share the Good News with others? Are we willing to change our routines we have made for ourselves and accept the routine of God? September provides this opportunity as each and every day does.

I thank you for such a generous response to our appeal for Ellis Elementary School and to Carole Shunk for organizing the drive for school supplies. Your giving to help those students in need was overwhelming and I know it will be appreciated by both the students and teachers. There may be other opportunities come available through the school year but please keep the principle, teachers and students in your daily prayers.

Fr. Binga, our centurion has received the first of our giving towards his new “priest’s house.” He asked that I express his deep gratitude for the gift. If it pleases the Diocese of Northern Malawi and us, he stated the name of the house would be St. Alban’s. It will cost $25,000 to completely build the house so if you wish to commit to an ongoing gift, please mark in the memo that it is for the “priest’s house.” He is most grateful for your generous support.

September is a great time for us to turn our attention to supporting the USO. With our world in turmoil and tensions, our military service men and women need to know we support them and appreciate them for putting their lives on the line for us and others. I hope we will be as generous as possible to help stock the shelves with the items that are needed. They may be small tokens but meaningful for our military people as they travel to the torn places as well as come home. It is another opportunity for us to find gold in.

Finally, I pray and give thanks that as I write this article many of the Christians have been rescued from the plight and horrible persecution of ISIS. There are still 8000 still needing help. The stories told about the suffering and persecution of Christians by ISIS is horrifying. It is overwhelming the faith and courage they have shown in the face of torture, rape, beheading, dehydration and starvation they are enduring. As I have stated, I admonish you to pray for them daily. As refugees they still have more than a tough time to face. If you wish to do something, please go to the Anglican Relief and Development web-site to give a donation to help the refugees. Archbishop Anis, the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East are overseeing direct relief efforts.

Yes September offers many opportunities. Seek and you will find them. Knock and the door will be open. What a wonderful and glorious God we have.

Faithfully in Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/09/01/september-2014/

Aug
01
2014

August 2014

Dear Parishioners:

Hope you have had or are having a relaxing summer and/or vacation. Welcome home if you have been away during our Texas summer, although it has not been that hot yet. Things at the Church also begin to warm up as we begin the month of August. Mark on your calendars that Sunday, August 3rd we return to our former schedule of 10:30 am Eucharist. This will give us six Sundays to adjust to the schedule before Christian Education for all ages begins again. Christian Education for all ages will begin on Sunday September 7th at 9:15 am. That is except for…

We will begin Inquirer’s Class on August 17th at 5 pm in Room 10. With the Bishop planning his visitation to St. Alban’s on Sunday, October 19th, we will have to begin Inquirer’s Class earlier for an organizational meeting. Inquirer’s Class is for those who wish to “inquire” about the Church, the Sacraments, what we believe and why, the practices of the Church and most important our faith and belief in our Lord and Savior. The class is especially for those seeking Confirmation (the gift of the Holy Spirit to a mature faith in Christ); Reception (you have been already Confirmed in the Roman or Orthodox Church and wish to be received into the Anglican Communion); or you have been away from the Church for a while and wish to Renew your Baptismal Vows. It is always a great way to refresh your mind as to what you may have learned (or not) in your Inquirer’s Class taken some time ago.

The reason for the earlier start is manifold. First, I have been asked by Fr. Maneikis who has been helping out at St. Joseph’s, Grand Prairie if we would welcome some of their youth to join us for Confirmation Classes. Of course the answer was ‘yes’. Second, we have the Labor Day weekend when many take their “last” vacation before school is in full swing. Third, I will be on vacation two weeks to attend my niece’s wedding mid-September. So this first meeting we will fill out paperwork, pass out materials and find a day and time to meet which allows us the best preparation. There will be a sign-up list for parishioners to let us know of your intention to join us.

Our choir has had some time off during July and we welcome them back. During the month of August the choir will rehearse at 9:15 am on Sunday’s. They will return to their regular Wednesday evening rehearsals in September. If you are interested in being part of our Music Ministry, please see Thomas, our Chamber Choir Director. The St. Alban’s Singers, our youth choir could use more voices. If your children or grandchildren might be interested in being part of our music ministry, please see Vicki Keller who will be at our Rally Sunday.

Rally Sunday will be on Sunday, August 24th in the Parish Hall. You can join in Rally Day after each of the Eucharists. Please mark your calendars as Rally Sunday is when the whole parish is invited to participate in the ministry of our Lord and the Church. There will be the various ministries we have available for you to participate in as well as the leaders of these ministries for you to ask questions and learn about how you can participate in the life of the Church. There will be food and fellowship for all to join in the work of our Lord. There will also be some drawings for gifts if you sign up for a new ministry. Everyone should have a ministry they participate in to the honor and glory of the Lord. Come join us.

The Diocese is offering some excellent opportunities also during the month of August. On August 9th the Christian Education Commission will be offering a conference: To Be a Christian: Exploring the New Catechism. It will be an informative conference about what is catechism? How do you use it? What is the catechumenate? It would be wonderful to start the Catechumenate process here at St. Alban’s. On line reservation is available. Look for the flyer found in this Legate.

On August 21st, 28th, and September 4th (all Thursdays) The Right Reverend Fanuel Magangani, Bishop of Northern Malawi will be teaching a Bible Study on Faith Hope and Charity. It will be held at Christ the Redeemer, off the Hulen exit, from 7 pm until 8:30 pm. His last class was excellent and I am sure this one will be also. Again there is a flyer in this Legate for more information.

I would like to thank everyone who has been participating in our outreach programs for the summer and fall. Thanks to your generous response for the appeal for a “priest’s house” for Fr. Binga, our Centurion, we have surpassed our goal. I know he will be grateful for the additional help and continue your prayers for Fr. Binga and his family. Thank you again for your outpouring of love.

Please remember to pick up one of the items on the lists for Ellis Elementary School and/or the USO. We will continue to collect these items into the Fall. Carole Shunk has written an article about the student population. These youth need our help and we can make a difference. There is also a list for items needed by the USO. The USO provides a welcoming home for all the military that comes through DFW. We need and should be welcoming our military people as they come through DFW, not just the first but the last also. Let’s make a difference for them and thank them for putting their lives on the line for us and our freedom. Jay or Kathy King are our contact people if you have any questions or would like to volunteer to the USO.

Things are warming up now not only outside but at St. Alban’s. Come be an active part of the mission and ministry that God has called us to be.

In Christ,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/08/01/august-2014/

Jul
01
2014

July 2014

Dear Parishioners:

First I would like to thank our choir, Thomas Rinn our Choir Director, Michael Hitt our Organist, Vicki Keller, Youth Choir Director and the Saint Alban’s Singers for all the wonderful and worshipful music they have provided. They get a little vacation during the month of July and yet many of our faithful choir members still sing out to provide beautiful music during this time. Thank you for all your dedication and your vocation to sing to the glory of God.

Our congratulations to Thomas Rinn who is now going to be working at Heritage High School in Colleyville. While this will not change his ministry at St. Alban’s, it is a great opportunity for him and we wish him the best!

Second, a few business items need to be announced. The first Friday in July, July 4th the Parish Office will be closed for the holiday. The following Friday’s through August 1st the Parish Office will be closing on Friday’s at Noon! Please remember that for an emergency the cell phone number to be called is in your Sunday Bulletin. A good reason to take your bulletin home as this number changes each month depending who is on call.

On Thursday, July 17th the Staff will be having an all-day Staff meeting and the Office will be closed. This meeting allows us to start the planning for the coming months. So please be aware that the phone will not be answered and the Office will not be open.

Third, please mark on your calendars that on Sunday, August 3rd we will return to the 10:30 am time for the Eucharist. 8 am and 5:30 pm will remain the same but the 10 am Eucharist will return to its former time of 10:30 am. This will give us a few Sunday’s to become use to the time again before everything begins once again. Why? We tried as an experiment to have Christian Education following the 10 am Eucharist. This was to give those who visited a chance to join us in Education as well as allow the youth to have a later starting time that would encourage attendance. This just did not happen. Starting in September we will have our former schedule of 8 am Eucharist; 9:15 Christian Education for all ages; 10:30 am Eucharist; and 5:30 pm Eucharist on Sunday’s.

Talking about the Eucharist, I would like to encourage everyone to try one of our weekday Eucharist. We had a faithful group on Mondays and Wednesdays, but for various reasons attendance has fallen off. Why not add a little something to your rule of life or spiritual discipline? The weekday Eucharists only take about a half hour and are a great way to reconnect our lives during the week with our Lord and Savior. Need Unction? Try the Wednesday Eucharist which is a healing service as well. If you need to get to work, the Thursday Eucharist is at 6:30 am which allows plenty of time to get to your daily chores. Come and join us for these celebrations to add assured grace and worship of our Lord to your daily life.

Fourth: A big Thank you to Marsha Neal and all the volunteers who did a fantastic ministry for Vacation Bible School. Many hands helped in donating needed items; many hands were needed to set up the Parish Hall and Classrooms; many hands, talent, and ministry was needed to teach and help these young ones to learn and be enthusiastic about the Gospel Message. Thanks to each of you who helped make this outreach to our neighbors, children, and friends such an enjoyable and fun filled week.

Fifth, there are three outreach programs that I ask you to rise to the occasion. An article and the Mayor of Fort Worth, Betsy Price asked the community to get behind the USO. Dallas/Fort Worth has always been a great stop for our service people coming back from the hostilities of battle in foreign countries. The USO has greeted them with cheers and provided a meal or snack. Volunteerism as well as supplies are low now perhaps because it has been such a long battle. But whatever the reason, I believe Saint Alban’s can get behind this ministry and welcome our service people who have put their lives on the line for our freedom and safety. The last should be welcomed home as strongly as the first. I have asked Kathy King to help gather information and procedures for helping out.

I also have heard from Fr. Binga, our Centurion. He has given a plea to ask if St. Alban’s could help in completing a “priest’s” house for his family. At present they are renting a house that has no doors or windows in it. There are no other available housing in the area to buy or rent. The parish he is serving at, has been able to come up with funds enough for half the bricks. It would cost about $1000 to $1500 to complete the “priest’s” house and make it livable with windows and doors. Can you help?

The end of July and the first part of August we begin to collect funds and supplies for Operation School Supplies. We are in a relationship with Ellis Elementary School that is always in need of our help. Carol Shunk is our contact person and will have a list of supplies that are needed as the time draws near. We did a fantastic job last year providing supplies and underwear for the school last year. Can we do more?

Finally we will be starting our Inquirer’s Class for those wishing to be Confirmed, Received into the Anglican Communion, Renewing their Baptismal Vows or just like to review and re-learn what was forgotten in August. Please watch the Newsletter and Bulletin for information. Our Bishop will make his Visitation on Sunday, October 19th this year so even First Communion Class may begin a little earlier this year.

I hope you will all have a wonderful 4th of July Celebration and continue in faithfulness and prayer during our summer months. Don’t forget to pray and worship even when traveling as God is the source of our life and being.

In Christ,

Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/07/01/july-2014/

Jun
01
2014

June 2014

Dear Parishioners:

June brings warmer weather and the beginning of summer. Many of us consider it is a time of vacation. It is the time we “take off” and leave the regular routine behind for a week or two. But while that is fine for the secular world, it is not for the Christian. The time after Pentecost is a time for growth and liturgically we use green as the color of our vestiture to signify and remind us that we are to be growing. It is not a time to take a vacation away from God but to grow even further in the knowledge and understanding of our Lord. After all is not the first and great commandment to love the Lord our God with ALL our heart, mind, soul and strength? Does this not mean only worship him every Sunday, the Lord’s Day, but each and every day of our lives? To deny this authority of God’s command is called antinomianism, from the Greek, anti—against, and nomos—law. Such statements of antinomianism are: “Nobody’s going to tell me what to do. I’m free to do what I want.” Antinomianism, writes James Sauer, “has a continuous pull on the human heart—for it puts our feelings above God’s precepts. Herbert Scholssberg correctly summarizes the antinomian framework in his book “Idols For Destruction: “Any conception that has love without law as its ethical principle will be relativistic and self-serving and without any means of arranging a priority between rival goods. There is no action so evil that it cannot and will not be said to be motivated by love. Antinomian love goes perfectly with autonomous man; neither can stand the shackles of law.”

Jesus came, he said, “not to abolish the law but to fulfill it” (Matthew 5:17-20). We need authorities, the divine and the time tested ones, not to take away our freedom but to channel it, direct it towards the good we were made for. Precisely because we do not always recognize or acknowledge that good, we need the guidance of law, whether it is divine law which makes real love possible or human law and courtesy which makes living together plausible.

So what can we do this summer to grow further? Have you thought about reading a spiritual book to grow? Our Bookstore has many available. On a trip? Have you thought about stopping in a church and lighting a candle with prayer for a safe journey that day? Then repeat this each leg of the journey. Have you thought about visiting a church, there is a beautiful set of painted churches here in Texas and stopping in to learn, say a prayer and light a candle? How about Sunday’s? Have you thought about reading a chapter a day of Scripture throughout the summer months? How about a commentary on the scriptures? There are so many possibilities and opportunities to grow during these months!

On June 1st we will honor our Christian Education Teachers for all they have done to help our youth and adults learn and grow. Our team of dedicated teachers has faithfully and devoutly taught Sunday after Sunday. I hope everyone will express their gratitude to this group of people for all they have done this past school year. As I mentioned in last month’s Newsletter, this fall we will return to our former schedule of Christian Education at 9:15 am and our Eucharist will return to the 10:30 am time. Don’t neglect to help our children to grow during their summer months by reading a Bible story before bed or perhaps the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.

Also on June 1st we will have our Parish Picnic following the 10 am Eucharist. It will be in the Park on the north side of the Church. It is a great time for us to grow in fellowship with perhaps someone we have not met or don’t know. We ask that you to bring a dish to share and if you would like to enter the cobbler contest, bring your best recipe baked to perfection. Again, I hope everyone will join us for this relaxing and fun event.

Coming soon on June 17th through 20th will be our Vacation Bible School. VBS is not only a great way for our youth to learn and grow in the knowledge and love of God but all the volunteers make relationships and nurture our youth. If you have not volunteered for this event, please do not hesitate. Registration is online at www.saintalbans.org and is open to our children, grandchildren, godchildren, friends, and neighbors. The title is “Weird Animals” –Where Jesus’ Love is one-of–a-kind. Many items are needed and a sign up list is available in the entrance.

On June 22nd we commemorate our name saint, St. Alban. We will be having a Potluck in the Parish Hall following the 10 am Eucharist. We will have roasted chicken and ask you to bring your favorite side dish or desert to share. Mark this on your calendar as we thank God for the wonderful example of faith and sacrifice of St. Alban and for the fantastic people who call themselves St. Alban’s Parish.

May your summer months be filled with rest and the peace of the Lord! May your time on vacation be full of learning and be fruitful! And may God keep you safe and growing in our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Faithfully in Christ,
Fr. Kresowaty+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/06/01/june-2014/

May
20
2014

Questions and…answers

Dear parish family,

As many of you may (or may not) know, our Caritas ministry is a group of young adults and young professionals that meets regularly for bible study and fellowship. One of our regular features is called “Caritas Q&A” in which we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant. As we wait on our orders, we write out questions about anything of interest or something that we’ve always wanted to know from the perspective of the Church. After our meal, we spend time discussing the questions that have been submitted. It is a great time, and I’m often told that is when I become most animated…I suppose it is because I really want to get certain points across. It has recently been suggested that I journal such questions, which has given me the idea to blog one or two questions from each of our gatherings in order to broaden the discussion. This will be my first attempt at writing down the things that I said in answer to a participant’s question.

Participants are able to submit their questions anonymously, and this question was presented to the group at our last gathering on March 29th.

Why does it seem that the closer we try to get to God, the farther away He seems to be?

This really is a fantastic question, and asking such a question is almost certain to make your priest’s day! While answering this one at Q&A, I took a number of different angles in order to further our discussion, and I’d like to use it as a point of reflection now that we are coming upon the end of our “program year”.

How have you grown over the course of this last year? We are all called to spiritual growth and to become more and more in love with our Savior, Jesus Christ. So, are there any signs in your life of this continuing process?

To answer the question most directly, the reason that God often seems farther away when we are trying to get closer to him is because God IS infinitely far away from us… “who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see.” (1 Timothy 6:16)

The more we hunger after God and see our relationship to him as it is, we realize that he is perfectly holy and we are…not. We see all of the things within our own lives that are not pleasing to Him and are sinful before an all holy God. This is exactly why we need a savior…because we can never bridge the gap between our own imperfection and the perfection of the All Holy One. The more we come to realize this, the more in love we become with Jesus who is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

This is growth. It’s the same reason that high schoolers are no longer having to learn that 2+2=4…you’ve already learned that. As we start our spiritual journey, God leads us along through the equivalent of 2+2=4; however, that is not all that there is to know, is there? God’s intention is that we come to know him, and so we are lead to more advanced concepts, often involving trial. But don’t give up…this is God calling you deeper. The question is, do you want to do what it takes to go deeper? How have you grown this year and what are the products of that growth?

In Christ,

Fr. Joe+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/05/20/questions-and-answers/

May
01
2014

May 2014

Dear Parishioners:

Where do we find Easter in our lives? Or have we ever experienced Easter? Isn’t the experience of Easter in reality what it means to be saved?

Some people live their lives in Good Friday. Good Friday is more real to some than Easter. Suffering is what they experience in life. For affluent Americans, Good Friday is not so real, but neither is Easter. And yet with all of our affluence our lives are empty, very much a Good Friday. Material goods and running up and down the toll-ways don’t produce happiness.

The Good News of the Gospel is that there is an option, an alternative to the same old things. Jesus’ resurrection is an immense gift, the gift of eternal life– and He didn’t mean something that just happens after we die– He meant something that is available here and now.

But eternal life doesn’t happen in a magic way, by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior or by believing in Him. After all, Scripture states even Satan believed. Eternal life is participating in the very life of God by allowing Him to transform our life. This is what happens (if we allow it) in the Eucharist.

In the Eucharist, we do not just believe more firmly, at the deepest level we are consumed by love. It is not a matter of believing of what we know in our minds. Nor is it a matter of emotions or the conscious mind. It is the whole person in the deepest level: conscious, subconscious, mind, intuition, emotions, and the will. Put that together and we have what Scripture and the Church Fathers meant by the heart.

This is where the Most Holy Sacred Liturgy reaches. Here is where music helps. This is why the hymns of the Church are chosen to fit the season and Scripture themes, and take us beyond the songs of childhood, songs of the campfire or the pep rally with its slogans. The hymns take us to a deeper spiritual level where, if we are open, we may find God himself dwelling within us.

In the same way Scripture reaches into the depths of the whole person, not as a magic book or a law book, with its “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not’s”. Scripture communicates on the level of the heart as the Church Fathers meant. Scripture reveals Jesus to us not in the literal surface meaning of the words but in a kind of dialogue in which the Lord is made known to us as we respond to the Church’s understanding of Scripture and to the Holy Spirit whispering in our heart that intimate personal message.

Easter—Salvation—Eternal Life is the penetration of God into the heart of the individual who is supported by participation in community of the Church, nourished with the bread of heaven and in constant dialogue with the Word of God, pointing us to Jesus himself, in whom we are transformed.

I want to personally thank all those who participated in the events of Holy Week and Easter. Our Altar and Flower Guild had a very active week with all the various liturgies. Our Choir, directed by Thomas and accompanied by Michael did a fantastic and beautiful ministry. Our acolytes, ushers and greeters did fantastic. Randy Sparks receives a big thank you for the bulletins as well as all the Office Staff. There is a large amount of ministry, time, energy and use of God’s gifts and I believed we are so blessed to have such wonderful and active ministries given to us at St. Alban’s. Thank You!

There are also some activities I would like to call to your attention. On Friday, May 2nd, The Brotherhood of St. Andrew will host a dinner and a program on the Shroud of Turin. Tickets aremnecessary due to limited space but they are free. All you need to do is to ask for one from a member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. It should be an educational, spiritual and fun evening.

May 18th will be the last day of Christian Education. The following weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and the Church Office will be closed on Monday. We will honor our Sunday School Teachers on Sunday, 1st at the 10 am Eucharist. They have done a fantastic ministry and I hope all will be present to express our gratitude to this group of faithful teachers teaching our youth about our Lord and Savior.

We tried to see if having Christian Education following the 10 am Eucharist was beneficial this past year. It did not seem to make a great difference. We will continue with the 10 am Eucharist until further notice and most likely return to our schedule of Christian Education at 9:15 am, Holy Eucharist at 10:30 am in the Fall.

May 18th also starts our Pro-life Baby Shower. We are collecting all kinds of baby items—clothes, bibs, bottles, diapers, blankets all items to help new mothers and their babies have a great beginning of life. The items we collect on Mary 18th and 25th will be donated to the Arlington and Mansfield Pregnancy Centers which offers free pre-natal medical services, education and counseling to women in our area. Don’t miss this chance to help.

Remember that Easter lasts 50 days. On the 40th day we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord and Savior. The 50th Day we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. Plan to participate in these great Feast Days of our Lord and the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/05/01/may-2014/

Apr
14
2014

Parish Happenings – April 2014

Saint Alban’s Parish
911 S. Davis Drive
Arlington, Texas 76013
(817) 274-7826


Holy Week is the most sacred week of the Christian Year.  We commemorate the events of our Lord’s command to love one another; the institution of the Eucharist; and our Lord’s Passion and Death.  These lead us to the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Easter Day.  The Lenten Season of sacrifice and self-denial are about to come to an end.  But the greatest focus for  this week is the Passion and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ and the events that led up to it.

Please make note of our services offered during Holy Week. Come participate in all of these wonderful services.


Eggs for Easter Egg Hunt

We are still collecting candy filled eggs (no chocolate, please) for our annual Easter Egg Hunt which will follow the 10am service on Easter Sunday. Please take your filled eggs to the kitchen and leave them on the counter in the container provided.


Mass of Collegiality
Tuesday, April 15 at 10:30am
St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford


This is the service where the Diocese of Ft. Worth gather and  
the clergy of the Diocese renew their ordination vows and concelebrate the Eucharist. The Holy Oils are also blessed during this service and distributed to all parishes for yearly use. All are invited. Come join us for this special service.


Presentation on the Shroud of Turin

BOSA will be sponsoring a presentation by Larry Crowder on Friday, May 2nd in the Parish Hall at St. Alban’s.

Tickets are FREE! Pick yours up after each Sunday morning service or contact a BOSA member.
 
“The Mysterious Shroud of Turin – A Message of Hope”  

Larry Crowder will present a powerpoint with over 60 slides  
which present scientific evidence that the Shroud of Turin is truly the burial cloth of Christ! Come discover details that you did not know about the Crucifixion.


Work Day at Camp Crucis


Calling all men of St. Alban’s! Young and Old.

On Saturday, May 17th, we will be gathering for a Diocesan work day at Camp Crucis in Granbury. We will be clearing the horse trails of excess brush and low hanging limbs, replacing trim & some exterior painting, and many other small jobs the Director needs our help with.

Any questions, please call Charles Patton at (817) 475-8291.

If you are interested, please CLICK HERE to go the the website and sign up to let them know how many will attend. 


Pro-Life Baby Shower

This year, our Pro-Life Baby Shower will be held over 2 Sundays: May 18th and May 25th. The items we collect will be donated to the Arlington and Mansfield Pregnancy Centers which offer free prenatal medical services, education and counseling to women in our area.

Watch for sales & start collecting items now! The following is a list of items they need. Be sure they are gender neutral!

Baby Clothes * Bibs * Booties * Bottles * Diapers * Small Toys Blankets * Rattles * Pacifiers * Hooded Towels * Wash Cloths Receiving Blankets * Stuffed Animals

Hand made blankets, booties & hats are especially appreciated, so please remember this ministry when starting a new sewing project! 

Holy Week Schedule

 

April 13
Palm Sunday

Holy Eucharist
8:00 am, 10:00 am and 5:30 pm

April 14
Holy Eucharist
6:00 pm
April 15
Holy Eucharist
6:00 pm

Mass of Collegiality
St. Vincent’s Cathedral – Bedford
10:30 am 

April 16
Holy Eucharist
6:00 pm

April 17
Maundy Thursday

Seder Dinner
6:00 pm

Holy Eucharist
8:00 pm

April 18 
Good Friday

Stations of the Cross 12:00 noon

Mass of the Pre-Sanctified
7:00 pm

April 19 
Holy Saturday

The Great Vigil
of Easter
8:00 pm

April 20 
Easter Sunday

Holy Eucharist 
8:00 & 10:00 am

Easter Egg Hunt following 10:00 am service

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/04/14/news-april-2014/

Apr
01
2014

April 2014

Dear Parishioners:

We once again find ourselves looking toward Holy Week and Easter this month. Once again we find the answer to our most terrible questions. Where is God when evil seems to overwhelm us? Does God care that children are being killed by other children? Where is God when I am in pain and sorrow? Contrary to our experience, is God consistently reliable against evil, all evil? To get at the answer we must carefully look at what happened at the end of Jesus’ life.

The nature of sin is alienation from God and the goodness of God, so that the goodness of God is no longer understood. Nothing of His goodness; not His love, not His forgiveness, not His mercy, not His power and glory, can be understood as long as sin clouds the human mind. It is this fact that caused Jesus’ death. Sin blinding men is what killed Him. He died at the hands of blind men. “I came,” Jesus said, “to give sight to the blind, and to take sight from those who say they see.”(John 9:39)

Because of sin, all those who held the fate of Jesus in their hands could not see the truth about this man. He is innocent but they can’t see it. Strictly speaking, it is sin which condemns Jesus.

Our own sins may be many or few, but we are all involved in the sinful situation of our race. We live by choosing, choosing between self and God. And sometime or another we have all chosen self, and that is the opposite of love; and that is sin. Why do people not see the hand of God? We are blinded in our sin.

Choosing self-separates us from God; sin is separation. But God hates this separation, and means to destroy everything that causes it. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18)

Jesus is love, the love of God in the flesh; it is a love that contains all goodness. But condemned by sin, Jesus’ love is so self-less, He chooses to accept the verdict of sin—that He is a sinner. If sin proclaims Him guilty, so be it. He chooses to take upon Himself that which sin sees in Him, the sin of all men and women who have ever lived or ever will live.

He, who knew no sin, chooses to become sin for us. And what is the upshot? That men crucify him. Not only that, but in the crucifixion He feels all the wrath of His Father–the wrath of the Father against the Son.

The wrath of God, as St. Paul tells us, is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, not against men and women, themselves. But Jesus must experience the separation of sin from His Father because He has chosen to become sin and so he cries out from the Cross: “My God, My god, why has Thou forsaken me.”

Jesus becomes the focal point, the place where all sin is gathered, and God’s wrath can be directed against it, and destroy it. And we see it happening.

It is here at the cross we find our terrible questions about God answered. Evils, injustices, moral failures, distresses and sorrows surround and we cry out, does God care? Does God care that children are killing other children? Does He care that a mother is taken away from her young children by cancer. Does He care that so many have to make their way through life unloved by anyone?

And in our daily life itself there is a hardness, a stress, unavoidable failure as we strain after goodness and kindness and love, that grinds and fossilizes us against our own will.

Does God care? Contrary to our experience, is God consistently reliable against evil, all evil? The cross is the answer. All evil is here as if under a magnifying glass. In the passion of Christ, the wrath of God is revealed. Here the righteousness, the overflowing, forceful, energizing holiness of God is finally revealed for all to see.

If you want to know if God cares about evil, look here. God will go to all lengths against evil, even the length of killing His own Son to deliver mankind from it.
Because we, along with all who have ever lived, have taken into ourselves impiety, ungodliness (something deliberately anti- God), and unrighteousness (sinning out of weakness and selfishness) and made them our own, made them by our choices part of ourselves; because of that, God’s rescue from evil is a rescue from ourselves, that is our false selves.

But because it is a rescue from ourselves, it cannot but be painful. Take up your cross and follow me; as Christians the pain of our daily lives is one with the cross. Was God successful in destroying all sin and evil on the cross? Don’t look at yourself; we are still on the cross. Look at Easter for the “wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

I hope to see you at all the services offered in Holy Week, especially Maundy Thursday; The Good Friday Liturgy; The Great Vigil of Easter or the Sunday of the Resurrection. Come participate in the great salvific act of our God.

Faithfully,
Fr. K+

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2014/04/01/april-2014/

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