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December 2008—In this Issue:
View the entire issue as a full-color PDF via the link below:
December 2008 HeartBeat (PDF)
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. Jeremiah 23:5
In difficult times like the ones we are experiencing now, it is usual to see an increased interest in the parousia, or second coming of Christ. Over the next few weeks, our readings for Advent will center on the “coming” of Jesus, specifically his “coming again” at the end of days. Frankly, our visual acuity for economic forecast is blurry enough. (I will never forget the so-called energy experts telling us that we will never see oil under $70 per barrel again.) I am not sure our insight into the coming again of Jesus is any better. But I think we do need to pay attention to Christ’s coming. We just may need to pay attention to it in a different manner than some of our panicky friends. But first, a story.
My first call as a Pastor was to a small congregation in Smith County, Kansas. The church building and parsonage were 4 miles from the nearest town, out in the open countryside. On a moonless night, you could not see your hand in front of your face. One year Jean took classes at a university 100 miles away from home. During one semester she took an evening class and would come home rather late. As usual, I would worry about her out on the road, especially in winter. On evenings when I was home, I would watch for tell tale headlights bouncing up our rock road signaling her safe return. I could see those lights from about two miles off, giving me time to fix two cups of tea and hunt up some cookies for a late evening snack. But sometimes she was late. If she didn’t arrive quickly enough, I began to worry about her safety. “Did she hit a deer, is she stuck in the ditch (again), or is it something even worse?” Productive waiting soon degenerated into harried worry. Strange, isn’t it, how your mind can lead you down such worrisome paths. But eventually those headlights bounced down the road and she was safely home. Eventually I learned to trust that she was fine and just put the tea on anyway.
The early church began to wonder what was taking Jesus so long to return. After all, he had promised never to leave them alone and to return in glory. Patient waiting for his promised return soon turned into impatience, impatience into infighting, infighting into strife, and strife into fractured communities. Disciples began to fight among each other about how the church should be formed in light of Jesus’ slow parousia. Some began to doubt the truth of what Jesus claimed. Others gazed up into the sky hoping for Jesus to come down in a cloud and take away all the hurt of the world. Still others began to understand that Jesus’ advent, his “coming,” was unfolding in the community itself. They understood that the kingdom to which he referred was unfolding in the communion of saints known as “the body of Christ.” Even St. Paul, who also looked for Jesus’ quick return, understood that the church’s time of waiting should not be static but marked by a generous outpouring of gifts and grace. Rather than waiting for lights to come shining down the road and running to set the pot on for tea, Paul called us to live in active expectation that Christ’s promises are bearing fruit in the present, through his presence, for those present to hear his word.
As we hear the wonderful texts for Advent, we hear them knowing that the God of Jeremiah who declared “The days are surely coming” continues still to fulfill that promise through the blessings of those who proclaim God’s Word of hope to the world. While economic crisis may be sign of Jesus future return, it certainly is a sign that the body of Christ has work to do. People are scared, anxious, hungry, desperate, and losing hope. Christ is coming to them through our love, our presence, our sacrificial giving, and our prayer. Christ is coming to through the redemptive grace of a God who loves without measure or expectation. Christ is coming in wine, bread, water, and word. Christ is coming through you, and through million, like you. Perhaps the lights are coming down the road, and the pot is already boiling.
Mary Fastenau, Council Secretary
The LCH Council met on November 18, 2008. Here is a brief recap of the items discussed.
A big mahalo to all who met the Honu challenge and turned in pledge cards for 2009! You can check out the bulletin board to track the progress towards our goal.
As of press time, we have received pledges from 62 individuals or families—or just over 50% of our 120 giving units. This a marked increase from last year, when we received only 42 pledges in total.
Our goal was to have 100% pledges returned, so we are hoping and praying that those of you who have not pledged will still do so. Remember that you are welcome to submit a pledge card at any time, but the sooner you do so, the sooner LCH can make plans for the future to spread God’s Good News to our island community and beyond!
During this upcoming Advent and Christmas Season, please pray about how you can respond to God’s love in your life. “Thanks be to God for his gift that is too wonderful for words.” (2 Cor. 9:15)
Best wishes for the season from your Stewardship Team
Gather in giving! The November in-gathering for the Angel Network was satisfying. A shopping cart with saimin, canned goods, Spam, and personal care items was collected for the Angel Network located at Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church. Thank you all for your support. In-gatherings are scheduled for the first Sunday of every month, so your next opportunity to participate is December 7.
Sunday, December 7, at 11:45 AM (and on the first Sunday of every month), the chairperson or another representative of each committee will meet in the Pastor’s office with Pastor Jeff Lilley and the Council President Brian Weis. This is to enhance communications between all committees. See you all there!
In Stitches, LCH’s craft group, will meet through the rest of the year. We gather the second and fourth Saturday of each month in the boardroom from 9 to 11 AM. We work on projects for the church or on our own crafts. A good time is had by all. The next few sessions are December 13 and 27 and January 10 and 24.
The next Process Forum will explore poetry and Process Thought. Keep the second Saturday of the month available for this discussion: Saturday, December 13th, 9:30–11:00 AM, at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. (A second session will be offered on Sunday, December 14th, about noon.)
Below is a list of selected poems and poets, with web links to the full text for your convenience. Some poems illustrate “process” ideas; others may offer an alternative view. If you have any difficulty, contact Fritz.
“Saint Francis and the Sow,” Galway Kinnell; “Duns Scotus’s Oxford,” Gerard Manley Hopkins; “To the Rose Upon the Rood of Time,” William Butler Yeats; “I heard a fly buzz,” Emily Dickinson; “The Idea of Order at Key West,” Wallace Stevens; “O sweet spontaneous,” e.e.cummings; “plato told,” e.e.cummings; “Musee des Beaux Arts,” W. H. Auden; “Evening on Calais Beach,” William Wordsworth.
Again this year we will continue our tradition of honoring friends and loved ones by contributing poinsettias to decorate the Nave for Christmas. Look for bulletin inserts during upcoming Sundays to participate in this effort. Please fill in the poinsettia order form and return the form and your check to an usher or the LCH office no later than Sunday, December 14th. Thank you!
Sundays during Advent, 9:15 AM in the Nave
Every Advent the Children of LCH present their own version of the Jesse Tree, based on “Jesse Tree: Advent Song and Paraliturgies for Children” by Dennis J. Newman (Chicago: GIA Publications, 2001). The presentation is led by Vicki Gorman, with help from all the Sunday School teachers.
Sometimes called the Root of Jesse or Radix Jesse in Latin, the Jesse Tree is a visual representation of Jesus’ genealogy dating back to Jesse, the father of David. The Jesse Tree is found in the writings of Church Fathers, Latin hymns, and in visual arts—especially during the 12th to 16th centuries.
Each week’s presentation is divided into segments referring to key figures in the genealogy. Each segment begins with one child who introduces the character by describing key events in their life. Another child then sings about that person. In response, a third child hangs the individual’s symbol on the Jesse Tree. The children and congregation then sing the Jesse Tree chorus.
Come join us during Advent for this very special sharing from our children.
The Fellowship Committee invites you to an evening of dinner at Kincaid’s at Ward Warehouse and a ride on the Christmas Trolley on Sunday, December 14. Kincaid’s has an early evening dinner special at $25.00 for a 3-course dinner, and a children’s menu is also available. The restaurant is in the process of organizing this event, and more details will be available shortly. Our tentative plan is to have dinner at 4:00 or 4:30 PM and ride the trolley after dinner. Look for more details—including the exact time—on the sign-up sheet.
We hope to see you at Kincaid’s and the Christmas Trolley ride!
Our final Writers’ Workshop meeting for 2008 is on Monday December 15, 7:00–8:30 PM, in the Board Room (or the Rainbow Room) at LCH. All are welcome. For information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
Adam Burke, OYEA Coordinator
On December 5 and 6, we have scheduled a Youth Council Retreat at Turtle Bay. This leadership retreat is only for the OYEA Youth Council, which was installed at a service on October 26 at Calvary by the Sea. I have already contacted all of the Youth Council members. Remember this Youth Council Retreat is no longer on the Superferry.
On December 7, there is a service project planned in conjunction with the Joint Confirmation at Christ Lutheran in Mililani. As has been tradition, the OYEA pastors organize the joint confirmation. Plans are to make small care package/baskets for the troops overseas.
On December 12–13 (Friday–Saturday), we will have our second Lock-In Bowling event at K-Bay. The schedule will be nearly identical to last year. At 9 PM, we will gather at St. John Lutheran Church in Kailua. After worship, games, food, etc., we will carpool to the Kaneohe Bowling Alley where the facilities are reserved until 6:30 AM. Then, from the bowling alley, individual church youth return to their churches/homes or go back to St. John for parent pick-up.
As Advent is here and preparations for the many special services and one concert are underway I thought it was timely for me to communicate some information and perspective on our wonderful music ministry at LCH.
I know that I often take what we have for granted because it has been the norm for our worshiping congregation for a long time. In December I will celebrate 36 years, Kathy has recently completed 30 and Allen has started his 18th. It is when I worship at other churches that I really understand what a privilege it is to be a part of the worship leadership at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.
When I look at the music ministry today, I can honestly say that I think it is better than it has ever been. We have so many committed and talented people who participate week in and week out to truly enhance our worship through their musical offerings.
I am so excited by the arrival of John Alexander to lead our 8:00 AM Service music. Not only does he bring a wealth of experience, having headed the choral program at Iolani School for many years, but his keyboard skills, versatility, and very focused energy have brought a new vitality to the 8:00 AM ensemble in a few short weeks. I look forward to expanding the worship resources and exploring some new options with John at the helm.
Since I retired from the leadership of the Compline Choir in August 2006, I have been especially proud of the fact that it has been taken over so ably by Keane Ishii, the youngest and newest member of the group at the time. Keane brings a great passion for choral singing and a deep dedication to the ministry of that service. I have really enjoyed just showing up to sing and not having to worry about any of the organizational details. Very many people have told me over the years how grateful they are that such a service is offered in our community on a regular basis. Many individuals, who have later become very active at LCH, first came to the church through the ministry of this service.
The part of the music ministry that I am probably most proud of at the moment is the F.R.O.G.S. Choir and Chamber Orchestra that has been growing and developing over the past several years. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to Vicki Gorman, who spear headed this program assisted by Anna Womack and Teresa McCreary and many others from the Learning Ministry team. The music making from these young people is absolutely extraordinary. I hope we can expand the opportunities for their participation, and I look forward eagerly to the Jesse Tree services during Advent and particularly the 5:00 PM Christmas Eve Service.
As I was reviewing the fall schedule of the LCH Choir, I was really pleased with the variety of music that was done, but most of all the high level of commitment from these choristers. Not only have we sung a very diverse repertoire on Sunday mornings, much of which was quite challenging, we also prepared a festival Vesper Service for St. Michael’s Day and sang an evensong at St. Andrew’s Cathedral (joining with the Cathedral Choir) on All Saints Sunday. I have received many expressions of gratitude from members of the Cathedral for participating in what they called one of the most beautiful services in their memory.
Isn’t it incredible that we have such a richness in our music ministry at LCH! I just can’t thank the congregation enough for your support to make this possible. I am convinced that many continue to be very blessed by this program.
So what do we have to look forward to in the coming weeks?
The Sundays of Advent have a very special quality as we carefully prepare for the celebration of the incarnation at Christmas. I refer to this as a time of “quiet rejoicing,” as is so wonderfully expressed in the words of Mary in the Magnificat. Both morning services have a certain solemnity about them, as we bless the Advent wreath and sing the great hymns of this season. The Jesse Tree service as presented by our children is a special opportunity to observe Advent as the prophecies are brought to life in word and song.
The Advent Procession this year will highlight the “O” Antiphons. In addition to readings, hymns, and seasonal music typical of Advent Carol services throughout the world, the addition of textile art to visually focus the symbols really adds another dimension. This is a service that you should invite your friends and families to. It is a very beautiful way to usher in the new (church) year.
At 4:00 PM on the Sunday before Christmas, teenage harp virtuoso Melody Lindsay (a senior at Iolani School) will present a program of music featuring her instrument and will be joined by the trebles of the LCH Choir in Britten’s beloved A Ceremony of Carols. In case you didn’t know it, we recorded this work in 1991 and our CD is still available. I listened to it the other day and I still think it is very good. Compline for Christmas Day is also on the same CD. The program will conclude with John Rutter’s lively setting of “Tomorrow shall be my dancing day” for women’s voices and harp. This promises to be an absolutely delightful concert.
Our Christmas services will again offer a wide variety of seasonal music.
The 5:00 P.M. Candlelight Eucharist will be led by the F.R.O.G.S. Choir and Chamber Orchestra. The service music is the St. James Christmas Carol Mass, which uses metrical texts of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) set to familiar Christmas Carols. The F.R.O.G.S. Choir and Chamber Orchestra will be offering lots of carols as well. This is the one Christmas Service I can attend as a worshipper, as I have no musical leadership responsibilities.
As we have been doing for many years, our pre-service music for the late service will feature one of the Christmas Cantatas by J. S. Bach. In the Lutheran musical heritage there is probably no composer that has left such a legacy of inspired choral works, and it has been a particular joy to present a new one (for us) each year. This year we will sing Cantata Nr. 64 “Behold, what manner of love has the Father shown to us, that we are called the children of God.” This is a very joyful piece and includes two lively arias and several chorales, the final one being “Jesus, priceless Treasure.”
The 11:00 PM Choral Eucharist will include a great many favorite congregational carols sung to organ and orchestral accompaniment. For the service music the choir will offer Mozart’s short and sprightly Missa Brevis in D, K. 194. The Hymn of the Day will be Luther’s beloved Christmas Hymn “From heaven above to earth I come” in a setting by another great Lutheran composer, Michael Praetorius, for soloists, 2 organs, 2 harpsichords and 3 choirs and orchestra. We always have a great many visitors in attendance at this service. There is simply no congregational setting of the mass movements that so many visitors would know. That is why we sing an orchestral mass on Christmas Eve. This service is really a special gift to the community. I have received many phone calls and notes over the years from people thanking the Lutheran Church of Honolulu for this gift. Many say that it makes their Christmas. Many worshippers come from other churches where they do not have the resources to offer such splendid music to celebrate the birth of Christ. In fact, we are the only church on our island to offer this kind of orchestral service. I particularly appreciate all of the hard work the choristers do to bring this service to fruition.
On Christmas Day there will be another Choral Eucharist, again including a great many favorite carols (only one repeated from the previous evening) with the service music being Setting I from the ELW. Many churches don’t hold services on Christmas Day, but for many visitors and elderly this is greatly appreciated. Again, I regularly receive expressions of gratitude for the fact that we offer a beautiful service with choir on Christmas Day.
On the Sunday after Christmas, Holy Innocents, we will have our regular 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM Services. At 8:00 AM we will use the Christmas Carol Mass and many favorite carols will be led from the organ. At the 10:30 AM Service, the LCH Choir will give its annual gift to the congregation by joining in a service of Lessons and Carols. Lessons will be read by members of the staff and the leadership of LCH. The service will include carols focusing on the significance of the infant martyrs, being commemorated that day. Compline will also feature medieval carols for this feast day.
For the past several years we have been holding a service of Vespers in the afternoon of New Year’s Day. Most often these services have been conducted largely in German. As LCH was founded by Germans in 1900 and services were in German for the first 35 years of our existence, it has been a great joy to celebrate this heritage over the years by not only offering much music sung in German, but also occasionally to hold services in German. Pastor Fritschel has even delivered homilies in German for these services. As in the past, the centerpiece will be a Bach Cantata written for New Year’s Day. This year’s work will be Cantata Nr. 171 “God, as your name is, so also your praise is to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 48:11). New Year’s Day is also a celebration of the naming of Jesus and this joyful cantata presents those themes. The service music and hymns will be in both German and English. Whenever text or music is in German, an English translation is provided in the service leaflet. Again, LCH has the unique resources to present such a service in our community and opens its doors to invite others into this special experience.
I sincerely hope that you will avail yourselves of many of these special worship opportunities as we prepare again to receive Christ into our lives during this holy season. May you all have a very blessed Advent and Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and joy.
Bill Potter, Webmaster
Have you seen the LCH video on YouTube? Everyone who was at the 10:30 service on Children’s Sabbath (October 12) will remember the lively and beautiful Gospel Acclamation the F.R.O.G.S. Choir and Chamber Orchestra provided, complete with one of our youth accompanying on the organ. Fortunately, the McCreary family had their camcorder, and thanks to some real intergenerational cooperation (grandma on the camcorder, grandson on the computer, and mother directing the operation), the video was uploaded to YouTube for the whole world to enjoy. By November 16, it had already been viewed more than 40 times! You can see the video embedded in the Congregational Life page, and there is also a link from the Children’s Sabbath Slideshow.
This is not the first video to be available on one of our web pages. You may remember the earlier video of Irmgard Hörmann’s talk to members of the Synod Assembly who visited LCH in May 2006. Pastor Jeff videoed the talk, and after several tries, he and I were able to get it to stream from our own server.
The YouTube approach is much easier, and the videos are hosted on their server rather than ours. These facts alone make the decision to add more video to our website a no brainer, but there’s an even bigger reason to do it. Video communicates emotional content along with the factual content of who did what and where. Take a look at the Children’s Sabbath video, and you will see two of our little ones jumping with joy as they sing God’s praises. What better way to tell the story of the joyous ‘ohana we have at LCH?
If you have a digital camcorder and would like to help with the video ministry, just let me know.
Contributions to be collected and dedicated on January 4, 2009, for Hawaii Meals on Wheels
Hawaii Meals on Wheels is the designated recipient of LCH’s 2008 Advent fasting & feasting campaign.
Hawaii Meals on Wheels (HMoW) is dedicated to helping frail elders and individuals with disabilities preserve their independence at home by providing hot, nutritious meals and regular personal contact for its clients.
Back in the late 1970s, LCH kupuna Irmgard Hörmann and several others recognized a need in Honolulu for such a service and founded HMoW. Providing at least one “real” meal a day is the driving force that has pushed HMoW through 25 years of service to the elderly and homebound. HMoW started with six clients in need, and volunteers now deliver meals and social contact to about 200 clients. HMoW is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. Deliveries concentrate on lunch with a couple of dinner routes. Meals are delivered Mondays to Fridays, including all weekday holidays. A single meal costs Hawaii Meals on Wheels about $4. For information on becoming a Hawaii Meals on Wheels client or to volunteer, call 988-6747.
As part of your Advent preparations, consider some level of participation in fasting & feasting. Inaugurated at LCH in 1997, fasting & feasting is an Advent devotional exercise with a social ministry twist. In response to the pressures of the holiday season, especially regarding the overabundance of food, a weekly day of fasting is suggested. Participants work within their own health needs, and set aside food money thus saved to help others. Carve out some time during your fasting day to pray, read or by other means focus on the meaning of the season—the promised coming of the Prince of Peace.
O God, you have remembered your promise of mercy, you have come to dwell among us, and you have revealed your glory. Pour out upon us the Spirit of your love, that we might pour ourselves out for the hungry and reveal your care to the afflicted. In the name of Jesus we pray; Amen.
...is a new CD by Sharon Dennis and Doris Au MacDonald (aka “The Braeded Chord”) which contains music that was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. “Kyrie,” “Gloria,” “Lord’s Prayer,” and “This is the Feast” are part of the Alleluia! communion setting written for the 8:00 AM service at LCH. Sharon and Doris (Kathy Crosier’s sister) recorded these and other originals in their usual fashion, adding lots of instrumentation, voices, and easily going from simple acoustic to bigger rock styles intertwined with some celtic touches. Please see Kathy Crosier to purchase a copy for yourself or for a friend.
Offering envelopes will be available at church on Sunday, December 14, for those who requested them when making a pledge. If you would like a box of envelopes for your contributions but did not make a pledge or forgot to check the box your pledge card, please let the office know, and a box will be ready for you on December 14.
Years ago, we prepared a set of envelopes for everyone in the congregation, but we found that most people do not use them. This did not seem like good stewardship of money or natural resources, so we adopted the current practice. We’re happy to provide envelopes if you want them, or you are welcome to just drop your check in the offering plate without putting it in an envelope or to put your check or cash in a plain envelope from home or one of the envelopes provided in the pews.
If you still have envelopes from 2008 or previous years and want to keep using them, that’s fine too. However, since numbers are reassigned each year, the counters may not be able to match your “old” number with you. So, if you use old envelopes, please cross out the number and be sure to write your name on the envelope.
Jackie Kapua‘akuni, who severed with dedication for many years as Lutheran Christian Preschool, passed away November 1, 2008. Memorial services were held at Oahu Cemetery. Jackie is survived by husband Claudio Borge III; sons Claudio IV, Caleb, Cleghorn, and Champion Borge; and daughter Cherish Borge. Prayers and blessings to her family.
Army Community Theatre presents John Milton’s Paradise Lost: Readers Theatre at Fort Shafter Richardson Theatre will present a readers production of Paradise Lost by John Milton. If read in its entirety, it would last 10 hours. This production has been capably cut and edited down to two hours by Jan McGrath, staff member at Hawaii Pacific University.
The production is directed by Sylvia Hormann-Alper and features Seth Lilley as “Adam” and Michael Burnett in the roles of “God” and Archangels “Uriel”and “Michael.” Performance dates are three consecutive Sundays: November 23, 30, and December 7, all at 2:00 PM. Admission is free. Picture ID is required at the gate to Fort Shafter.
HTY presents Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens’ traditional holiday tale inspires the noble virtues of kindness, charity and compassion. This playful musical adaptation combines the talented young performers from our community (including Mitchell and Niell G!) with professional Honolulu Theater for Youth actors, breathing new life into the classic story of transformation and redemption. Join Marley and a trio of helpful ghosts as they teach Mr. Scrooge about the true meaning of the holidays. Adapted from Dickens by Barry Kornhauser. Music & Lyrics by Ron Barnett. Suggested for ages 7 and up.
The play opens on Friday, December 5, at 7:30 PM and runs through December 20 at Tenney Theatre, St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Phone the box office at 457-4254, or email them at <email@example.com>.
Attendance and Offerings for Sunday, November 30, 2008 were not available at time of publication.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, December 16!
Christmas tune to shop by:
Angels we have heard on high
Sing so sweetly while we buy.
Demons, too, who lobby hard
For maxing out our credit card.
Sign that Christmas shopping is getting to you: You get an anxiety attack when you hear the store Santa say, “Ho, ho, ho!”
“Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want—and their kids pay for it.”
Out of the mouths of God’s kids
A six-year-old boy playing the innkeeper in a Nativity scene in church felt very bad saying the lines turning the Holy Family away. As they were leaving, the boy exclaimed, “Hey! Wait a minute! You can have my room!”
“I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold.”
Bloopers that gnash the teeth
“The first Christmas carol on the program in the church where I serve was listed as ‘Hark! The herald angels sin.’”
—Rev. Dr. Geoff Pankhurst
Copyright © 2008 Lutheran Church of Honolulu
Comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org