Rally Day Breakfast and Carnival

 We kicked-off a new program year in style, and enjoyed great food, lovely company, games for the kids, prizes, and much more.  Thank you, God, for our parish family!

Rally Day 2015

Sunday School for All Ages

Children and youth gather in the Chapel at 9:00 am to sing and share good news before moving to classes. Ages 3 – 5th grade use Godly Play, and our teens’ lessons are prepared by Brian Maves.

The Rector’s Forum meets in the Parish Hall at 9:10. This year Father Dale will begin with an introduction to the New Testament, followed by a verse by verse study of the earliest Gospel – the Gospel of Mark. Bring your Bibles! (Fr. Dale prefers the NRSV.)

The Lambeth Bible Study, an experiential and meditative approach to scripture, is a second option for adults.  This group meets in the Conference Room at 9:10 each Sunday, and everyone is welcome.

The Gospel of Mark

The first Gospel written for the Church in the first century, about 35 years after the central events of Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection, was that of St. Mark. Each of the four Gospels was written for a particular Community of Christians at a particular time. But these all were part of the essential apostolic witness to Jesus as the Savior of the world attested to in the opening words of each of the Gospels. It is because of the Apostolic witness that we know anything at all about Jesus’ true nature as Lord. While there are many other references to Jesus in non-Christian  writings (which we will talk about), the New Testament consisted as writings about Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets and Writings (the three fold shape of the Jewish Hebrew and Greek Scriptures).

It was 40 years ago when I first became thrilled at studying Mark’s Gospel. I had been reared in a fundamentalist church totally ignorant of the history of the Apostolic Church and the churches of the first few centuries. I took two classes at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from the chairman of the English department in 1974-5, entitled “Literary Aspects of the Old/New Testament”. Professor Stan Henning was a crusty old soul, who was son of a notable Episcopal priest, and senior warden at Grace Episcopal Church on the Capitol square in Madison. He was a Shakespeare scholar, and one who had spent much of his life disliking uneducated clergy, and carefully studying the history and theology of the Bible. On the first day of the New Testament class he quoted the early 4th century church historian, Eusebius, later bishop of Caesarea.

In his History of the Church, Eusebius wrote this about the first Gospel, quoting a bishop of Hierapolis, Papias, in the early second century:

“And the Presbyter (c. mid to late first century, a close disciple of John the Apostle and Evangelist) used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order of the things said or done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had he followed him, but later on, as I said, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s sayings, so that Mark did nothing wrong In thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”

I was amazed at this  careful remembrance of how Mark’s Gospel came to be written, and that this could be traced historically! And I found Prof. Henning’s teaching about the historical and literary background  of the books of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, eye opening. These classes changed my life. I wanted to serve Jesus as Lord in the Episcopal Church, where adult classes were taught on what is most important to all of us in forming us as adult Christians, namely the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. This formation never ends! And adult Christians need to study the Scriptures at Church, because the Bible is unknown to so many in our secular culture, and certainly not taught by all the uneducated preachers of auditorium and fundamentalist congregations. And it needs to be learned in the Christian community above all as we concern ourselves with caring for one another in the name of Jesus.

Join us as we study the Gospel of Mark!

Faithfully in Christ,

Fr. Dale +