Month: December 2016

Frances Joseph Gaudet

Today in the Octave of Christmas, much of the Church commemorates the life of Frances Joseph Gaudet.  Born a slave, she dedicated her life to social work and prison reform.  In 1894, she began holding prayer meetings for black prisoners.  In 1900 in New Orleans, she began to work with young offenders, especially young blacks arrested for a misdemeanor or vagrancy.  She continued this work until her death in 1934.  Her work is chronicled in her autobiography “He Leadeth Me”.

The Collect

Merciful God, who raised up your servant Frances Joseph Gaudet to work for prison reform and the education of the forgotten and oppressed: Encourage us by her example and prayers to work for those denied the fullness of life, that all may experience your perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle

Acts 16:25–34

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

The Gospel

John 13:31–35

At the last supper, when Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Elaina Brickhouse Visitation

The family  of Elaina Brickhouse will receive friends on Thursday, December 29, 2016 from 5-7pm at Newcomer Funeral Home South Chapel (3940 Kettering Blvd, Kettering, OH 45439). The service will follow at 7pm.

St. Thomas of Canterbury

Today in the Octave of Christmas, the Church commemorates the life and death of St. Thomas of Canterbury (Thomas a Beckett.)

Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bishop & Martyr


O God, our strength and our salvation, you called your servant Thomas Becket to be a shepherd of your people and a defender of your Church; Keep your household from all evil and raise up among us faithful pastors and leaders who are wise in the ways of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ the shepherd of our souls, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

                                               EPISTLE. Hebrews 5:1-6

BRETHREN: every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.  And no man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he says also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

GOSPEL. St John 10:11-16

At that time: Jesus said unto the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

The Holy Innocents

Today, in the Octave of Christmas, we commemorate The Holy Innocents, slain by Herod.  It is a good day to offer special prayers for children who have been aborted as well.

Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for Christmastide.

The Holy Innocents. [December 28.]

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Revelation xiv. 1.

I LOOKED, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

The Gospel. St. Matthew ii. 13.

THE angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.




Prayer Request — Greg and Chris Herman’s Parents

From Fr. Chris  Herman–

On Christmas Eve, our parents were driving to attend church services when the young driver crossed the center line of the road and all three of them (my two parents and the young man) were involved in a serious head on collision, totalling both vehicles.  They all survived the crash, thanks be to God.  Nevertheless, they are all in the hospital still.  Our Dad is the most severely injured.  His back is fractured and he is essentially unable to hear.  The young man has major leg injuries that required all sorts of pins and screws, and our mother’s breathing is labored and very painful.  

Our heavenly father, we pray for  your servants Joe and Margaret Herman and for the young man who was also involved in the accident.  We thank you for sparing their lives and providing skilled medical personnel to care for them. We ask that you would comfort and relieve them according to their various needs and give them hope and courage.  We pray for the whole family, that this would be a time of drawing together as they await your perfect work of healing in the lives of their parents.  We thank you for your love and care, as we pray in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.  Amen



St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

Today the Church celebrates The Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.

The Collect

MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it, being illumined by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle 1 St. John i. 1.

THAT which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The Gospel St. John xxi. 19.

JESUS saith unto Peter, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.



Wednesday Evening Prayer

For the next two Wednesday nights, (December 28 and January 4) we will be doing Family Prayer and Christmas Carols.  Come and share a warm time of prayer and beautiful Christmas music. The service lasts just under one hour.  On Wednesday, January 4, there will also be a birthday celebration following the service to which all are invited. Hope to see many of you there!

Feast of St. Stephen the Martyr

Today (December 26) is observed as the Feast of Stephen the first martyr.

The Collect

GRANT, O Lord, that, in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those who suffer for thee. our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

The Epistle
Acts vii. 55.

STEPHEN, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The Gospel
St. Matthew xxiii. 34.

BEHOLD, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Thank You from Iraq

Attached is a report from Sarah Mathis Nowery in Iraq, thanking our parish for their gifts in 2016.  Please continue to pray for Sarah, Matt, the children, the Samaritan’s Purse team, and the myriad refugees they are serving faithfully in such a dangerous place.  coh_thank-you

Update – Tom Berger

Tom is still at Kettering Hospital recovering from a colostomy.  He still has the NG tube so is not getting a lot of nourishment and is therefore very weak.  Martha particularly asks for prayers for strength for him.  Your “editor” asks for prayers for Martha as well since she spends nearly all her time with him.

Almighty God and Father, your ways are higher than ours, your thoughts so much better.  We confess that we do not understand the questions of pain and sickness, but we know you are always good and always seek for our good.  We entrust our brother, Tom, to your loving care and ask for his complete healing and recovery. We ask for a return of his strength and the ability to eat.  We also pray for strength and encouragement for our sister Martha, and we thank you for your mercy and loving-kindness, as we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen

Sunday Service as Scheduled

Both Sunday School and Holy Communion will take place as scheduled this morning.  However, everyone is urged to use their best judgment with regard to personal safety.  Please be careful!

Update on Tom Berger

Please continue to pray for Tom.  Martha writes that Tom’s procedure earlier today has led to surgery tomorrow to decide if either colostomy or ileostomy is required.  Uncertain as to whether or not there are other options at this time. Today, the doctors could not put in a stent, but were able to relieve belly pressure which has provided a little more comfort.  Martha asks that we pray particularly for the surgery tomorrow.  Thank you.

Prayer Request – Tom Berger

Tom Berger has been admitted to Kettering Hospital for a suspected bowel obstruction and has just gone in for a procedure (around 4 pm on Thursday).  They will be putting in a stent to open the stigmoid colon, but — praise God — it doesn’t appear that a colostomy will be necessary.  Please pray that this procedure will take care of the problem; Tom has been in severe pain and unable to eat for several days.  Please also pray for Martha as she deals with the waiting, the anxiety, and any decisions that will have to be made.

Our Father and our God, we commit our brother Tom to your gracious care and love, knowing that you will continue to care for him in ways that are best. We confess we do not understand your ways, but we trust your love for our brother.  We pray also for Martha, thanking you for her steadfastness and asking that you would strengthen and encourage her in every way.  All this we ask in the mighty name of Jesus.  Amen

Men’s Fellowship Breakfast Saturday

All men of the church are invited to attend the Men’s Fellowship Breakfast this coming Saturday morning (December 17) from 7:30-9:00 a.m.  Lyle Albert will be the chef, cooking up great stuff.  Come and enjoy some wonderful  Godly fellowship with the other men of the church.

News from Elyse Burns

Dear Church Family –  

I’ve started to write before and never finished… I hope you all know that you are continually in my thoughts and prayers even though you haven’t heard from me since I left! Knowing that I’m in your prayers too means a lot – thank you. 

I wanted to let you know that I finally have a website up and running! Hopefully I will be able to keep this updated more faithfully so that we are better connected.  Feel free to visit and follow me at You should be able to follow the site and get notifications when I make a new post. 

I have gotten settled into life here in Kinmen and am finally in a rhythm writing lesson plans and teaching. I can’t describe to you how incredibly special it has been to be with the kids here. They have some very fun, bright and sweet personalities and not a day goes by that isn’t filled with laughter. It’s truly a blessing. 

I am free (and encouraged) to speak about Christ and the holidays that commemorate His life. I taught about All Saints Day around Halloween and about God’s provision to the pilgrims on Thanksgiving. Christmas is obviously the next huge holiday to celebrate and plans are underway for a nativity story at school in which all of the kids, their parents and the rest of the teachers/school staff will attend. I thought Christmas was just celebrated in school (as a teaching on Western holidays), but my co-teacher said that it is celebrated by Taiwanese people in general. I’ve also noticed Christmas decorations in some of the stores and restaurants. Regardless, the Christian population is still quite small and teaching about “God” is not off-putting to them because they have many gods. I cannot teach on Christ’s supremacy (I can only tell the stories behind why these holidays are celebrated), but I am confident in the power of the Gospel and that it will not return void. Please pray that our school activities as well as the outreaches put on by the local church will be fruitful. 

I have much more I could write in regards to prayers requests and the spiritual climate here. You may not get much of that on my blog because of my audience, so I will try to write more later and give you updates separately.

Best –