From the Pastor's Desk:
Two Sundays ago, we read a passage from 1 Timothy that included these words:
Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. (1 Timothy 2:11-12)
I did not address those verses during my sermon, but I would like to do that now. What are we to make of those words of Paul, especially in light of the fact that the ELCA is celebrating the 50th Year of the Ordination of Women?
Although there is great debate about that passage, and a wide variety of interpretations, they tend to fall into three categories.
- Women are not to speak in worship, teach men over the age of 18, or hold leadership positions in the Church.
- The office of Pastor is reserved for men, but women may serve in any other role within a Christian congregation, whether reader, communion assistant, teacher or council member.
- All things should be done in good order within the Church. Only those people who have a "rightly ordered call" should publicly teach and administer the Sacraments in the congregation.
The first is the least likely, in my opinion. In 1 Corinthians 11:5, Paul mentions women praying and prophesying in the Church. This suggests that women did speak publicly in church. So it is not likely that Paul would contradict his earlier teaching in that regard. As a result, I find the second or third option much more likely.
In the case of option two or three, Paul seems to be concerned about good order in Christian worship. In Galatians 3:28, Paul says:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
The early Church was a place where people of all backgrounds experience radical freedom and equality in Christ. No Christian was better than another, more important than another, or holier than another. All were brothers and sisters in Christ, who were called into lives of service following the example of Christ, who said,
For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.(Mark 10:45)
Paul's concern was that this radical freedom and equality did not become the occasion for license. The fact that we are all one in Christ, doesn't mean that we should all try to speak at the same time. 1 Timothy 2:8 suggests that men in the Church would often compete with one another to see who would get to preach or pray. Even to the point of raising their fists in anger. Paul says that they should lift holy hands in prayer instead. The warning to women then would follow the same pattern. Women should not use their freedom and equality as a license to interrupt or speak over those preaching and praying. Instead, in the case of both men and women, the appointed leaders known as the "overseers" were to keep order and decide who would speak.
The only question is who is qualified to be an "overseer", or what we would call a Pastor. Paul seems to assume that the "overseer" will be a man. Those who favor option two believe that Paul intended this practice to apply at all times and all places. The Pastor should always be a man.
Those who favor option three believe that reserving the office of Pastor for men was a concession to the culture of Paul's day, but not a universal rule. The Church is free to call women to the office of Pastor. The important thing is that things be done in good order. No person, man or woman, has the right to claim the office of Pastor for themselves. Only when rightly called by the Church can he or she assume that office. However, when rightly called, there is no reason a woman cannot serve in the office of Pastor.
This third option, is the one that I believe is correct. The predecessor bodies of the ELCA, namely the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America used the same reasoning in determining that women could serve in the office of Pastor. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the ordination of women to the pastoral office in American Lutheranism. For the last 50 years, women who have had that intellectual, moral and spiritual qualifications for the office of pastor have served with distinction. We believe this is pleasing in God's sight.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. David Charlton
St. Paul's foreign missionary, Rev Kristin Engstrom, lives and guides young adults learning to be missionaries in Senegal, West Africa. What do you know of Africa? It is a continent. It is the second largest, after Asia but larger than North America. It is located on the south side of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Spain, Italy, and Greece. From north to south it consists of a coastal green strip, the great Sahara Desert, the dry Sahel, Tropical forests, great grassland plains, and productive farm lands. It has large lakes: Victoria, Tanganyika. It has great rivers: the Nile, the Niger, the Congo, the Zambezi, the Orange. The continent has high mountains: Kilimanjaro, the mountains of the Moon, the Drakensberg. It was the last continent to be explored. Living there are many people and many wild animals. It is divided into 47 countries and 4 territories. The countries may be large like Sudan, or small like Sao Tome. The countries many have many people like Nigeria, or few people like Chad. The people may be Arabs, Blacks, Whites. These people live in modern cities like Cairo and Johannesburg or in rural villages and farms. They live in apartments, houses, or huts. In the north the people are Mohammedans. The Mohammedans also live on the Atlantic Ocean coast and the Indian Ocean coast. Christians have long lived in Egypt and Ethiopia. Recently missionaries have brought Christianity to the people in central and southern Africa. There are many more facts about Africa. Let us continue to pray for Rev. Kristin and the Church in Senegal. Let us support her with our gifts to Missionary Support.
There are many church supported colleges in the United States. Our ELCA supports numerous colleges and universities. Newberry College is such a college. It is supported by our own Florida Synod along with the South Carolina Synod and the Southeastern Synod. Thus we all here at St. Paul have a share in this college, in Newberry College. Any young adult members of our church who are ready for college and their parents should include Newberry when they consideration colleges. Newberry may fit their needs. It is a fully accredited four-year College for sciences, education, and liberal arts. Newberry offers classes and degree programs in 36 major and 31 minor fields. In addition, the College supplements students' education and development with many extra curriculum opportunities. These include educational, sports, social, and religious organizations. Newberry, like all colleges, offers scholarships and financial aid to it students to help pay their college tuition and fees. ELCA church members, St Paul members, pay reduced fees. Posted on the Mission Bulletin Board is information and pictures about Newberry College. The College arranges tours of the campus and departments for prospective students. We at St. Paul can help our church colleges by supporting Newberry College with our prayers and our gifts to Mission Outreach.
LUTHERAN MEN In MISSION
October 2019 Bible Study Breakfast
The LMM monthly Bible Study and Breakfast will be Saturday, October 19, at 7:30 A. M. in the Parish Hall. We are continuing the Course on "Spirituality."
In this second session where we will be discussing the subject "Spiritual Basics: Becoming a Christian." The Bible study topic is "How Do I Respond? 'Confess and believe'" (Romans 9:30-10:21). This Bible Study will follow Option 2: Advanced: Teaching with Margin Questions.
In the last few verses of Roman's Chapter 9, Paul summarizes Israel's present state and contrasts it with how the Gentiles attained righteousness. Though they were not seeking righteousness, the Gentiles obtained it by faith. On the contrary, Israel, who sought after righteousness, failed to arrive at it because they pursued the right goal through the wrong means. They tried to earn righteousness by the works of the Law. The ingredient missing from Israel's religion was faith. They had substituted their works instead, and this was unacceptable before God.
In Chapter 10, Paul examines more closely Israel's problem. Sadly the Israelites willfully and obstinately rejected the truth as taught in the Old Testament and as further disclosed by our Lord Jesus Christ. It was the kind of ignorance which says, "Don't confuse me with the facts; my mind is already made up." In seeking to earn their own righteousness, they stubbornly refused to submit to the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Christ is, indeed, the end of the Law to all who believe, but the Jews preferred their interpretation of the Law to its true meaning and fulfillment.
Our salvation is not remote and removed and in need of our striving and effort. Rather it is before our very eyes. It is the salvation available in the message of the Gospel and achieved on the cross of Calvary. It is, in the words of Moses, in our mouths and in our heart. And what is the message of the Gospel? "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved"
Discussion will focus on what the Gospel offers. It proclaims salvation to all who will believe, by faith, in Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Concerning the matter of eternal salvation, we know that there are NOT two ways to obtain it, but only one. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me" (John 14:6). But in the mind of the Jews there were two ways, each in competition with the other-the way of works (law-keeping) and the way of faith (Paul's gospel). Do we have the same problem that complicated the Jews on their path to salvation?
All men of the congregation are invited to attend.
WORN/TATTERED AMERICAN FLAGS
If you have a worn out, tattered, or faded US flag you need to properly dispose of, you can bring it to the church and Don Cleveland will deliver it to his Veterans of Foreign Wars Post for a proper and respectful disposal.
AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AEDS) -
St Paul Lutheran Church has 2 AEDs for use in an emergency. One is located in the Gathering Room hanging on the east wall (near the classroom door) and the other is in the Family Life Center/School in the Lobby.
Monday, Oct 21 at 3:30 pm, meet at Third Planet Brewery in Niceville (1400 E John Sims Pkwy behind Walmart). See sign-up sheets in Underdahl Hall for lunch and tour.
Panhandle Gathering: Vitality Workshop
Vitality is a spiritually focused strategic planning process into which we most intentionally invite God. The "Process" begins as we focus ourselves anew with God by means of Centering/Contemplative Prayer. This prayer style is foundational to our success and it works! We will explore why this process is important for our congregations today and how other congregations have been positively affected. As well, we will learn a bit about congregation life cycles, explore Jesus' understandings about discipleship, share information about generative hospitality, and begin to investigate and practice Centering/Contemplative Prayer. It is for every congregation that is looking to renew God's Vision and Plan for them. We've scheduled a first gathering for a Vitality introduction at St. Paul's Lutheran in Niceville on Saturday, October 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This will be for congregations in the Panhandle Conference. Who should come to this gathering? Bring along people who are your prayers; those extremely committed to God and connected to your congregation through prayer. Also bring the decision-makers, leaders, and congregation council members. We'll break for lunch at about 11:30 a.m. It will be shared by the host congregation and we will ask for your help in covering the cost. There will be books for purchase. Please bring cash or a checkbook. Sign up in Underdahl Hall by October 11 if you are planning on attending.
Vitality Conference Luncheon
On Saturday, October 19, we will be hosting a one day conference on improving the vitality of a congregation. A representative from the Florida-Bahamas Synod will be here to lead the conference, and we will be joined by several other congregations in the Florida Panhandle.
The conference runs from 9:00 am-2:00 pm with lunch at noon. If you plan to come, we need to know, so we can prepare enough food for the luncheon. It will be a light lunch with sandwiches and salads. The cost for the lunch is $5, payable at the door.
If you are going to come, please sign up on the signup sheet in Underdahl Hall, so we know how many to prepare lunch for.
Reformation Festival is coming!
> When: October 27th after single 10:00 am service
- What: Fine food, mammoth inflatable slide, 52' warrior dash balance challenge tunnel, big & little bounce houses, LYO fun & games with prizes.
- Fare: Family $22; Adult $10; Children under twelve $4
What you can do:
(1) Purchase tickets early* to avoid wasted food and control cost.
(2) Make desserts
(3) Find or donate door prizes
* Eligibility for prizes is limited to holders of tickets purchased by Friday, October 18th.
To add to the trove of prize incentives, if you know a business that will donate a promotional item for its advertising, marketing, or goodwill, please solicit ASAP. If you have a business donor or yard sale gem that might motivate early ticket purchases as a prize, please contact Gary Butler at 830-2720. Any other prize ideas are also welcomed.
Ticket sales will begin September 30th after Sunday services in Underdahl Hall. Also, Laura has graciously agreed to sell tickets in the church office beginning Monday, October 8th.
LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF QUILTERS
Thank you to everyone who helped with the Quilts and Personal Care Kits this year. We sent LWR 117 quilts and 107 Personal Care Kits. The 28 boxes contained 224 items and weighed 654 pounds.
Last fall we gave all the quilts we had made since the August 2018 shipment, 24 quilts, to people in Panama City after Hurricane Michael. So St Paul LWR Quilters actually made 141 quilts this year.
Fran Clark led our Personal Care Kits drive. We are already thinking about what Kits to make for the coming year. LWR distributes Quilts, Personal Care Kits, Baby Care Kits, Fabric Kits, School Kits, Fleece Tied Blankets, and Bath Size Soap.
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped throughout the year, contributing supplies, money, time and labor. And thanks to those who helped with all the work in August. It takes many people to make this mission happen.
Our quilts and kits went to our closest LWR Ingathering site, Holy Trinity Lutheran in Daphne, Alabama. A semi-truck trailer was packed with boxes from various Lutheran congregations. Those boxes contained: 6 Fleece Blankets, 682 Quilts, 455 Personal Care Kits, 351 School Kits, 30 Baby Care Kits and 213 pounds of bath size bar soap. The weight was 4230 pounds.
Our next quilt tie is Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21, beginning about 9:30 in the Fellowship Hall. Come and go as you please. No commitments required. It feels good to do good.
WOMEN OF ST. PAUL
Our next meeting will be held on Saturday, OCTOBER 12 at 10 am in the Fellowship Hall. We changed the date of our meeting because the Vitality Workshop is being held on the date of our regular meeting. We have several upcoming events that we need to plan:
Wednesday, October 23 - We are providing the meal for the congregational dinner. We are serving chili and all the fixings. Money raised will be divided between the Pavilion, Calm House, and postage to send Baby Care Kits. We will also be selling raffle tickets for a beautiful quilt that will be available at our Reformation Festival on October 27. The cost of tickets is $5 for one, or $20 for six.
November 8-10 - Women's Fall Gathering at Lake Yale. Registration deadline is October 15. This is a great opportunity to get to know women from all across our synod, as well as the women from our church. Fran Clark has agreed to be our voting member. The cost is about $212, which includes lodging, delicious meals, and a weekend filled with worship, Bible Study, workshops, and fellowship.
Sunday, November 17 - Thankoffering Sunday. On that date, we want as many women as possible to participate in BOTH SERVICES as readers, ushers, greeters, communion assistants, and worship assistants. Dona Charlton will preach. The special thankoffering gathered will go to the Pavilion, Calm House, and postage to mail Baby Care Kits.
Community Pastoral Counseling
A ministry of St. Paul Lutheran Church and School
Rev. Robert R. Lutz, PhD Diplomate
American Association of Pastoral Counselors
Call 850-843-3083 for Information or to make an appointment