Musicians worth remembering

Posted on July 21st, 2017 by sitemanager

A message from Paul Kasten
Director of Liturgy and Music

On July 28, Lutherans everywhere commemorate Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and George Frederick Handel (1685-1759). The calendar is full of hundreds of commemorations: church fathers from the era of the apostles, theological luminaries of the past 2,000 years, modern-day reformers and humanitarians, and others. July 28 is the only time, however, that we choose to remember church musicians. And Handel and Bach are definitely worth remembering. Almost exact contemporaries (who never met), they came at the end of what we call the Baroque era of music history. Both of them summed up and perfected everything which had happened musically before them.

Bach spent his entire life in rather provincial towns in Germany. Handel, although born in Germany, spent most of his creative life in the cosmopolitan city of London. Bach was known primarily as a church musician of the highest possible order; he composed 300 church cantatas for soloists, chorus, and orchestra. He also composed vast quantities of keyboard music (organ, harpsichord, and the like; he invented the keyboard concerto) and other instrumental music. Handel, on the other hand, was known throughout most of his career as an opera composer; it was only at the end of his life, when his operas became less popular, that he turned to composing oratorios (such as Messiah) and orchestral music (including dozens of organ concertos, the Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks).

On Sunday, July 30 (the 28th falls on a Friday), we’ll hear both Bach and Handel, instrumental and vocal pieces. We will offer only a small sampling of their music; I hope it encourages you to explore their music further. Their music is so beautiful, so intellectually stimulating, so remarkable, that one never tires of listening to it. These days, recorded performances of Handel and Bach are anything but dry and pedantic. Modern interpreters are reimagining all their music in unbelievable new ways. If you’d like some ideas about what to listen to first, talk to me or to Jim Burmeister. We’ll be happy to make some suggestions. See you on the 30th!

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News for the week of July 23

Posted on July 21st, 2017 by sitemanager

Click here to download the latest edition of Hands and Feet, Mount Carmel’s weekly newsletter.

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Mud pits, water slides, and Bible study

Posted on July 14th, 2017 by sitemanager

A message from Gwendolyn Geissler

Gwendolyn Geissler shares about her church camp experience at Lutherdale, which is north of Elkhorn on the shores of Lauderdale Lakes.

Lutherdale is a wonderful church camp I was lucky enough to be able to go to this summer. It was amazing to be in a place where children and adults are all celebrating and sharing God’s love for us. Lutherdale is very focused on helping kids understand God better and grow in their faith while having a lot of fun. This was my second summer at Lutherdale, and I could not wait to go!

At Lutherdale I made great friendships with the kids in my cabin and in my village (the group of two to three cabins that you do almost all of your activities with). I also got to know some good friends even better. We had team building every day where you have to trust each other so you can complete the activities, and that helped us really get close to each other. The counselors that you spend your time with are amazing and are there to help support the kids and help them grow in their faith. The counselors and staff love their jobs – my counselor came from Argentina just to work at Lutherdale for the summer, and she was amazing. Lutherdale is a great place to connect with other kids and the counselors, and you feel like you really belong there because everyone is a part of God’s family and they all care about each other.

We went swimming and did challenge courses. Some kids climbed the rock wall and were able to zip line down. I really liked the mud pit and then going down the gigantic water slide to get clean. Lutherdale even has a farm where you can feed and help care for the animals. Every day we have two worships and a Bible study. At Lutherdale both the staff and the campers are excited about faith and worship because all of their worship services include fun skits and upbeat songs while also mixing in Bible passages and learning about God. I really enjoyed the crazy songs and will be singing them for years to come.

I have attended other great camps, but going to a camp that celebrates God is something special, and that is why Lutherdale was such an amazing experience for me. I would recommend that all kids have the opportunity to experience the wonders of Lutherdale.

For more information about Lutherdale, go to www.lutherdale.org.

Mount Carmel supports both Lutherdale and Crossways Camping Ministries through our Mission of the Month giving. Find more information about Crossways at www.crosswayscamps.org.

 

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News for the week of July 16

Posted on July 14th, 2017 by sitemanager

Click here to download the latest edition of Mount Carmel’s Hands and Feet newsletter. Inside, you’ll read about a young member’s experience this summer at church camp.

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These cards are meaningful gifts

Posted on July 7th, 2017 by sitemanager

A message from Pastor Jim Greear

It happened again this morning, as it does several times a week. A phone call and the voice on the other end of the line saying, “Yes, I was wondering if you could help me out with some (fill in the blank)?” The “blank” of the request, however it is couched, is generally a plea for financial help.

And every time it happens, an ethical dilemma takes place in my head with fragments of thoughts flying through the air like acrobats. Is this a legitimate request? This person sounds familiar – am I really helping them or just enabling them? What if it is true – how can I turn away a request for something as necessary as electricity, food for the kids, clothes? What if we’re being scammed – that happens sometimes. How much is enough? I don’t have time for this now, but how can I not have time for this now? Virtually every time, though the encounter may be brief, the acrobatic internal debate leaves me feeling a bit exhausted.

How can we best be faithful stewards of the Gospel, faithful stewards of our resources, faithful stewards of our time, and helpful stewards to needful people? The consensus among us “front line” folks is that simply giving cash or a check seems to be more of a salve to our own conscience and opens us up to that exhausting and icky second-guessing. We have concluded that perhaps the best way to honor the call to serve and the call to stewardship was through the offering of pre-loaded gift cards to places like Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Speedway, Pick N Save, Sentry and the like – places where people could go and be helped if they have legitimate need for food, clothing, or gas. It felt like this would enable us to dispense with vetting someone and enable us, rather, to listen to someone and hear their story.

Perhaps you noted that our “Mission of the Month” for June was the Good Shepherd Fund, that store of reserves to help just such people. Perhaps you noticed that we were making an ask for gift cards or capital to help us purchase such cards. First, I wanted you to have a bit of an understanding why we’re making that ask. But second …

Well, back to the phone call this morning. I explained to the caller that we were not able to help her financially but that we did have gift cards if she could benefit from them. She said that she and her children would love that. But when I went to retrieve a card for her to pick up later, there were only three left. So, next time you’re in line somewhere and you see that ever-present rack of gift cards by the cash register, keep us in mind. These “cups of cold water” in plastic form are worth every penny!

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News for the week of July 9

Posted on July 7th, 2017 by sitemanager

Click here to read the latest edition of Hands and Feet, Mount Carmel’s weekly newsletter. You’ll also learn about coming events in this week’s 75th Anniversary bulletin insert.

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A mission to bless and be blessed

Posted on June 30th, 2017 by sitemanager

A message from Pastor Jim Greear

I find it interesting that the Gospel lessons for the month of June have been from Jesus’ discourses to his disciples before sending them out on their inaugural mission trip. I find it interesting because this year is my inaugural mission trip with the youth group. In fact, it is the inaugural trip for all of us, with the exception of Dani Ovanin, to the Mosaic Bethphage Village in Nebraska.

Admittedly, our excursion won’t be like the disciples’ – walking from town to town, raising the dead, casting out demons, wondering if we’re gonna have to shake this town’s dust off our feet, facing opposition and persecution. No, we’re taking a Lamers coach bus to Axtell, Nebraska, and the Mosaic Village there for adults with intellectual disabilities, a place that’s already rolling out the red carpet for our arrival. There’s no presumption of us working miracles. The only expectation for our ministry there is to be present and participate.

But still there’s anxiety. And I would say, as with most “missionaries,” that anxiety is equal parts about who we’re going to see and how we’re going to do with who we’re going to see. Will I do well? Or will I spectacularly fail? Will I be helpful and liked, or will I be a burden and feel out of place? How will I get along with these folks? How will I get along with whoever is going along?

Yet while this may be our inaugural trip, I know there are a number of you missionary “veterans” out there. You’ve been on trips like this before and, in a nutshell, this is what I hear from you: You will be blessed yourselves often in ways that exceed your being a blessing to others. And that quells our anxiety. In fact, that makes us anxious in a good way – it turns our trepidation into anticipation.

Please keep us in your prayers. You can do that by keeping a copy of the bulletin today (they’re on the back page) or the Prayer Ministry list, and praying for each one of us by name. You can certainly pray for a safe journey there and back, but also keep us in your prayers for that “other” journey we are taking – that more important journey in our hearts and spirits as we reach out to bless the residents at Mosaic. Pray that we, too, will come back finding the blessing we were sent to give being returned many fold, changing us as much as changing those we seek to serve.

And while we’re there, don’t forget that you can be on your own “mission trip” right here in your own backyard and neighborhoods, too. You don’t have to pack a bag or catch a bus. All you need is a willingness to be open to the presence of God in those you meet every day, aware of the blessing that you, too, carry with you from this place. And we’ll keep you in our prayers as well!

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News for the week of July 2

Posted on June 30th, 2017 by sitemanager

Click here to download the latest edition of Mount Carmel’s Hands and Feet newsletter. You’ll learn more about the youth ministry mission trip that begins July 9.  Be sure to also check out this weekend’s bulletin insert for details on the ways we are celebrating Mount Carmel’s 75th anniversary.

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News for the week of June 25

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 by sitemanager

Click here to download the latest edition of Hands and Feet, Mount Carmel’s weekly newsletter. Inside you’ll learn three spiritual lessons of walking and read about our bishop’s invitation to go on prayer walks in our own neighborhoods.

If you’re interested in bicycling, too, check out all the details for Mount Carmel’s Family Bike Ride coming up on Saturday, August 19.

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3 spiritual lessons of walking

Posted on June 23rd, 2017 by sitemanager

Walking forces us to slow down and notice creation. It teaches us to always put one foot in front of the other. And it brings us into community, Kimberly Knowle-Zeller writes in her post on the Living Lutheran website. Read her post, and consider an invitation from our Greater Milwaukee Synod bishop to try a prayer walk in your neighborhood.

Bishop Paul Erickson invites us to notice what’s happening in our neighborhoods, to meet and listen to our neighbors, to get to know their hopes for our neighborhoods. Our Congregation Council will be going on prayer walks in the Mount Carmel neighborhood in the coming days and weeks, and we invite you to  do so in your own neighborhood! See an example of how another synod is getting to know its neighbors at www.livinglocalnw.com.

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