Bulletin Inserts

These weekly bulletin inserts provide information about the history, music, liturgy, mission, and ministry of The Episcopal Church. For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

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For use on: February 24, 2019


Today is the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, which brings the season of Epiphany very near to its end. In 10 days, the church will begin observing Lent. Ash Wednesday falls on March 6 this year, and marks the beginning of the season of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter.

The period of 40 days, which traditionally does not include Sundays, commemorates the “40 days and 40 nights” (Matthew 4:2) that Jesus fasted in the desert and then resisted temptations from Satan.

Episcopal Lent Ash Wednesday The word “Lent” comes from an Old English word for “spring,” and is derived from the German word “lang,” meaning “long,” because during this season before Easter, the hours of daylight become longer.

The Book of Common Prayer explains Lent in this way: “The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church (Book of Common Prayer, pp. 264-265).

The Episcopal Church invites us to observe Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 265).

For use on: February 17, 2019

Janani Luwum was born in 1922 at Acholi in Uganda, near the Sudanese border. After his early years as a teacher and lay reader in Gulu, he was sent to St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury. He was ordained priest in 1956 and returned to Uganda to assume responsibility for twenty-four congregations. After several years of service that included work at a local theological college, Luwum returned to England on scholarship for further study at the London College of Divinity.

In 1969, Luwum became Bishop of Northern Uganda, where he was a faithful visitor to his parishes as well as a growing influence at international gatherings of the Anglican Communion. In 1974, he was elected Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire.

Luwum’s new position brought him into direct contact and eventual confrontation with the Ugandan military dictator, Idi Amin, as the Archbishop sought to protect his people from the brutality of Amin’s regime. In August of 1976, Makerere University was sacked by government troops. With Archbishop Luwum as their chair, the Christian leaders of the country drafted a strong memorandum of protest against officially sanctioned rape and murder.

In early February 1977, the Archbishop’s residence was searched for arms by government security forces. On February 16, President Amin summoned Luwum to his palace. He went there, accompanied by the other Anglican bishops and by the Roman Catholic cardinal archbishop and a senior leader of the Muslim community. After being accused of complicity in a plot to murder the President, most of the clerics were allowed to leave. However, Archbishop Luwum was ordered to remain behind. As his companions departed, Luwum said, “They are going to kill me. I am not afraid.” He was never seen alive again. The following day the government announced that he had been killed in an automobile accident while resisting arrest. Only after some weeks had passed was his bullet-riddled body released to his family for burial.

Early in his confrontation with the Ugandan government, Archbishop Luwum answered one of his critics by saying, “I do not know how long I shall occupy this chair. I live as though there will be no tomorrow... While the opportunity is there, I preach the gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God.”

Collect for Janani Luwum, Archbishop and Martyr

O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep: We give you thanks for your faithful shepherd, Janani Luwum, who after his Savior’s example gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Note: This brief biography of Janani Luwum comes from A Great Cloud of Witnesses, Church Publishing, 2016.

For use on: February 10, 2019

In honor of Black History Month and Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has invited Episcopalians everywhere to deepen our participation in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation by engaging with and supporting Episcopal Historically Black Colleges and Universities, known as HBCUs.

Absalom Jones EpiscopalCongregations and individuals are urged to dedicate the offering from their observance of the Feast of Absalom Jones (February 13) to support the two Episcopal HBCUs: St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., and Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C. “These schools bring educational, economic, and social opportunity to often resource-poor communities, and they offer many blessings into the life of the Episcopal Church,” Bishop Curry said. Donations to the HBCUs will provide much-needed help to offer competitive scholarships and financial aid, attract and retain exceptional faculty, support cutting-edge faculty research, install new and upgraded technology campus-wide, and provide state-of-the-art classroom and athletic equipment.

“The Episcopal Church established and made a life-long covenant with these schools, and they are an essential part of the fabric of our shared life,” the Presiding Bishop noted.

Jones was an African-American abolitionist and clergyman and the first African American ordained a priest in The Episcopal Church. He was born enslaved to Abraham Wynkoop in 1746 in Delaware. Jones moved to Philadelphia after his master sold his plantation along with Absalom’s mother and six siblings. Jones bought his wife Mary’s freedom and later his master granted Absalom’s emancipation in 1784. In 1787, with his friend Richard Allen, they founded the Free African Society, a mutual aid benevolent organization that was the first of its kind organized by and for black people. Jones was ordained a priest on September 21, 1802, faithfully serving the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia, a church which remains a vibrant congregation.

“As we approach February, the remembrance of the Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church, we have a unique opportunity to celebrate his memory and to honor the witness of two schools that continue to form new leaders,” Bishop Curry said. “In honor of Jones’ commitment to advancing the education of African Americans and promoting the development of African American leaders in all areas of life, the Episcopal Church is delighted to designate Saint Augustine’s University and Voorhees College as the beneficiaries of the 2019 Feast of Absalom Jones offerings.”

Donations are accepted at episcopalchurch.org/give. For more information, contact Cecilia Malm, Development Officer, at [email protected] or (212) 716-6062.

For use on: February 3, 2019

Each year on February 2, the church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, also known as the Feast of the Purification, and Candlemas. This feast commemorates the 40th day after Jesus’ birth, when he was presented in the Jerusalem Temple and Mary was purified in accordance with Jewish Law.

The Book of Leviticus mandates that, after childbirth, a woman must go to the temple to offer “two turtle-doves or two pigeons, one for a burnt-offering and the other for a sin-offering; and the priest shall make atonement on her behalf, and she shall be clean” (Leviticus 12:8).

The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is chronicled in the Gospel of Luke, when St. Simeon the Righteous saw Jesus in the temple and “took him in his arms and praised God,” saying, “My eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30).

This blessing by Simeon is the basis for the canticle Nunc dimittis or “The Song of Simeon”:

Lord, you now have set your servant free
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen
(Luke 2:29-32; Book of Common Prayer, p. 120).

An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, edited by Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, explains that when the celebration of the Presentation was first introduced in Rome in the seventh century, it included a procession with candles and the singing of the Nunc dimittis, which is why this feast also became known as “Candlemas.”

Collect for the Presentation
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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