Parish News

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Easter 2019

From the March 2019 Parish News . . .

by Fr. Shannon Clark

In the New Testament, leaven is often compared to sin and false teaching.

The church at Galatia was being afflicted with sin, false teaching, and heresy.  St. Paul, that great apostle to the gentiles, rebuked and strengthened the young church with the following words:

“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.  I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.”

In other words, a little false teaching and a little bit of sin has crept in.  Like leaven, it will quickly spread and corrupt everything.  Soon, the entire gospel will be distorted and lost if the tiny bit of sin and false teaching is not removed and corrected.

This example of the Galatians serves to show us how easy it is to become complacent and deceived, and I think that this is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church incorporated the penitential season of Lent very early on in her history. Lent is a time when the entire church turns inward and examines itself in light of God’s commandments with the help of the Holy Ghost.  It is a time in which the Holy Ghost can clear our vision and lead us into the truth.

Like so often, a tradition developed out of these ideas.  Shrove Tuesday was a time in which, just before Ash Wednesday, the people would clean out their hearts through the sacrament of penance.  They would be “shriven” of their sins.  Likewise, pancakes also came to be associated with Shrove Tuesday because, as people cleansed their hearts from the leaven of sin in the sacrament of confession, so also they cleansed their pantries from leaven by making breads and other things in preparation for the Lenten fast.

On another note, ashes are associated with the fall of Adam, mortality and the curse of death.  The bottom line is that we are mortal.  We sin.  And, lest pride take hold on our hearts, we are called on Ash Wednesday to remember these things by receiving a sign of our mortality on our forehead in the shape of the blessed cross.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, 10 March 2019, the vestry is scheduled to meet following the service.

Sunday, 17 March 2019, the Anglican Church Women are scheduled to meet following the service.

Sunday, 31 March 2019, please bring donations of pantry staples, including such items as flour, salt, sugar, and canned or boxed goods, for the Shelby Emergency Assistance Fifth Sunday Food Drive.

Attention:  Men

Holy Comforter needs additional ushers.  No experience is necessary, and, contrary to popular belief, your name does not have to be “George” to serve.  If you are interested, please see George Marozsan or George Sawada.

A 70-year-old Martini

by Thomas Graves, organ scholar

The Holtkamp pipe organ that leads us in hymns of praise every Sunday at the Church of the Holy Comforter is approaching 70 years old.  With it is a history that goes back a few more years.  The organs of Walter Holtkamp are usually associated with the neo-baroque movement which began in the mid-1950s.  Holtkamp’s influence in the organ industry, however, goes back to the mid-1930s.  The invention of the Hammond organ in 1935 resonated not only with churches and organists but also with organ builders.  According to Orpha Ochse in The History of the Organ in the United States:  “In 1936, when the organ industry was in a frenzy over the new rivalry from the Hammond company, Holtkamp suggested that if the electronic manufacturers were willing to spend so much money marketing their instruments it was ‘just possible’ that something might be wrong with the modern organ.”

Concerned with the electronic organ, Walter Holtkamp sought to design a functional organ to meet the needs of growing organ departments across the country.  The concept of the Holtkamp organ at the Church of the Holy Comforter was discussed by Oberlin Conservatory faculty members Grigg Fountain, Arthur Poister, and Fenner Douglass, who met with organ builder Walter Holtkamp at the old Oberlin Inn in the fall of 1948.  Fountain related, “We adjourned to a new apartment which Fenner and I had rented together — both being still single.  We had martinis and put down every possibility we could think of for cross-duplication and unification to get the most for the least within what we then considered prime musical considerations. The resulting organ was that first Martini.  It was delivered early in the spring of 1949.”

Many Holtkamp Martini organs can be found in universities across America to this day.  According to Janet Seaman, this particular organ came from Syracuse University.  Since there is no opus number associated with this instrument, an exact date of manufacture cannot be determined.  But, I can safely say that since Arthur Poister served as organ professor at Syracuse University from 1948 to 1968, the Martini organ at the Church of the Holy Comforter is an early model.  Holtkamp organs are particularly known for their pronounced pipe displays.

“The Lord sware, and shall not repent, Thou art a Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:4

In a votive mass of the Holy Ghost, the Rt. Rev. Dr. John E. Upham Jr., bishop ordinary of the Atlantic States, ordained Fr. Shannon L. Clark at Holy Comforter on Saturday, 9 February 2019.

Following his ordination, the clergy and the people came forward to be blessed by the new priest and to kiss his palms.

Fr. Shannon blesses a child from St. Charles Anglican Church in Huntsville, AL.
After all others had come to receive a blessing, the Rev. Canon Benton E. Jones, Jr., presenter, knelt before the former ordinand to receive his own blessing.

In memoriam

Bennie Dale Middaugh

Bennie Dale Middaugh, former choir master of Holy Comforter and professor emeritus of voice at the University of Montevallo, departed this life Saturday, 20 October 2018.  A requiem mass was celebrated Saturday, 27 October 2018.  Please remember Laurie, and the entire Middaugh family, in your prayers.

For more information, click here.

Laurie and Bennie, Paris May 2001

excerpts from our parish newsletter

October 2018

A message from our Senior Warden:

As Deacon Clark escalates his studies and preparation for his upcoming ordination, he will be taking a short break from his monthly article. Please pray for him and his family during this exciting, but stressful, time.

Dear Parish Family,

Please join us on October 14th for a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Anglican Church of the Holy Comforter. This is a tremendous milestone in the life of the Church and it is fitting that we recognize the importance of this event. We should be grateful for the vision and dedication of the founding members.

As always, thank you for your continuing financial support to Holy Comforter. It is the selfless generosity of members throughout the years that has made this anniversary possible.

Your faithfulness is greatly appreciated.



October birthdays:

October Birthdays:
22nd Bishop Wiygul
24th Becky H.
27th Sherry D.
28th Maddon E.
31st Miriam C.
31st Jesse J.

Musical thoughts from the choirmaster:

“Christ is our Cornerstone. On Him alone we build.”

The subject of this month’s article will focus on the sacred music selected for the Anniversary Celebration of 14 October 2018, in which the Mass to Obtain the Grace of the Holy Spirit will be celebrated.

The Opening Voluntary will be Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from his opera Orphee at Eurydice. Written for two solo flutes and string orchestra, it will be performed in a reduction for organ, In memoriam aeternum, of the founders of this Parish who wait for us on a distant shore and in a greater light.

The choir will then intone their Chorister’s Prayer before singing the Introit, “Now God be praised in Heaven above” from the rear of the Nave. The tune, ending with three joyful Alleluias, was composed by Melchior Vulpius (1570-1615), a German singer, schoolmaster and composer of church music.

Our processional hymn will be “Christ is made the sure Foundation,” a 7th century Latin text. The translation is that of John Mason Neale, considerably altered in many lines. It first appeared in the Hymnal in 1874. Henry Purcell (1659-1695), an English composer, wrote the tune Westminster Abbey. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell’s legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no later native-born Englishman approached his fame until Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, William Walton and Benjamin Britten in the 20h century. Purcell is buried adjacent to the organ in Westminster Abbey. His epitaph reads: “Here lyes Henry Purcell Esq., who left this life and is gone to that Blessed Place where only His harmony can be exceeded.” This hymn is one of the favourites in the United Kingdom, having been sung at coronations, weddings and funerals and upon State occasions.

“Thou, whose almighty word” the Gradual Hymn, is based upon Genesis I:3, and was written by John Marriott, c. 1813. It was not published during his lifetime, but was quoted six weeks after his death by Thomas Mortimer in a speech before the London Missionary Society 12 May 1825. Moscow, the tune name, was composed by Felice de Giardini in 1769, and harmonised for The New Hymnal, 1916.

In keeping with the intention of the Mass to Obtain the Grace of the Holy Spirit, the Sermon hymn, “Come down, O Love divine” was chosen. It is from a collection of hymns by Bianco da Siena, c. 1376, Laudi Spirituali, edited by Telesforo Bini in 1851 from a manuscript. Prior to that edition, they seem to have been relatively unknown.

An omitted stanza reads:

Let holy charity

Mine outward vesture be,

And lowliness become mine inner clothing;

True lowliness of heart,

Which takes the humbler part,

And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

The tune, Down Ampney was composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) for this text in the English Hymnal, 1906. It is named in honour of the composer’s birthplace in Gloucestershire.

“Christ is our Cornerstone,” the Offertory Anthem selected, is based upon a text from the 7th century Latin by an unknown author. One of the most successful translators of hymns, John Chandler, translated the text in 1837. Edgar H. Aufdemberge (1922-1978) composed the tune. Aufdemberge, a Missouri Synod Lutheran, was a professor at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York, and a member of the LCMS’s Board of Parish Education. The score is marked “with strong, angular rhythm, not fast.”

Mozart’s motet, “Ave verum Corpus,” the Anthem at Communion, was discussed in last month’s Newsletter.

“My God, thy table now is spread,” the second Anthem at Communion, was written by Philip Doddridge in 1755, and was first published in Hymns founded on various Texts in the Holy Scriptures, with the caption: “God’s name profaned, when His Table is treated with contempt. Malachi I:12. Applied to the Lord’s Supper.” Rockingham, the tune named for the Marquis of Rockingham, was adapted by Edward Miller in his Psalms of David, 1790, from a melody called Tunbridge. Miller’s Psalms of David was a popular publication with nearly 5000 subscribers beginning with George III. The present harmonisation is one by Samuel Webbe, published in 1820.

The picture of the heavenly Jerusalem has long been a favourite subject for the hymns of the Church. It is a fusion of two divergent, opposing elements: the earthly versus the heavenly, material vs. mystical, sensuous vs. spiritual. The Christian concept of future blessedness shows a curious intermingling of these concepts. In the book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible, New Jerusalem is Ezekiel’s prophetic view of a city centered on the rebuilt Holy Temple to be established in Jerusalem. It will be inhabited by people to live eternally in spirit form, created by God as a gift to mankind. Other descriptive terms include the Tabernacle of God, Holy City, Celestial City, Zion and Shining City on a Hill. In the book of the Revelation of St. John the Divine, the city is also called the Heavenly Jerusalem. In this way, it represents to Christians the final and everlasting reconciliation of God and His chosen people, the end of the Christian pilgrimage.

“Blessed city, heavenly Salem” is found in the oldest extant manuscripts of hymns, dating from the 9th century – possibly as early as the 6th. It and “Christ is made the sure foundation” are part of a large work of ancient poetry ending with the Doxology. Found in most of the mediaeval rites as the proper office hymn for the dedication of the church, it is divided in The Hymnal, 1940 as nos. 383 and 384. Oriel, the tune name, was composed by Caspar Ett (1788-1847) for the Latin Hymn “Pange lingua” and was first published in 1840. Ett was the court organist at St. Michael’s Church in Munich and is credited in the revival of choral music from the 16th to the 18th century. He was the music teacher of King Maximilian II. Ett composed several Masses and other Catholic church music. His most popular work is his “Requiem in c minor” for choir, orchestra and organ.

Nicholaus Bruhns ((1665-1697), a Danish-German organist, violinist and composer, wrote the “Praeludium in e minor” which will be heard on the 14th. He was one of the most prominent composers and organists of his generation. A student of Dieterich Buxtehude, his professor considered him his best pupil. Bruhns’ surviving oeuvre is unfortunately small: only twelve vocal and five organ pieces are extant. This composition is cited as one of the greatest works of the North German organ tradition.

Soli Deo gloria

July 2018

A message from our deacon:

Seeing the Face of Faith, Hope and Love

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…” I Thessalonians 1:2-3.

This week I was reflecting upon all of the good things that are happening at Holy Comforter and the verses from St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians came to mind. I was also struck by the way St. Paul describes our life as Christians in a very active way. Faith works. Love labors. Hope is patient. I was reminded that our life as Christians is not a sprint but a marathon. And I would like use this article to encourage all of you to see how God is using everything in our lives to accomplish his work through us.

First, we should rejoice in the completion of the repairs to the parish hall and chapel. There is so much more involved in it than shingles and paint and canvas for the awnings. It is a work of faith and a labor of love. The sacrificial giving was done with a spirit of joy by people who believe that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Thanks to the work and faith of so many, God has placed us in the position to invite our neighbors to an outwardly beautiful place that we may come and worship Him in the beauty of holiness. This is a blessing from God. But let us press on to the next step of blessing others. The Church prays “God be merciful unto us, and bless us…THAT thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations” (Psalm 67:1-2; BCP, p. 418). God blesses us so that we may bless others by calling them to the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

Second, in order to point out ways in which we may do this together, I ask you to make use of this newsletter. It too is a work of faith and a labor of love. The articles are written in order to build you up and inform you of the things that are going on in the parish. Many of you have requested prayers for your friends, family and neighbors.

Please take time and let them know not only that we are praying for them but how we are praying for them. The prayers are in the Prayer Book and are as follows: For those who are home-bound, we pray For the Absent, p. 596; For those on our corporate prayer list, we pray For the Recovery of a Sick Person, p. 597; For the faithfully departed, you may share with the family that we pray For an Anniversary of One Departed, p. 598. Share this with them personally or write them a handwritten letter. Also, intently read the articles from our Senior Ward, Choirmaster and the well-written study by Mr. Steve Williams, on the Lord’s Prayer. Remember also the faithful work of the editor of the newsletter, his beloved wife Mrs. Gwen Williams. These all are works of faith and labors of love. Let us use them wisely.

Another way that we can bless others, through Christ and His gospel, is to participate in this month’s Food Drive for the S.E.A. Mrs. Karen Pendleton works hard for others each day. As we bring our donations and drop them off in the kitchen, take a Prayer Book and pray the prayer For all Poor, Homeless, and Neglected Folk on p. 599. This way your offering is sanctified to God’s use and serves to further Christ and His Gospel.

Next, I would like to announce that through the work and labor of Mrs. Carole Sawada and Stan Graham, the new Holy Comforter website is now up and running. Pray that God may use this tool to bring others into His Church.

Finally, I debated about using people’s names in this article. It seems that the Apostles did not shy away from it. St. Paul named specific names in his letters. Especially when he wanted to praise the example that was being set by the faithful. I know that there are many others in our parish who are faithful and devoted to Christ. My intention is so that you would know about the things that some of our parishioners are doing. I personally thank you all for your work of faith, labor of love and especially, your patient hope. Thank you, members of the Altar Guild! Thank you, members of the Vestry! Thank you, choir members! Thank you, ushers! Thank you, all of the Faithful who attend the Holy Communion and worship God on Sunday and throughout the week! Your work of faith, labor of love, and patient hope are not forgotten! They are the fruit of the Spirit and evidence of Christ among us.

Faithfully yours,

Deacon Clark+

Musical thoughts from the Choirmaster

“Let the melody start. Let music fill your heart.”

Two anthems and a hymn with music by Russian composers will be used during the month of July.

The tune for “Lo, a voice to heaven sounding” was arranged by Piotr Tchaikovsky from a composition by Dmytro Stepanovych Bortniansky (1751-1825). Bortniansky was born in Ukraine and grew up singing in the choir of the Russian Imperial Court. During his directorship of the Imperial Court Chapel, the choir performed not only his music and that of other Russian composers but also Handel’s “Messiah” and Haydn’s “Creation.” Two of Bortniansky’s hymns are found in The Hymnal, 1940 – “Saviour, breathe an evening blessing” and “Before Thy throne, O God.” The text is by Henry Wilder Foote (1875-1964), a Unitarian minister, scholar, teacher and hymnologist.

The tune for the hymn “God the Omnipotent!”, the Russian National Anthem, was composed by Alexis Fyodorovich Lvov (1799-1870), an army officer, violinist, composer and conductor. His father, Feodor Petrovich Lvov, succeeded Bortniansky as Maestro of the Imperial Chapel in St. Petersburg. Lvov counted Mendelssohn, Mayerbeer and Spontini amongst his personal friends. Henry Fothergill Chorley and John Ellerton wrote the words.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul” is an anthem based upon Psalm ciii. Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) composed the tune for his beautiful setting of the Divine Liturgy. It illustrates the simplicity of this piece that belies the depth of spirituality through the marriage of words and music. Ippolitov-Ivanov entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1875 and was a composition pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. On 1 May 1886, he conducted the premier of Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet.” In 1893, Ippolitov-Ivanov became a professor at the Conservatory in Moscow, of which he was director from 1905-1924. He also served as conductor for the Russian Choral Society and Bolshoi Theatre.

Treasurer’s Report

We had some rather major expenses in June, as we had to spend more than $8,000 replacing an HVAC unit, and we also completed work on the Parish Hall.  But at the same time, we had very good contributions for the month so the deficit was actually smaller than one might have expected and we still have a surplus for the year.  I am thankful for this.

Stan Graham

Deliver Us from Evil

by Steve Williams

“Deliver  us  from  evil”  is  a  somewhat  misleading  translation.   In  the  Greek of  the  New  Testament,  it  reads  deliver  us  from   “the  evil”  or,  more precisely,  “the  evil  one.”  It  makes  a  rather   large  difference.  For  there  is only  one  evil,  and  that  is  sin.   Nothing  can  defeat  us  as  long  as  we  keep faith  with  God.   Loneliness,  rejection,  grief,  cancer,  and  many  other  things   can  cause  us  suffering,  but  they  cannot  defeat  us  if  we  remain   strong with God’s  own  strength.  The  only  real  enemy  is  sin.

All  sin  traces  its  ancestry  to  the  sin  of  Satan.  Before  Adam   and  Eve  faced him  in  the  garden,  he  had  already  refused  to   serve  God,  and  enticed  a third  of  the  angels  in  heaven  to   follow  him  in  rebellion.  And  today  he  still wages  his  war   against  God  and  all  His  works.  He  has  never  ceased   perpetrating  lies  and  murder  against  God’s  children.  “Your   adversary  the devil  prowls  around  like  a  roaring  lion,  seeking   some  one  to  devour”  (1 Pet.  5:8).

The  Devil  lives  to  oppose  God’s  will.  He  temps  us  at  every   turn so  that  we might  follow  him  in  rebellion.  Yet  his  work  is   perpetually futile. For  God  is omnipotent,  His  will  is   inexorable,  and  God  never  wills  that  anyone  should sin.  God’s   plan  will  be  accomplished  in  spite  of  all  of  Satan’s  efforts.  God   alone  can  “cause  good  to  emerge  from  evil”,  as  Saint   Augustine  said.  Even the  greatest  evil  in  history,  the  torture   and  murder  of  God’s  only  Son, “brought  the  greatest  of   goods:  the  glorification  of  Christ  and  our redemption.”  In  the   words  of  Paul,  “where  sin  increased,  graced  abounded all  the   more”  (Rom.  5:20).

As  long  as  we  remain  united  to  Christ,  we  need  fear  nothing   from  our trials,  or  from  Satan  himself.  The  Devil’s  works  are   self-­‐defeating,  and they can  only  work  to  our  benefit.  For   when  we  struggle  against  temptations, we  grow  stronger  in   faith,  and  share  more  deeply  in  grace.  Pope  John Paul II  said   that  “Satan  cannot  block  the  construction  of  the  Kingdom  of  God … Indeed,  we  can  say  with  St.  Paul  that  the  work  of  the   evil  one  cooperates for  the  good  (Rom.  8:28)  and  that  it  helps   to  build  up  the  glory  of  the ‘chosen’  ones  (2  Tim.  2:10).”

We  find  proof  positive  in  the  Book  of  Job.  The  Devil  afflicts   Job  with disease  and  poverty,  and  he  brutally  takes  the  lives   of  Job’s  children  and his  livestock.  But  Job  remains  steadfast   in  his  faith  in  God’s  goodness. Through  the  ordeal,  Job  grows   in  wisdom,  and  he  proves  his  love  for  God. In  the  end,  Job  is   holier,  wiser,  and  even  richer  than  he  had  ever  been; and  so   he  is  happier.  It  seems  that  no  one  worked  harder  to  bring   holiness  to  Job  than  did  the  Devil  himself,  and  no  one  wanted   it  less.

Satan  still  works  the  same  way  today.  No  one  is  working   harder  for  our holiness  than  the  Devil  –  as  long  as  we  remain will  be  holier,  wiser,  and richer  in  the  end.  On  our  own,   we  do  not  have  the  strength  to  defeat  the Devil,  and  he   has  been  the  downfall  of  many  highly  intelligent  men   and women.  After  all,  he  is  an  angel  of  the  highest   order,  with  an  intelligence to  match.  We  pray  “deliver   us  from  the  evil  one”  because  we  know  that we  cannot   defeat  him  in  our  own  strength.  So  we  pray  the  prayer   of realists:  “Lead  us  not  into  temptation,  but  deliver  us   from  evil.”

Saint  Cyprian  said,  “When  we  have  once  asked  for   God’s  protection  against evil  and  have  obtained  it,  then   we  stand  secure  and  safe  against everything  which  the   Devil  and  the  world  work  against  us.  For  what  fear   does  a  man  have  in  this  life,  if  his  guardian  in  this  life  is   God?”  I  would add  that  He  is  not  merely  our  Guardian,   but  our  Father.

Next  time:  “The Kingdom,  The  Power,  and  The  Glory”  


4 July — Independence Day.

The collect:  O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

8 July — Vestry meeting, in the library following the service.

15 July — Anglican Church Women meeting, in the library, following the service.


  • 7th — Blake B.
  • 8th — Lou L.
  • 12th — Tasha C.
  • 13th — Keegan E.
  • 14th — Butch H.
  • 16th — Kaitlyn N.
  • 25th — Pat L., Fr. Rob Philp
  • 26th — Scott D.
  • 28th — Donnie M.
  • 29th — Cana C., Janet S.


1st — Bill and Donna P.

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