Noted jazz pianist, Deanna Witkowski makes her third appearance at St. Paul’s on June 7. A leader in composing jazz music for the church, Deanna hails from New York City where she frequently guests at churches and concert halls. She brings her own trio to St. Paul’s to perform original sacred jazz music and lead the service of Evensong at 4:00 p.m.
A piano recital with works by J. S. Bach, Johannes Brahms and Franz Liszt will be presented by Dr. Christopher Atzinger on March 1st. The St. Paul’s Chamber Singers will sing the service of Evensong at 4:00 p.m.
Praised in Gramophone for his “abundant energy, powerful fingers, big sound and natural musicality,” pianist Christopher Atzinger has performed in Austria, Germany, England, Italy, France, Spain, and Canada in addition to performances throughout the United States highlighted by concerts in New York at Carnegie Hall (Weill), New York University, St. Paul’s Chapel, Liederkranz Hall; in Chicago at the Dame Myra Hess Series and PianoForte Salon Series; and in Washington, D.C. at the Phillips Collection.
By the Rev. Brandon Filbert of St. Timothy’s, Salem
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free…Free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight, all the days of our life.(From the Benedictus, Luke 1:68-79)
It is one of life’s oddities that February – a brief, grey, and often rather miserable month – plays host to St. Valentine’s Day, the Feast of Love. Exactly why a third century Roman martyr should have become the patron of romantic love is a long and convoluted story, but it does remind us of one very useful thing: Christianity and hatred cannot walk together comfortably.
The Age of Hatred
When St. Augustine wrote his autobiographical Confessions around the year 400, he remarked that the competitive educational environment of that day forced people in debate not just to attack a point of view, but to cultivate a deep loathing for the opponent, to take up the tools of hatred as an essential part of argument. This, he pointed out, corrupted all who participated in it. Hatred has consequences.
When I read this again recently, I was reminded of that old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” In our own day the language of hatred – once fairly rare and taboo – is now not only common, but courted and encouraged. One might say this is the Age of Hatred: hatred of opponents, hatred of difference, hatred of those we cannot agree with. If one doesn’t like something, one hates it. Hate sells. Hate gets an audience.
In his commentary on the Psalms, that same St. Augustine remarks that Christians are never free to hate people; only evil itself; for, as he put it, very often when we hate an enemy, we are hating a brother [or sister] instead. The point is simple: for the Christian, hatred is reserved for sin and not humans. Augustine knew from experience that hatred is a moral and spiritual corrosive; it sickens and poisons those who bear it, even if they have all the right in the world to do so.
This is not to say that we are to be slack about the wrong we see or in which we participate: far from it. Indeed, when we stop focusing on hating people we will find the work of fighting sin and injustice – both within and without ourselves – clarified and intensified. This is because we will be using the love of God in Christ and not hate as the lens through which we look. When we do this, we taste true freedom.
A courageous way of life
One of the traditional ways to start the day in prayer is to pray the Benedictus (a.k.a. The Song of Zechariah) from Luke 1. This canticle speaks of the coming of the Messiah as the giver of freedom. We look to the rising sun each morning as a reminder of God’s ability to liberate us from the “old life of sin and death” and set us on the path of life and love.
This is a courageous way of life, however. It will not trade one counterfeit currency (hatred) for another (indifference). It does not say: “all roads lead to Rome” and give up in despair or complacency. Such a life refuses to compromise with the World – or, when it does so, confesses and repents (out of love, rather than fear). True freedom requires such clarity.
It is this freedom to love, rather than the compulsion to hate, which motivates us. Merely “winning” isn’t the point: in Jesus Christ we have already won (something we celebrate every time we gather for the Eucharist). We are a people being transformed into Christ-likeness; lives lived from the knowledge of being loved rather than being merely right.
This is the challenge, as I see it, facing each of us in the current cultural “moment”: whether to embrace freedom through love, justice, and truth – or, slavery by hatred, malice, and lies. This includes the demonizing of others.
People of Christ’s Love
As we approach Lent, we each of us must do the patient work of examining our own lives. We need to see how much we are People of Christ’s Love, and how much we might have compromised the promise of freedom given to us. Sometimes, this means acknowledging personal sin and resolving to turn our live over anew to the Lord for transformation. At other times, it means being aware of our complicity in the evil done in our name – or by our indifference to it – and taking steps to combat it, starting with identifying where hate is masquerading as something noble in our lives.
As the practice of saying the Benedictus makes clear, we must invite the Lord our God to take the lead. Only God can re-fashion us and raise us from the corrosion of hatred and evil. We cannot do it ourselves. By being in communion with Him, we can say along with Zechariah: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free,” to live lives “holy and righteous in his sight, all the days of our life.”
This is the life worth living – and it is given freely to each of us. Let’s chew on that, rather than on hard candy hearts, this February.
Visit our 2020 Resources for Lent post for ideas on how to make more room for God’s love in your life this year.
The Boston Camerata comes to St. Paul’s to present the medieval play of “Daniel” on February 2, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. A ticket is required for this performance. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1444 Liberty St SE, Salem, OR 97302, M-TH, 9-4pm or call 503-362-3661, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again the church will be transformed into a theater with lights, costumes and music. The Old Testament prophecies of Daniel, a young captive in corrupt Babylon, will ring forth. This stunning, contemporary new production by Artistic Director, Anne Azéma, is one of the greatest musical plays from the French Middle Ages. Accompanied by early instruments the ensemble will be joined by some of St. Paul’s singers both young and mature.
The Boston Camerata is an early music ensemble based in Boston, Massachusetts. Its was founded in 1954 by Narcissa Williamson at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as an adjunct to that museum’s instrument collection. The Camerata incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 1974. It was directed from 1969 to 2008 by Joel Cohen, who remains active as Music Director Emeritus. Since 2008 the company’s artistic director has been French-born singer and scholar Anne Azéma. A regular subscription series is offered to Boston-area residents, as well as tours in the United States and abroad. In 2011, Camerata was in residence in Reims, France contributing five programs of medieval French music to the 800th anniversary celebration of the Reims Cathedral.
Camerata’s numerous recordings on various labels include programs on Harmonia Mudi, Erato, Telefunken, and Warner Classics. Among the ensemble’s awards are the Grand Prix du Disque (1987) for a medieval version of the Tristan and Iseult legend.
Gian Carlo Menotti’s miracle operetta “Amahl and the Night Visitors” will be staged in the main church at St. Paul’s on January 4 at 7 p.m. and January 5 at 4 p.m. There is no service of Evensong.
This child-friendly 50-minute operetta tells the story of a poor crippled boy and his mother who greet the three kings on their way to meet the Christ child During the king’s visit the boy is healed and joins them on their quest.
Two pianos and two oboes accompany this musical gift to the community of Salem. The church will be transformed into a theater with lighting and special costumes. Mikaela Starr plays the part of Amahl and Brook Brooks plays the part of the mother. David Nelson, Barry Nelson and Sean Brooks take on the role of the three kings with Ray Phipps playing the part of the page. Written in 1951, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was the first operetta to be broadcast live on television.
The entire music ministry program at St. Paul’s will be featured as they lead a service of “Advent Lessons and Carols” on December 1, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
There is no service of Evensong this day. Dr. Paul Klemme will lead the service from the Gabriel Kney pipe organ at St. Paul’s. A brass and string ensemble will join forces with the St. Paul’s Ringers and all of the vocal choirs in this service of carols interspersed with lesson readings appropriate for the season of Advent.
A special arrangement of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” written by choir member Walt Farrier will be presented.
Find Special Gifts at Holiday Craft Fair
• When: Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23, from 10AM to 5PM
• Where: 1525 Glen Creek Road NW
• Who: Prince of Peace Episcopal Church
Salem, Oregon: Prince of Peace Episcopal Church invites you to discover that very special handmade gift at the Homestyle Holiday Craft Fair on Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23, from 10AM to 5PM. Prince of Peace is located at the corner of Glen Creek Road and Parkway in West Salem.
“Crafters of all kinds are coming together to sell at this fair,” affirms Cindy Nielsen, the Prince of Peace Coordinator. “Not only do we have holiday wreaths, including other handmade Christmas decorations and quilts fashioned by Prince of Peace Crafters but we also have an assortment of jewelry, paper crafts, ceramics, wood crafts, stained glass and much more.”
Prince of Peace is excited to offer this opportunity to bring together handcrafters and customers. Prince of Peace has been in West Salem since 1990 and serves people from many backgrounds and many needs not only through religious services but also through donations to disaster relief funds, Union Gospel Mission, St Francis Shelter and the Spring Break Lunch Program. Prince of Peace also donates funds and volunteer time to Marion Polk Food Share and a Core Community Garden Program for low income families. We are a growing and vital congregation and are looking for assistance in our growth from the community we serve.
Oregon and SW Washington Episcopal Cursillo Ministry will host an Ultreya Gathering on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., for all members of the Cursillo Community and all those interested in Cursillo. There will be prayer, singing, laughter, and sharing. Bring a friend and finger food to share. St. Paul’s – Salem will host.
Cellist Annabeth Shirley will serve as cello soloist and leader of an all-Baroque Concerti concert on November 3 after the service of Evensong at 4:00 p.m. Ms. Shirley, a native of Salem, is presently a member of the Portland Baroque Orchestra and concertizes extensively on Baroque cello all over the Northwest United States. A graduate of South Salem High School, the University of Michigan and the Hague Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands, Annabeth has chosen a program that include works by J. S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and Dutch Composer Pieter Hellendahl. She will be joined by a 12-piece period instrument orchestra predominantly of Portland Baroque Orchestra members.