20th Sunday after Pentecost

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

 Rev.  Gail E. Bernthal Officiating, Rev. Deacon Teri Van Huss, Sermon
Below are all the reading options for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost. Sermon Synopsis follows readings.


October 02, 2016

Year (cycle):


The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Old Testament:

Lamentations 1:1-6 [Alternate: Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4]

1 How lonely sits the city
that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become,
she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the provinces
has become a vassal.
2 She weeps bitterly in the night,
with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers
she has no one to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
they have become her enemies.
3 Judah has gone into exile with suffering
and hard servitude;
she lives now among the nations,
and finds no resting-place;
her pursuers have all overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.
4 The roads to Zion mourn,
for no one comes to the festivals;
all her gates are desolate,
her priests groan;
her young girls grieve,
and her lot is bitter.
5 Her foes have become the masters,
her enemies prosper,
because the Lord has made her suffer
for the multitude of her transgressions;
her children have gone away,
captives before the foe.
6 From daughter Zion has departed
all her majesty.
Her princes have become like stags
that find no pasture;
they fled without strength
before the pursuer.


1The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4 So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgement comes forth perverted.

1I will stand at my watch-post,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
4 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.


Lamentations 3:19-26 or Psalm 137 [Alternate: Psalm 37:1-10]

19 The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
is wormwood and gall!
20 My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,*
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.


1 By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, *
when we remembered you, O Zion.
2 As for our harps, we hung them up *
on the trees in the midst of that land.
3 For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
and our oppressors called for mirth: *
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song *
upon an alien soil?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, *
let my right hand forget its skill.
6 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you, *
if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
7 Remember the day of Jerusalem, O Lord,
against the people of Edom, *
who said, “Down with it! down with it!
even to the ground!”
8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, *
happy the one who pays you back
for what you have done to us!
9 Happy shall he be who takes your little ones, *
and dashes them against the rock!


1 Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; *
do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
2 For they shall soon wither like the grass, *
and like the green grass fade away.
3 Put your trust in the Lord and do good; *
dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
4 Take delight in the Lord, *
and he shall give you your heart’s desire.
5 Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him, *
and he will bring it to pass.
6 He will make your righteousness as clear as the light *
and your just dealing as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord *
and wait patiently for him.
8 Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers, *
the one who succeeds in evil schemes.
9 Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; *
do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.
10 For evildoers shall be cut off, *
but those who wait upon the Lord shall possess the land.


2 Timothy 1:1-14

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.


Luke 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ 6The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.

‘Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from ploughing or tending sheep in the field, “Come here at once and take your place at the table”? 8Would you not rather say to him, “Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink”? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, “We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!” ’


Synopsis of Rev. Teri Van Huss’ sermon:


Deacon Teri shared on three points of the calling of Christ and the service to Him therein. She used the word “Pericopy” several times. Pericopy is a set or grouping of verses, statements or thoughts around a central or unified theme ( The Free Online English Dictionary) . Yet  pericopic verses help clarify the Gospels, make our Book of Common Prayer what it is and help us organize books such as Proverbs, Psalms and other sacred texts into manageable  and topical information. We often use pericopy to help us remember certain parables of Jesus.

Deacon Teri  describes her pericopy as  follows:

  1. Servant-hood

2. Grace

3. Vow

She led us to page 538 of the Book of Common Prayer reading the vows of the Diaconate. The reading tied all of us to Service and Love of Jesus Christ.  “we do what is right because it is right”.  We are “engaged to conform” as part of our Baptismal Vows, even moreso as part of our vows taken during the Steps to Ordination.. Rev. Deacon Teri even tied into the Gospel reading, paraphrasing Jesus teaching on the “Mustard Seed of Faith”. Deacon Teri said ” Faith is Faith ” or as author Katarina Whitley stated in her recent sermon (taken from the Episcopal Church’s website)  “Tiny Faith”.  Teri even described that sometimes we have no faith,  which is true for many of us..if we are honest.. Our tiny Faith can bring all three points of Teri’s pericopic boundaries to us, in our own way, and make Jesus real to each of us!


( above was corrected by Rev. Deacon Teri’s correction of my hearing another word “Periphany” which means something else..)


Thanks be to God!


Peace be to Thee,


Brewster Bird






Rev. Fred Risard, LCSW, B.D., Sermon and thoughts on the Gospel reading from Luke

Fr. Fred was our communicant  Sunday 25 September 2016

He keyed in on the Epistle and the Gospel readings which follows:

1 Timothy 6:6-19

6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.


Luke 16:19-31

19 ‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” 25But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” 27He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” 29Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” 30He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 31He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ’


Father Fred keyed in on “Money is the root of all evil” and how love of money can be misused. He gave good examples of how to rightly use our assets in the story of the Somali ex-pat who has made good in America and is putting his wealth to good use in providing some affordable housing to the housing stressed in Kings County, California.   Questions asked of us were “Are we using wisely our assets at this time and place?” Are we reaching out to the poor? He also used examples of his work with the homeless in Hanford at the Church of the Saviour’s soup kitchen.. Challenges that keep us thinking..


An aside, but one of Thanksgiving for our Deacon, Teri V.H. who has been assisting in sheparding us through our challenges. We have a scholarship given to youths who major in Agriculture in college from our small town-the Heffelfinger Scholarship. Thank You Tulareans for your support!

If you are reading this for the first time, Thank You, come visit us!


Yours in Christ,

Brewster Bird


Last week’s Share ( from Diocesan newsletter) by Rev. Dr. John Day

Radical Welcoming and Sending
The Rev. Dr. John Day
St. John’s, Tulare


St. John’s is a congregation that finds itself at a crisis point in its walk with Jesus on The Way. The Vestry was informed in January by the Treasurer that there were sufficient funds on hand to maintain operations for about three years. Since January the Vestry has been working with me to answer three fundamental questions,
Who are we?
What is God calling us to do?
Who is our neighbor?
Since our last Vestry Meeting I have been working on a congregational study which will use targeted statistical data that will enable us to understand who our neighbor is. Once we know the makeup of our neighborhood we can begin a discernment process that will result in targeted outreach to our neighbors. We believe that this second step in the process will bring us to an understanding of what God is calling us to do? Finally, we will face the very tough question of who we are compared to who our neighbor is. Does the current makeup of our congregation reflect the makeup of our neighborhood or do we have some work to do.
Working through these three questions will help us to discern where we are being called and who we are called to reach out to. Once this has been accomplished we will have to face the toughest question of all: Are we up to the challenge and do we have the necessary resources of time, talent, and treasure to be effective?
Radical Welcoming and Radical Sending. We are working diligently to discern what that means for St. John’s, Tulare.
John E. Day
Priest in Charge
In last week’s Friday Reflection The Rev. Dr. John Day wrote how St. John’s, Tulare is conducting a congregational study which uses targeted statistical data that will assist  St. John’s  to understand who their neighbor is.

This information for your community can be found on The Episcopal Church website at:

The study is quite extensive and well done.. It takes time to get through it, but is well worth it.
Yours in Christ,
Brewster Bird

Michaelmas ( Saint Michael’s Day)

Today was September 29th, 2016-Saint Michael’s Day- The Gospel reading is:

John 1:47-51

47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ 48Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ 49Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ 50Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ 51And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’


The Old Testament Reading is:

Genesis 28:10-17

10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. 11He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And the Lord stood beside him and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; 14and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 15Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ 16Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’ 17And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’


The Collect for the Day is:

( Rite 2)

Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


I write this after experiencing pain in thought, and heart during the past several days.. A person with terrible anger attended our vestry meeting and left us all speechless. Maybe we are near the End Times, and that Satan is loosed upon Earth as is described in todays Second Lesson reading from Revelation:

Revelation 12:7-12

And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
‘Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
who accuses them day and night before our God.
11 But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
12 Rejoice then, you heavens
and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
because he knows that his time is short!’



However, I think not.. I think that  we are dealing with growing pains as many churches do ..It is hard to say good-bye to our old ways..To accept new ways .. to work with others when we are seemingly soo small to be able to commit to any outreach.. Our Elders  have died off..Our Priest is working for free.. we have no new blood in the parish we are at a loss as what to do..our efforts seemingly go nowhere..


However..are we laying a groundwork for a stronger more resilient church? Will our efforts at outreach actually bring folks to church?  I think there has been some failure, but many  successes. We are planting seeds. Seeds that will grow even if we do not know the outcome..Our parish will be stronger, vibrant and full of working faith as Missioners to the world around us.. As our Presbyter, Bishop David Rice, Our Priest Rev. Dr. John Day and Deacon Teri Van Huss calls us to do..


Yours in Christ,

Brewster Bird



Check Out This week’s Diocesan newsletter

Our Padre’ Rev. Dr. John Day made the front page of our Diocesan newsletter! Give Thanks and Praise! Anyway All, Peace be unto thee, My Peace I give to thee, freely with Grace, The Peace which passes all understanding I give to thee, freely given freely received , God give us strength to do His Will in all we undertake this day and forever more!


The Lord’s Prayer in Spanish

Padre nuestro que estas en el cielo,
 sanctificado sea tu Nombre,
   venga tu reino,
   hagase tu voluntad,
     en la tierra combo en el cielo.
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada dia.
Perdona nuestras ofensas,
   como tambien nosotros perdonamos
     a los que nos ofenden.
No nos dejes caer en tentacion
   y libranos del mal.
Porque tuyo es el reino,
   tuyo es el poder,
   y tuya es la gloria,
   ahora y por siempre. Amen
Sacrifica a Dios alabanza, y paga tus votos al Altisimo!
Given us by Rt. Rev. David Rice  in preparation for our Diocesan convention to be held at ECCO in Oakhurst, CA