From the Pastor – November Newsletter Article

This coming Sunday, November 1st, will be celebrated as All Saints Sunday.

I call this a “real” All Saints Sunday. All Saints Day has traditionally been observed on the first day of November. Most church denominations designate the Sunday closest to the first Sunday in November, as All Saints Sunday. The All Saints celebration this year comes together with its traditional date of observance. Alleluia!

All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, or Feast of All Saints, in the Christian church calendar, has been traditionally a day commemorating all the saints of the church, both known and unknown, who have attained heaven. 

The origin of All Saints’ Day cannot be traced with certainty. The day has been observed on various days in different places. The first evidence for the November 1 date of celebration and of the broadening of the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs occurred during the reign of Pope Gregory III (731–741), who dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s, Rome, on November 1 in honour of all saints. In 837 Pope Gregory IV ordered its general observance. In medieval England the festival was known as All Hallows, and its eve is still known as Halloween. Today both Roman Catholic and Lutherans continue to observe this ancient festival.

On All Saints Day we remember the heroes of the church who lived and died their Christian faith. I particularly remember, St. Francis of Assisi, Sister Theresa of Calcutta, Thomas Becket and Salvadorian archbishop, Oscar Romero. Lutherans would add Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to their list of saints.

We believe saints to be deceased Christian heroes and martyrs, ordinary individuals who died in their faith and living members of the church who are forgiven their sins and live their faith. That definition could fit you and me.I often think of the saints of my family who died in their Christian faith.

I especially recall both of my grandmothers, Theresa Winter Pokora and Martha Margaret Bartam Jeisy. I also remember my aunt Helen and aunt Elizabeth and cousins Dale and Betty Groneworld mother and George and Mary Livingstone, my mother and father in-law. I will add Pastor William Roth, Elspeth Virco and Amelia Margrave who served my home congregation with faithful service for many years. Included on my list are Ken and Alma Peterson, Genie Schwartz, Al And Georgie Tevis, Elaine Nagel, Tom Brooks and Jerry Hanson from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bettendorf.

During the last couple weeks, I have discovered good friends who have either died or are critically ill and were examples of faith.  I particularly remember Larry Barker. 

Surely you can name in your own heart individuals from your family or faith background. Remember them in prayer this coming All Saints Sunday. Remember all the saints and live by their example.