The light dawns – sin & redemption

by Deacon Bob Olsen

It has only taken 70 years to get a grasp on sin & redemption. Well maybe that is a stretch as the first 4-5 years of my life I probably only had a vague appreciation for right and wrong, simply knowing what I got a swat for and what I didn’t and no idea about what sin was or wasn’t. Then came Sunday school, where I’m sure during my confirmation class we read and discussed the Catechism.

However, in the 1928 prayer book there was no discussion of sin, rather the Ten Commandments and our inability to follow them without God’s grace, very vague concepts for a 10-year old. The 1979 Prayer Book remedied this short coming, giving us on page 848 a series of questions and answers that lay things out more clearly, for the 10- year old or 70-year old mind.

Rather than “My good child, know this; that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the Commandments of God…” Here is how the Catechism in our Book of Common Prayer puts it:

Q. What is the Purpose of the Ten Commandments?
A. The ten Commandments were given to define our relationship with God and our neighbors.
Q. Since we do not fully obey them, are they useful at all?
A. Since we do not fully obey them, we see more clearly our sin and our need for redemption.
Q. What is sin?
A. Sin is the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation.

I got to thinking about this sin and redemption business while preparing my sermon for October 1st. The Gospel, that Sunday, is Matthew 21:23-32, where the chief priests and the elders ask Jesus by what authority he does the things he had been doing and who gave him that authority. Jesus replies he’ll answer their question, if they answer his question first, did the baptism of John [the Baptist] come from heaven or was it of human origin?  The chief priests and elders found themselves in a jam, they couldn’t say heaven, because they didn’t believe John and certainly hadn’t taken him up on repenting. But, they couldn’t say from human origin because the people  regarded John as a prophet, even if  they didn’t.

I had always seen this as just another attempt of the leaders of the Jewish church to discredit Jesus, only to once again come up short. But reading it this time, it dawned on me the point the Chief Priests were trying to make was they were the religious “authority”, they were the righteous before God. As such, how could John tell them they needed to repent and even more absurd was this small-town carpenter questioning their authority and righteousness.

And there is the stumbling block, thinking you are righteous or in more modern terms “a good person”, and therefore can’t possibly have sinned or be in need of repentance. The cold hard truth is it is way too easy to fall into sin, that distortion of our relationship with God and our neighbor. Jesus told us we are to love God and our neighbors with all our heart, mind and soul. We are to be loving in all we do and say. Now I’m sure we’d have no problem understanding we sinned if we murdered someone or mugged someone for their wallet, clearly not loving acts, and knowing the Ten Commandments are against such behavior. But how often have we used the Lord’s name in vain, wishing the fiery pit for one of our fellow motorists. Or been jealous of a friend or neighbor’s new car or recent vacation?

The Ten Commandments don’t differentiate between big and little sins, simply you have or haven’t broken one. The point is we need to recognize our sins and need of repentance for them.

The Good News is that by recognizing that we continually need to ask for forgiveness and repent, and by such we receive forgiveness, not because we deserve it, but because God loves us.



We’re collecting:grocery_bag

  • dry goods,
  • canned goods,
  • dried cereals,
  • soaps,
  • toothpaste,
  • tooth brushes or
  • any non-perishables.

We collect Bags ANYTIME!!

No time to shop? Write a check to St. Georges with memo to River city Food Bank, and they will shop for you (everything is welcome)!

St. George’s Episcopal Church
5600 Winding Way
Carmichael, CA 95608

Fall into Stewardship

By Sandra Crenshaw, Senior Warden

The first day of the autumn was Friday, September 22. Autumn is a wonderful season and to me it signifies the start of things such as the holidays, cooler weather, shorter days, longer nights, and pumpkin spice lattes being served at Starbuck’s. But autumn also signifies a time to slow down and turn inward for self-reflection, awareness and mindfulness. As we turn inward let us also reflect on the fact that Sunday, October 22nd is Stewardship Commitment/Pledge Drive Sunday at St. George’s. Stewardship is a central topic for us Christians and the fundamental principle of biblical stewardship is that God owns everything and we are merely managers and administrators acting on his behalf. Stewardship then is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service. It states in 1 Chronicles 29:14, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.

Indeed God gives us everything! When we give to God, others, and the church, we are really giving back what is originally from God. Please reflect on the following passages in preparation for Pledge Drive Sunday, October 22 in which we will offer our pledge cards as our commitment to the Lord who has blessed our parish in so many ways and you are part of that blessing.  Thank you for your gifts, time and talents you have given and continue to give to St. George and our greater community.

  • Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
  • And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
  • For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 1 Timothy 6:7-8
  • For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? Matthew 16:26
  • Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put back into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. Luke 6:38
  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

Women’s Guild Update & Invitation

by Carol Adkins, Women’s Guild President

Our next Women’s Guild meeting will be Wednesday, October 18 at 11:00 am in the Parish Hall. We hope more ladies of the congregation will attend. The business part of the meeting is not very long and we enjoy discussing books we have been reading or movies we have seen (just visiting in general) with one another as a family while eating our bag lunches.

October Thoughts From Our PIC

by the Rev. Ray Hess

Father Ray.jpgI’m coming back!  After a very difficult summer, I am making gradual but very real progress in my health. I have been back on Sundays to assist or celebrate at services, and on October 15 I will start my regular schedule for Sundays. I will celebrate at the combined 10 a.m. services on October 15 and 22. I should be able to drive again by the first part of November, so that I will be able to get around much better.

I want to thank everyone at St. George’s again for all you have done and continue to do for Deborah and me. You have been fantastic – thoughtful and caring. I felt very connected to the community of St. George’s before this summer, but I now feel an incredibly deep relationship with you.  Thank you from all my heart for your love!

October is a very important month in the church year for stewardship.  On Sunday October 15, we will have one service at 10 a.m. for the annual blessing of the animals.  Please bring your dogs, cats, and other pets to the service, or just attend to enjoy the animals.  You can also bring photos of your pets, if they cannot come in person. Please be sure to have your pets under control with leashes or crates. We do this service in remembrance of St. Francis and give thanks for his love of animals and all creation. Caring for our pets and the world around us is an important part of our stewardship. We are caretakers of creation, which belongs to God.

On the following Sunday, October 22, we have our annual pledge Sunday, with one service at 10 a.m. At St. George’s, we make this a fun event, more of a party than fund raising. Giving money for the ministries of St. George’s is part of our stewardship. We give part of our income for God’s work through our parish. We express our commitment to this through our pledges for next year.

I am delighted to be getting back to my involvement and leadership at St. George’s. This is a tremendously important part of my life and work, of my giving of myself for God’s ministry.  Thank you for being with me in this work.

Blessing of the Animals at St. George’s

Our annual blessing of the animals service will be this Sunday, October 15, at 10:00 am.

The service will be outside in the fresh air.  Animals of all shapes and sizes are welcome, and will be blessed.  If it isn’t convenient to bring Fluffy or Rover, bring a picture, and we will be happy to bless him in abstention.

This service, held on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Francis’ celebrates our bond with all God’s creatures.  “Caring for our pets and the world around us is an important part of our stewardship. We are caretakers of creation, which belongs to God” says Father Ray Hess, priest in charge. We hope that you will be able to join us.

St. George’s Episcopal Church is located at 5600 Winding Way in Carmichael, California.

You can find us on Facebook at or on the web at  You can also reach us at 916.487.5600.

St. George’s News

By George Logo

St. George’s has many ways to share news with its members.  Hopefully, you are all signed up to receive the monthly newsletter, the By George.  If not, you can sign up by contacting the church office or by contacting the editor, Sandy Olsen.

You might also want to follow the St. George’s Facebook page for news and updates and upcoming event information.  (You can also share pictures you take on the page!)

DragonstailsWe also have an online news room.  Dragonstails shares stories of Ministry and activities of St. George’s. You can subscribe to Dragonstails to have this news come directly to your inbox by visiting this page.

Are you an author?  We are always looking for someone to help report on the many events happening at St. George’s.  Contact Sandy Olsen or Thea Mangels for information about publishing St. George’s news in the By George and/or in Dragonstails.