February 2019

Dear Friends,

I’ve included in this newsletter copies of two articles of interest. One is an editorial from The Wall Street Journal written by Cardinal Dolan on the subject of abortion and infanticide. The other is from Barnabas Aid, an organization that helps persecuted Christians. I hope you will read both of these articles and reflect upon them.

In the first case, one is tempted to say, “It’s unbelievable that a Catholic governor of one of our largest states could sign a bill legitimizing infanticide and celebrate this “triumph” by shining a pink light on the new One World Trade Center.” As if granting women the “right” to kill their new born infants “mercifully” in a doctor’s office could be anything but the epitome of decadence. It would be naïve and stupid to lament that this development is “unbelievable!” because we’ve all known for a long time that this day was coming. “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” is not a Biblical proverb but everyone knows what it means. In the case of abortion it means that if you decide that a woman’s need for sexual equality with men is more important than the life of a child, children are going to lose. Children by the millions have been losing in this country for a long time now. The root of the problem is that in the last fifty years our churches—Protestant and Catholic alike—have so compromised the gospel and acceded to the values of our liberal society that the church has failed in its mission to evangelize the American people. Our task is to educate people in their duty to serve God, “the Lord and giver of life.” This has never been an easy task. But it is especially difficult when the modern people we’re trying to reach are utterly indifferent to God’s claim upon us. As I have said to you from the pulpit so many times, God is not a fiction, God exists; God really is the creator of humankind. No matter what the evolutionists say, God endows each of us in the womb with a soul; we really do belong to Him. But the more committed to an agnostic philosophy we become, the further removed from God we become. And the American people today are nothing if not devoutly agnostic. It is so sad to see Americans abandoning Our Lord and deserting his churches, choosing instead to worship “the Universe” or anything other than the true and living God. But that is where we are today. It is sad to see how defiant of God the people in this country have become. We have become defiant and we are paying a price for that as every day we see our society become more fractured, more lewd, more violent, and increasingly irreverent.

Many people argue against God on the grounds that a good and loving God would never have permitted the slaughter of so many “innocent” people as the God of the Old Testament did when he allowed the Hebrews to slaughter the Canaanites and then steal their land. But the reason that God permitted the Hebrews to commit genocide against the pagan tribes of that time and place is because those tribes practiced infanticide, they were offering up their children in ritual murders as sacrifices to their demented gods. It was the extreme sacrilege. God used the Hebrews who, for all their sins, at least knew not to kill children and then offer them to God to end the slaughter. One of the messages of the Old Testament is that God despises nations that commit infanticide and He will, if they don’t repent, wipe them out, every last one. America is on its way to becoming a faithless pagan nation. At this point, we are little better than the Philistines. We’d better turn back from the sick excesses of liberalism and do so fast or God is going to do to us what he did to the infant-murdering tribes of old. They no longer exist.

As for China criminalizing the Ten Commandments, especially the first one that demands our exclusive loyalty to the Lord, is our own liberal society so different from communism? It’s becoming less different every day. It’s essentially a “hate” crime now to say the truth: that Islam, the worship of Allah is a false religion devoted to a false god and that the Koran is a thoroughly un-holy book. Is anyone going to be surprised if, say, ten years from now, ministers who refuse to perform same–sex weddings get hauled off to prison? Don’t say “It will never happen here.” It is happening here. And unless this nation repents and returns to the Lord, it’s going to get worse and worse and worse.


On a happier note, I recommend to you the movie Green Book. It’s a true and heart-warming story about a white man and a black man who became friends during the 1960s Civil Rights era. I’m betting that it will get the Best Picture award and Best Actor award, as well.

Please pray for our good friend Wes Green (who though he lives in Nashville, still edits our newsletter and web page). Wes is having heart surgery on Thursday Feb. 21. He will have an internal defibrillator installed.

Conni and I will be in Colorado the end of this month visiting our two daughters and our grandchildren who live there and to check up on our son–in-law, Matt Burris, who recently had back surgery. Please continue to pray for Matt that he will have a complete recovery.

Fr. Dunning will preach and celebrate on Sundays February 24 and March 3. I will return for our traditional Ash Wednesday service March 6 at 7pm.

We will be making our world-famous Easter Eggs from Thursday March 28 (at 5pm) through Wednesday April 3. Please plan to join in and help with this project some or all of the time. Every helping hand counts!


Fr. Jansen String

January 2019

Dear Friends,

It is common at this time of year for people to make a New Year’s resolution. This year, my wife asked me instead to draw up a “bucket list.” The difference between a New Year’s resolution and a bucket list is that if you fail to keep your resolution this year, you always have next year (one hopes) to try again. But it’s not so with a “bucket list.” The point of such a list is to remind us that you only live once, and that if you don’t do those few things that you really want to do now, while you have the chance, there may not be another opportunity to do them, and certainly not once you “kick the bucket.”

john henry newman, wikipedia Commons

john henry newman, wikipedia Commons

John Henry Newman, perhaps the greatest theologian of the 19th century, once gave a sermon in which he admonished the congregation to come to church often. Learn to love to pray and praise the Lord and be devoted to the Holy Eucharist, he said, because, God willing, should you die and be admitted to the heavenly banquet where the praise of God is never-ending, heaven is going to be a kind of hell for those who constantly complain that the sermon and the services are too long! So, I guess that if we were serious about it, we would all have the same New Year’s resolution, and we’d all have at the top of our bucket list the same items: Pray more often, come to church on Sundays, and do everything to honor God—certainly nothing knowingly of which God disapproves. The first priority for each us must be to live for God’s approval and do something good everyday so that by the time we go to sleep at night God may be proud of us, or at least not ashamed of us; as He undoubtedly is much of the time—for neglecting Him!

There’s an important truth in what I just said, but generally speaking, a bucket list is not meant to be that serious. The point of a bucket list is to think of those few things that you would most enjoy doing in this world before it’s too late and then mustering the initiative to do them. In other words, a bucket list is not for twenty–year olds. A bucket list is for those who reasonably assume they may only have twenty years to go; so if they don’t get going doing those things they’ve always wanted to do but haven’t, they may run out of time.

With that as the premise, I made a bucket list. There was nothing extraordinary on the list, everything on it I could do with a little effort. I have a book of poems I’d like to publish, a play I’d like to write and produce; and three more theology books I’m writing. My other goals involve travel. I’d like to make a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal, where the great “miracle of the sun” happened Oct. 13, 1917. I’d like to visit the cathedral at Lourdes, France, where the Virgin Mary appeared to young Bernadette, and drink from the waters in which so many have found healing. And I’d like to visit the basilica in Mexico City where the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is preserved.

But the first two items on my list are the ones that really surprised me and challenge me. I said that I’d like to dance at my granddaughter’s wedding. Barbara is now age 5. If she marries at age 25, (it’s possible), I’ll be 86. My Dad attended his granddaughter’s wedding when he was 86, so there’s a chance—provided my knees still work and I can still dance. Obviously, I’d better start taking dance lessons now!

My number one goal is similar. I want to ski with my grandchildren when I’m 80. I went skiing one day with a friend who was 83 at the time. He handled the slopes like a young mountain goat. I said to myself then, “I want to be like him when I grow up!” He was kid at heart who clearly hadn’t grown up; “grown-ups” know better than to slalom down icy mountains at that advanced age. On the other hand my hero, William F. Buckley Jr., when asked on his 80th birthday what the secret of a happy life is replied, “Don’t ever grow up!” So that’s my goal: to never grow up and just keep doing the things that I love most as long as I can do them until that great day when the Lord calls me home (I hope). Then on that day, whether I’ve completed my bucket list or not, I’ll start doing the things I really love most, which is attending Our Lord’s altar and listening to His Word without distraction and along with all my other faithful friends in the communion of saints praying constantly for my family that they will love God and love life always, all the way to the end. Amen.

And speaking of faithful friends, Marion (and Bob) Lawton have remembered St. George’s and St. Matthew’s in their will. Marion’s nephew told us that the Lawton’s have left us a gift of $50,000! We have received many bequests over the years but none come close to this. Say a prayer for Marion and Bob. They loved this church and everyone in it. I hope we will be worthy of their generosity.

Our faithful friend Bishop Jonathan Hart of Liberia has written to tell us that he will, next month, be ordained the Archbishop of West Africa! Jon will have oversight of all the Anglican churches in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia and several other countries. I will never forget the day Jon was with us. After the service, he asked if he could call his wife, Francis, long distance from the rectory phone. This was in the days before cell phones. He got her on the phone, but she told him that she could not talk because rebel forces were invading their village and she had to run for her life. Their church, she said, had been destroyed. His family and congregation fled to the Ivory Coast where Jon eventually joined them. They lived there for two years before it was safe to return to Liberia. And we think we have problems! I’ve never known a greater or more humble man. Keep Jon, his wife Francis, and their family in your prayers.

Our friend Fr. Bill Dunning will be with us Sunday Jan. 20 and the following Sunday, Jan. 27. I will be off next week with the Baltimore ski club to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, working on my bucket list!


Fr. Jansen String

Dates to Remember

Sunday Jan 20 Holy Eucharist 9am

Sunday Jan 27 Holy Eucharist 9am

Looking ahead: Easter comes very late this year: April 21, which means that Easter Egg making will begin Thursday March 27. That’s only two months from now. Put the dates of March 27–April 3 on your calendar and plan to be here on at least one of those days to lend a hand in this huge project.

August 2018

Dear Friends,

       I’m including in this newsletter a cute article from The Wall Street Journal on the joys of having grandchildren. Conni and I have five grandchildren now ranging in age from 5 years to 2 months. But this summer has been the first time we have had them to ourselves for a while. It’s been a joy and an education. We kept two of the boys for 48 hours so that our son and his wife could have some time to themselves. I hate to admit it, but after two days alone with the boys, ages 3 and 1, we both felt like we’d been to Marine boot camp for two weeks. There is no let up for parents of young children. You have to watch them all the time. They simply demand your attention, which doesn’t sound like it would be that hard to do, but no matter how careful you are you inevitably hear yourself saying things like, “No, no honey don’t put sand in your mouth!”  And “Please don’t take things that belong to other people. Your brother has a right to hold that blanket; you have your own blanket!” Everything you say is followed by an exclamation mark; it’s constant crisis.

       There is a reason why God designed us to have children when we’re young—we still have the energy to do it. After a certain age, raising kids just becomes plain hard work and we run out of energy faster. On the other hand, it’s hard at any age to raise children. When my son and his wife returned from their 48 hours off, we asked them what they did. They said, “We slept for twenty hours!” And so you’re drained all the time and you never know what to expect. I heard our one boy, age two, complain to his dad as they sat in our living room, “The internet here is too slow!” I felt like saying, “It seems fast enough to me.” On the other hand, what do I know about internet speed? It’s terrible to discover that a two year old knows more about internet speed than you do. He also asked his dad, “Why doesn’t grandpa have an iPhone?” to which my son replied, “Because Grandpa is technologically backwards.” To which my grandson replied sadly, “Oh."

       I may be behind the times but some things never change. Boys will be boys. A Ravens pre -season game was on the other night and our two-year-old grandson crawled up beside me in the chair and watched the game with me shouting, “Football! Football! I need a helmet!” I asked our granddaughter to join us in watching the game and she said, “I don’t like that!” She prefers playing with Barbie. We visited a petting zoo where our two-year-old grandson took a pony ride. As soon as the pony began to walk he yelled out at the top of his voice “Yee! Ha!” His mother fell over laughing. “Where did he learn that? “ I asked her. “I have no idea,” his mother said. Human nature is what it is. Well, the children have left. Conni and I need several weeks at a spa to recuperate. On the other hand, we already miss the grandchildren. I can hardly wait for next summer when we’ll have them to ourselves again!


Fr. Jansen String


Dates to Remember

Sunday, September 23;  Holy Eucharist at 9am.   Bishop Sutton will make his annual visit. He will meet with the vestry following the service. So, vestry, please plan now to be present on that day. Unfortunately, I will not be in town, Fr. Tobias Haller will supply. Our son Jean Luc is getting married on September 8 in Lake George, New York, and following the wedding Conni and I are taking a tour with National Geographic Expeditions to Switzerland and Italy. We planned this trip a year ago, long before we knew the date of the bishop’s visit. I’m sorry for the conflict, but having hosted many bishops over the years, I’m sure you all know perfectly what to do. You’re the best congregation ever. I thank you in advance for faithfully handling this situation.

Saturday October 13, 1–5pm.  The Bull and Oyster roast. This year it will be held at the Knights of Columbus hall (by the Dundalk Firehouse and Dundalk Middle School). Tickets are $45.

June 2018

Dear Friends,

       Enclosed with this newsletter is a copy of the sermon from last Sunday (June 24, 2018). It was a happy occasion for me personally to have the privilege of baptizing my two grandsons. It was wonderful to do it at our beautiful church with so many of you present. We tend to take baptism for granted, a little tradition we keep of thanking God for the birth of a child. But baptism, properly understood, is much more than that and is anything but a common everyday experience. Baptism, like marriage, establishes a bond with another that is forever. In this case, the bond established in baptism is with our Lord Jesus Christ, who makes us his own in baptism. We may turn away from him, but like the perfect spouse He is, He will be ever faithful to us. Always thank God for your baptism, because in it God gives us the greatest of all gifts: His own Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

       This month marks 24 years that I have served as your priest, pastor, “father,” and friend. I thank all of you for your faithfulness and friendship, which mean everything to me. Our family will be “on vacation” for the next three weeks. Fr. Bill Dunning will be with you on two Sundays, July 1 and July 8. Fr. Tobias Haller will be with you on Sunday, July 15. They will celebrate Holy Eucharist on those dates at 9 a.m. Nevertheless, in case of a pastoral emergency, you may always reach me on my cell phone.

       Our good friend, Judy Martin, is receiving hospice care at home. Her daughter and our good friend, Ginny Prietz, lives with her and is taking good care of her, but Ginny needs surgery for breast cancer herself. She hopes to have that surgery this month. Please keep the two of them in your prayers. Our dear friend and acolyte, Byky Hipp, lost her mother last week after a long struggle. Please keep Byky in your prayers, that God will console her and fill her heart with new joy.

     Because of rain, we rescheduled the flea market for this coming Saturday (June 30) 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., on the rectory lawn.

      God bless you,

May 2018

Dear Friends,

         The Institute for Religion and Democracy (a non-profit group that resists the encroachment of liberalism in the churches) reported last week that Grace Cathedral in San Francisco recently held what they billed as a "Beyonce Mass." They conducted the Eucharist using music from the group Destiny’s Child. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Beyonce. I actually saw her in concert once in Baltimore. She is a wonderful performer and gifted songwriter. She was not at the event. They simply used her music. I have no criticism of her. My criticism is reserved for the organizers of this event. As part of the “liturgy," the organizers of this gala composed a new version of the Lord's Prayer to be used during the service in place of the “old Lord’s Prayer." The Lord’s Prayer is called the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus, Our Lord, taught it to his disciples. It is, therefore, the sacred responsibility of the church to preserve His prayer and to pray it. But liberalism in religion is all about doing new things. The first premise of liberalism in religion is that if the church isn’t changing, it isn’t growing; and a church that isn’t growing is dying. By this reasoning, therefore, the more the church changes the better. So, if we can change the Lord’s Prayer and make it better, make it more “relevant” to the modern age, why not? The modern age is a feminist age. We have emerged from the prison of sexism and male chauvinism in which we were confined for so many centuries. Would not Our Lord, were he living today, also be a feminist? Would he not want us to have a prayer free from images of male dominance?  Of course he would. Knowing this, the gurus of Grace Cathedral composed a new feminist or “womanist” version of the Lord’s Prayer. It goes as follows:

Our Mother, who is in heaven and within us,
We call upon your names.
Your wisdom come, your will be done
In all the spaces in which you dwell.
Give us each day sustenance and perseverance.
Remind us of our limits as we give grace to the limits of others.
Separate us from the temptation of empire,
But deliver us into community;
For you are the dwelling place within us
The empowerment around us and the celebration among us,
Now and forever.

       I am sure that many people think that this is wonderful prayer that brings a much needed change to our religion; call it progress. There is a lot we could say about this prayer; blasphemy is a word that comes to mind. Let me just make two points. One is that we have a Mother in Heaven and she does go by many names. Her name is Mary but she is also known as Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, The Immaculate Conception, Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven. The list goes on. Unfortunately, the gurus who composed this neo-pagan prayer to the goddess whom they believe dwells within us, were not thinking of her. There’s really no telling what or which deity they were thinking of or whether they were thinking at all. If they were thinking, they might have seen that this prayer is pure pantheism, a belief in the universal Spirit and in all spirits except the one and only Holy Spirit. They could never believe in Him; that would be too old fashioned. Either way this peon to new age narcissism is from liberals who are so anxious to change that they fail to see the heretical monster into which they have changed.

       Or maybe they do see, but just don’t care. I have been waiting for a letter from the bishops denouncing this mockery of the Holy Eucharist, announcing that those who did this have been defrocked and sent packing. But I have not seen it yet. My guess is that we never will.  Those who did this will no doubt be praised for their courage and prophetic voice and will soon be seated in the house of Bishops where they will be among other like–minded souls who also have been separated “from the temptation of empire,” whatever that means.

       What it means to me is that this denomination called “Episcopal “has lost its mind. But that is old news. Anyone who has ever compared the 1928 Book of Common Prayer to the new one recognizes that this church lost its marbles long ago. Those of us who have stayed the course are like good sons and daughters. You don’t abandon your mother when she has dementia. But there are nights when you sit alone on the couch and cry and wonder aloud, “How much longer can this go on? How much worse can it get?”



Fr. Jansen String


Dates to Remember

Friday–Sat. May 11–12  Annual Convention of the Diocese of Maryland at Turf Valley ( George Miller will attend as our delegate. Anyone who is interest is welcome to come and be present )

Saturday May 12   Flower Sale on Rectory lawn 8 am–1 o’clock (Tom Collins does a great job organizing this event. Please come and buy flowers to support your church)

Sunday May 13, Mothers' Day   Holy Eucharist 9 am, special Coffee Hour to follow

Sunday May 20, Day of Pentecost   Holy Eucharist 9am (Please wear red in honor of the Holy Spirit)

 Vestry Meeting to follow

Sunday May 27, Trinity Sunday   Holy Eucharist 9 am ( Please wear white in honor of the Holy Trinity)

Pastoral notes; Keep the following people in your prayers:

 Ed Kopicki is finally able to shake hands again! After four months in rehab Ruth Bunting is home, Tom Ogden is doing a great job caring for her; Judy Miller and her daughter Ginny Prietz are both at home fighting breast cancer and caring for each other; Dolores Bartol has not been able to get out and come to church in several months; it will be a year next month that Wes Green suffered a heart attack , he is still using a trach to breathe; Randy Harrison is still recovering from heart surgery with a wound that is slow to heal; a year later Pam Mancuso is still cancer free but Tony Mancuso had back surgery about six months ago and has not been able to return to work because of complications;  Dr. Elise LaDouceur  (Conni String’s daughter is due to give birth May 21, they’re expecting a boy to be named “Mel”! ).  Some of you may remember Heather and her 12-year-old daughter Serenity, the last we heard Serenity has been taken to foster care and Heather is back on the street; keep them both in your prayers. Remember, if you have a prayer need you may call Cindy Kopicki 410 284 1665 and she will start the prayer chain for you.

April 2018

Dear Friends,

                     One of the problems I have with the culture warriors in our society who are intent on defining America as a racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally evil nation is that those who seek to erase from the public square all monuments to our past which offend them, have yet to persuade me that they are themselves morally superior to the past generations that they so passionately excoriate. I grew up in Ohio and was raised to admire General and then President Grant. I later learned after reading his biography and his memoirs of the war that, although he was an exceptionally eloquent writer and gifted speaker, he may have on occasion used the “n” word. Should we not demolish Grant’s tomb because of that? Given time, maybe our moral superiors will. And on that day maybe they will also for similar reasons demolish Jefferson’s memorial and while they’re at it tear down Washington’s Monument too. I would be okay with that. After all, Jefferson was an agnostic Unitarian who literally cut up the Bible and edited out all the supernatural parts of the gospel in which he didn’t believe. And despite the propaganda of Parson Weems, who portrayed our first President as a saint, we know that in reality Washington was not a particularly reverent or religious man. Since what matters most to me is the Christian faith, I see no reason to memorialize two men who were little more than liberal pagans. Let’s bury them in the dust bin of history, what do you say? And as we rid our society of the memory of men who fell far short of glory of God, should we not extinguish the eternal flame on Kennedy’s grave and abolish the national holiday to Martin Luther King Jr.? Both of these men were adulterers. Is their sin not an offense to married women and to family life? Are they really deserving of the nation's honor?

       The answer, of course, is that they are, as are Jefferson and Washington, Grant and even Robert E Lee for that matter. Their monuments deserve to stand because even, if by our standards today, these men seem less than heroic to some of us, previous generations admired them, not for their sins but for the good they did despite their sins.  And those previous generations who also built this country for us are allowed, in a civilized nation, to have a voice. That’s called preserving tradition. By allowing a memorial to Grant or Jefferson to stand, we are not condoning use of the “n” word or advocating for slavery. We are accepting the fact that there was a country here long before we came along, and we owe a great debt to those previous generations who gave us great nation despite their obvious imperfections.  

         I raise this subject with you, because I find the latest salvo in the culture war to be particularly noxious. The city of Arcata, California, is going to take down a statue to President William McKinley because of the cruel treatment that some of the native Americans faced during his administration. There is no doubt that that generation cheated and cruelly mistreated native Americans. There’s also no doubt that had we left the West to the natives and not moved out to Hawaii, (there’s even a statue to McKinley in Hawaii) that those primitive pagan people’s would have been much happier. But their joy would have ended suddenly in 1941 when the Japanese Imperial Army would have invaded and conquered them and taught them a real lesson in the nature of racism and cruelty. No one wins when we try to rewrite history. Communists do this whenever they take over a society. Where has it gotten them? Where is the perfect society that communism has promised to build? McKinley was a civil war veteran who put his life on the line in the effort to end slavery. That took courage. And then in 1901, three years into his presidency, he paid the ultimate price in service to his country. He was assassinated in cold blood. Are we really so small that we don’t get how great a sacrifice a man makes when he dies for his country?      

       Millions of people hated Lincoln and for good reason. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died in a war he pursed relentlessly that could so easily have been avoided. And many despised Kennedy for all kinds of reasons. We live in a fallen world and in a very messy democracy. No one in politics or the military is a saint. But we honor these men because they served us in the highest office, and gave up their lives in the cause of defending our constitution. And even if we don’t like them anymore and can’t see why anyone ever did, we let their memorials stand because previous generations thought it was important to honor them. If the people in California want to make a statement about their modern values, let them build a monument depicting Colin Kapernick taking a knee and then set it directly across the street from McKinley’s statue. I would find that repulsive, but so be it. This is a big country and big people find a way to deal with things sanely. Condemning our history by tearing down memorials to past heroes is not the kind of thing big people do. It’s what communists do. And they are the last people on earth from whom we should be taking lessons in morality.



Fr. Jansen String



Dates to Remember

Sunday April 22  Holy Eucharist 9 am

Sunday April 29  Holy Eucharist 9 am

I would like to reorganize our Bible Study group. My suggestion would be to meet on Sundays after church from 10:30–11:30. Once Ed Kopicki is fully recovered, we may begin again to have monthly breakfasts on the first Sunday. We could have Bible Study on the second, third, and fourth Sundays. In order to have a good class with enough give and take discussion, we need about six to ten people. If you would have an interest in this, please let me know.