In Memoriam: Helen Fleming (1930-2024)

In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, we share the sad news that Helen Davison Fleming, a longtime member of Church of Our Saviour, died at home on Wednesday. 

Helen and her husband, Chisna, who was called Cue, moved to Akron in 1955, and they and their family became active members of Church of Our Saviour soon afterward. Helen, shown above reading at Mother Debra’s celebration of new ministry in 2014, was a lector and sang in the choir.

Helen was preceded in death by Cue in 2006, by her son Kevin in 2017, and by her brother, Harold Davison in 2019. She is survived by her son, Martin; daughters, Giselle and Rachel; and by their families and many other relatives and friends. Read her obituary.

Calling hours will be held at Billow Funeral Home, 85 N. Miller Road, Akron, on March 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. Helen’s funeral will be held on March 5 at noon at Church of Our Saviour. Mother Debra will officiate and preach. Inurnment will be at Ohio Western Reserve Cemetery in Rittman. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Church of Our Saviour in Helen’s memory.

Lent 2024 at Church of Our Saviour

Download the Lenten schedule as a pdf.

Tuesday, February 13, 5:30 p.m.: Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Wednesday February 14: Ash Wednesday

  • Noon to 1:00 p.m: Imposition of Ashes & Noonday Prayer
  • 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m: Imposition of Ashes & Holy Eucharist

Tuesdays & Thursdays, beginning February 15

  • Not By Bread Alone: Contemplative Prayer & Reflections
  • Noonday Contemplative Prayer & Reflection: the church will be open for individual prayer & reflection from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.: Conversations on the Prodigal Son: Reflections by Henri Nouwen and others. Service of Compline follows conversation.

 Lenten Series: Jesus Wept. A Sunday Lenten Series Of Music, Story & Lament

Sundays, Noon to 1:30 p.m., beginning February 18

You are invited to join us as we focus each week on the human condition, where we find Christ in our midst, and how our lives and the lives of others are impacted by the words we will hear through music, story and lament. We will use various selections and reflections as a guide for our conversations. Each week will help us see how our wilderness experiences and witness are integral to our seeking and serving Christ in all persons and to loving our neighbors as ourselves. Mickey will lead the discussion with musical selections and Mo. Deb will give the theological reflections.

See Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, one of the pieces of music that will guide our reflections:

February 18: First Word

  • “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Jesus Wept

February 25: Second Word

  • “Today you will be with me in paradise’’ – Jesus Wept

March 3: Third Word

  • “Woman, behold your son!” Behold your Mother!” – Jesus Wept

March 10: Fourth Word

  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Jesus Wept

March 17: Fifth Word

  • “I thirst” – Jesus Wept

Palm Sunday, March 24: Sixth Word

  • “It is finished” – Jesus Wept

Seventh Word

  • “Into your hands, I commend my spirit”  – Jesus Wept

Reconciliation of a Penitent*

This sacrament will be offered during the Lenten season by appointment.

If you wish to engage in this sacrament, please contact Mo. Debra

*A rite by which a minister of the church absolves and offers forgiveness of sin to a penitent in the name of Christ and the church. It provides a means by which one who experiences separation from the Christian community because of sin can be reconciled and healed. It is particularly appropriate during the penitential season of Lent.

Holy Week

March 24, 10:30 a.m. Palm Sunday

  • Liturgy of the Palms & Eucharist with dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative with music

March 25, Tuesday of Holy Week

  • 11:00 a.m. Renewal of Baptismal Ordination Vows
  • 7:00 p.m. Conversation on the Prodigal Son Lenten Study via Zoom. Compline follows          

March 26, Wednesday of Holy Week

  • 7:30 p.m. Service of Tenebrae

March 27, Maundy Thursday

  • 6:00 p.m. Agape meal
  • 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Maundy Thursday Eucharist/Foot Washing/Stripping of the Altar
  • 9:00 p.m. Friday Vigil Watch at the Altar of Repose

March 28, Good Friday

  • 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Reconciliation of the Penitent
  • Noon: Good Friday Liturgy
  • 7 p.m.: Good Friday Liturgy with the Seven Last Words

March 29, Holy Saturday

  • 8:00 p.m. Great Vigil of Easter

March 30, Easter Sunday

  • 10:30 a.m. Festival Eucharist with the Music of Easter

The Friendly Closet: 2023 Review

The Friendly Closet continues to be a great resource for the community and through donations from the parish and friends of the parish, we have been able to provide clothing and household goods to our neighbors and guests for another year. A number of major improvements have taken place in the Friendly Closet in 2023 including new lighting, new shelving, and increased organization. We have many more projects planned for 2024!

This year the Friendly Closet has received numerous donations including a large donation of men’s clothing from the family of the Rev. Canon Dr. Harold T. Lewis. These donations have boosted our inventory and allowed us to expand our ability to help more guests. In addition, donations of age appropriate clothing, formal wear, and interview ready apparel have been sent from our closet to North High School, where a similar operation is in place. (Thank you to Kay for heading up that mission).

A special thank you to our wonderful volunteers, without whom this project would not be possible, Margaret & John McBride; Kay Starr; Maggie & Ray Boswell; Jennifer Boswell; Sue Papp; Diane Hawkins; Anne Schwan; Clara Vagadia; Megan Smith; Eric Smith; Vicki & Mike Smith; Kevin Metz; Hannah Lebo; Jim Simon; Victoria Ramey; Mike Kemp; and Bill Culbertson.

As the temperatures get (and stay) colder the Friendly Closet needs the following items:

  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Winter Coats (Men’s & Women’s)
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Winter boots/Shoes (Men’s & Women’s)
  • Warm socks

As always, we accept donations of gently used clothing, books, and household goods.

Interested in volunteering with the Friendly Closet?

We meet at 9 am on the Saturday before the first Dinner on Us of the month for a workday and re-set the closet on the Sunday between the two Dinner on Us days of the month

Upcoming work dates

  • Sunday, January 28: re-set day [after 10:30 service]
  • Saturday, February 3: Closet workday [9 am – noon (ish)]
  • Sunday, February 25: re-set day [after 10:30 service]
  • Saturday, March 16: Closet workday [9 am – noon (ish)]
  • Sunday, March 24: re-set day [after 10:30 service]

Please see Megan Smith with any questions.

The Feast of Blessed Absalom Jones and Commemoration of the Rt. Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris

On Saturday February 10 at 1 p.m., Church of Our Saviour, together with the the people of the Wilma Ruth Combs Northeast Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, will host the diocese’s annual festival Eucharist celebrating Absalom Jones, the first Black priest ordained in the Episcopal Church, whose feast day is February 13. At this service, we will also commemorate the life of the Rt. Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris, the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, whose life and ministry is commemorated on February 11, the anniversary of her ordination as bishop.

This service will be a joyful celebration of these saints whose lives and ministries inspire us as we continue our work of reconciliation and dismantling racism to move closer to becoming Beloved Community. Please join us!

Bishop Anne Jolly will preside at the service, and the Rev. Edwin Daniel Johnson, director of organizing at the Episcopal City Mission in Boston, Massachusetts, will preach.

About the Rev. Edwin Johnson

The Rev. Edwin Daniel Johnson is an enthusiastic and lifelong lover of Jesus and Episcopalian. Walter and Vilma, his loving parents from Montserrat and Costa Rica respectively, sought out diverse and loving communities in which to raise him which included St. John’s and St. James’s Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Edwin experienced the call to ministry at age five during baptism and got his first taste of community organizing and collective power at age 11 with the Roxbury Church Collaborative. It was then he gained clarity around the nature of his call to Gospel Joy and Justice

Read more on the website of the Episcopal City Mission.

Advent and Christmas at Church of Our Saviour

Join us during this holy season as we prepare to welcome the Christ Child!

Sunday December 3: First Sunday of Advent

Tuesdays in Advent: Finding Light In The Darkness: Advent Expectation and Hope 

Join us Tuesday evenings in Advent December 5, 12 and 19 at 7 p.m. via Zoom for a three-week series as we explore the ways in which light shines when it seems the darkest. Compline will follow as usual at 8 p.m. Use the Zoom link for worship.

Sunday December 10: Second Sunday in Advent Annual Blue Christmas Service at 4 p.m. All are welcome.

Saturday, December 16: Breakfast with St Nick in the Parish House. Children of all ages are welcomed. More information to come.

Sunday, December 17: Jingle Bell Bake-off after church

Wednesday, December 20: Dinner on Us at 5:30 p.m.; Food and Faith at the Yeboah-Amankwah home at 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 23: Greening of the Church at 9:30 a.m.

Sunday, December 24:

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Worship at 10:30 a.m.

Music of Christmas and Carol Sing at 10:30 p.m.

Christ Mass Festival Eucharist at 11 p.m.

Monday, December 25: Christmas Day P.J. Service via Zoom at 9 a.m.

Sunday, December 31: Lessons and Carols at 10:30 a.m.

It’s Nominating Season!

At the parish’s annual meeting in January, we will be electing three members to the vestry, a representative to the Summit Mission Area Council and two members of the nominating committee. If you are interested in serving in any of those positions, please contact a member of the current nominating committee:  Jennifer Boswell, Susan Kirksey, Jim Naughton, Sue Papp and Deidre Stone-Jackson.  

2024 Stewardship Letter

“Gracefully abundant – This is who we are and this is what we are about.”

September 24, 2023

Actions speak louder than words.” How many hundred, if not thousand, times have we seen this phrase used to better understand a person’s priorities, actions, motivations, etc? The reason why actions speak louder than words is that it’s very easy to say something, but quite another to do it.

Our Parish does not just say nice things or daydream about what is possible. Nor, is the sharing that happens within our missions and ministries done to be noticed by others. We do it because that is what God calls us to do because out of God’s love for us, God calls us to share in God’s work of transformation responsibly, sensitively and thoughtfully – some might say gracefully – to steward the parts of God’s abundance entrusted to both our Parish and to each of us personally during our lives, for the benefit of God’s people and creation.

God’s graceful abundance is poured out daily on us and – with your help – on those we come alongside of and serve and is manifested through our Parish’s many ministries, including: Altar Guild, Chalice Bearers, Christian Education and Formation for Children and Adults, Dinner on Us, Vacation Bible School, The Friendly Pantry, The Friendly Closet, Akron Pride, National Night Out Against Crime, Trunk or Treat, and the list goes on.

Our Parish also demonstrated its values and priorities through the decision many years ago to remain where we have been for over 130 years in Akron’s West Hill neighborhood, working to share God’s graceful abundance with the residents of our neighborhood in ways that make a positive impact on the quality of their day-to-day lives.

However, it is impossible for our Parish to share God’s graceful abundance without your commitment of time and financial resources. The unmet needs of our neighborhood and world continue to grow, and can only be met through our action together, which is why we respectfully ask you to consider an increased commitment (as you are able) of your time and your financial resources so that we can continue to do and to be about the work of sharing God’s graceful abundance with God’s people and creation.

As we each pray and discern God’s call to each of us to share the part of God’s abundance entrusted to us with our Parish in 2024, please listen for and be open to doing new things to share God’s graceful abundance and to providing our Parish, as you are able, the necessary annual and special support so that we can continue to do and be about the work of sharing God’s graceful abundance.


Mo .Debra Q Bennett (ex officio)Kevin MetzVicki SmithJim Simon

The Stewardship Committee

P.S. This year, you will continue to be able to make your pledge either online or by paper, depending on your preference. As you prayerfully consider your annual pledge, we ask that pledges be received by Sunday, November 5, 2023 to allow us the time we need to prepare and submit our Parish’s annual budget for the Vestry’s consideration.