Lent begins next week. It’s an opportunity for us to take stock of where we are – in our relationships with others, in our work, our prayer, our practice of faith – and allow God to nudge us a bit (or maybe a lot!) to help us be less distracted, more intentional about putting our relationship with God front and center. In our worship we move to a more subdued tone – refraining from “Alleluia”; using purple vestments and altar hangings; replacing silver at the altar with brass, pottery, and wood; simplifying our service music and using the older Rite 1 language for both our Sunday services.
Research shows that the most effective way people grow in their faith and closeness to God is through participating in a group where they can share ideas and questions with others and engage Scripture and Christian ideas for themselves. Lent is an ideal time to do that. I hope you will consider being a part of the Monday night Signs of Life group that runs for five weeks. Or come to the Wednesday morning Bible study.
If you are looking for a book to read for Lent, the Church of England’s theme this year is #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation, based on the book Saying Yes to Life by Ruth Valerio.Here’s a quote from the book’s description on Amazon: “As people made in the image of God, we are entrusted to look after what God has made – to share in the joy and creativity of God in making a difference for good. Ruth Valerio imaginatively draws on the Days of Creation (Genesis 1 - 2.2) in relating themes of light, water, land, the seasons, other creatures, humankind, Sabbath rest and resurrection hope to matters of environmental, ethical and social concern.”
Whatever you choose, I hope and pray you will approach Lent this year with purpose, humility, and hope, so that you will be ready to celebrate the joy and power of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter. ~ VGM+
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Here are this week’s announcements, especially:
- Murder Mystery Dinner Night – Feb. 22 (Parish Life)
- Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper & Burning of Palms – Feb. 25 (Parish Life)
- Signs of Life (Lenten Offerings)
- Ash Wednesday (Worship)
- Family Promise (Outreach)
Grateful Gathering: February 22, 6:00 pm, Parish Hall
Murder Mystery Dinner Night! This is a fun event to gather together as a parish and spend an evening together. Primarily for adults, it’s appropriate for youth in middle school and older, also. Table teams will work together to solve the mystery of a murder drama with a 1920’s/Jazz Age theme, directed by Laurie Gaulke. Dinner will be catered at $15 per person; you bring a dessert or appetizer. Period costumes welcome! Hope to see you there!
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Feb. 25, 5:45-7:30 pm. Burning of the Palms, 5:30 pm
Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday – traditionally a time for using up all the butter/oil/sweets in the house – hence the pancakes! It’s also the day to burn last year’s Palm Sunday palms to make ashes for Ash Wednesday. If you have last year’s palms, please bring them.$5 per person/$20 maximum per household; kids under age 3 are free. Sign up on the sheet in the Narthex so we know you are coming and if you can help set-up/serve/clean-up. Thanks!
Ash Wednesday, February 26 is the start of Lent. Here are the service times for the day:
9:30 am Eucharist & Ashes
7:30 pm Eucharist & Ashes with music
11:45 am-1:00 pm Drop-in for Prayer & Ashes
Evening Prayer, Mondays, 6:30 pm (5 weeks in March)
Holy Eucharist & Healing Prayer, Thursdays, 7:00 am
Lent is the season in which we prepare to celebrate Christ’s Passion and Resurrection – the cornerstone and core of our faith. Traditionally the Church calls us to practice repentance by intentional prayer, care for the poor (almsgiving), and discipline of our bodies and souls (fasting). This year we are offering several ways for you to engage the season – either individually or in a group.
Lenten Group – Signs of Life: Why Church Matters; Mondays, 7:00-8:30 pm. The themes of Light, Water, Food, Shelter, and Community are signs and symbols at the heart of Christian worship. They will be the basis of each week with a short video, a brief written reflection, and discussion. A Signs of Life Reader is available (whether you come to the group or not). Please sign up for the sessions on the sheet in the Narthex.
Lent Daily Practices Calendar – pick up the brochure containing a thought or action for each day. This calendar combines emphases from Signs of Life and the Way of Love.
Forward Day by Day – the new quarter of our daily devotional is available in both pocket-size and large print.
Individual Confession can be an important and life-giving practice, and Lent is a particularly good time to try this. Please make an appointment with one of the clergy if you would like to make a confession.
ShopRite Cards – buy a ShopRite gift card for your own groceries or as a gift for someone else. You pay face value and All Saints’ gets 5%. See Barbara Barbeau or call the Parish Office.
Save the Date, May 17 at 4:00 pm – Altar Window Concert. Our Parish Choir will present a concert to continue our fund-raising efforts to restore our Resurrection Window.
Family Promise: March 9 is our next date to serve at the homeless shelter program when it is hosted at Trinity House in Stirling. We always love to have new folks be part of this wonderful outreach ministry – cooking, greeting/visiting with shelter guests, staying overnight at Trinity House in a private room. Interested – want to help? Speak with Afsaneh Thursfield, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bible Study will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 10:15 am in the Rath House, discussing Revelation, Chapter 20. New folks are always welcome. Questions? Speak to Mother Vicki.
Sunday Forum – our next Sunday Forum will be on March 15 at 11:15 am. Sister Deborah Francis will give a presentation and discussion on praying with icons. Do plan to come and learn about this visual form of prayer.
AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Open Minds – Harmonium Concert; Saturday, February 29 at 8:00 pm & Sunday, March 1 at 3:00 pm at The Presbyterian Church in Morristown, 57 East Park Place, Morristown, NJ, 07960. At a time when so many people are aware of and experiencing mental health issues of all kinds – personally or with those they love – the theme of this concert is very appropriate. It focuses on mental health with the major new cantata Open Minds by Rob Redei on poetry by Deborah Kennedy, and works by Allegri, Parente, Barnwell, Trumbore, James Taylor and more. Harmonium is a Morristown-based choral society that includes professional and highly skilled amateur choral singers between the ages of 16 and 80+. For tickets and further information, please take a look here: http://www.harmonium.org/
2/25 Burning of Palms, Parish House, 5:30 pm
Pancake Supper, Parish House, 5:45-7:30 pm
2/26 Holy Eucharist & Ashes, 9:30 am
Bible Study, Rath House, 10:15 am
Drop-in for Ashes & Prayer, 11:45 am-1:00 pm
Holy Eucharist & Ashes, 7:30 pm
2/27 Eucharist & Healing Prayer, 7:00 am, Church
Junior Choir, 5:30 pm, Choir Room
Adult Choir, 7:30 pm, Choir Room
For a full schedule of our buildings check the website calendar www.allsaintsmillington.org
The Way of Love: Rest – “As a person of faith in a world of diminishing faith, what do you need? Could you use some rest? Can you imagine a break from the worry, division, and anxiety that dominates our conversations and country? Would you consider allowing your fears to rest in the company of Jesus? Are you willing to explore this practice of quiet reflection, prayer, and rest?” ~ from Bishop Hughes’ reflection on rest and quiet which is on the diocesan webpage. Here is the link to the full article: https://dioceseofnewark.org/bishops-vlog/come-me-yourselves-quiet-place-and-get-some-rest