I am sending the e-letter early this week since I will be at the Evangelism Matters conference on Thursday. The calendar pertains to next week, but all of the announcements are current. And I’ve repeated the information about my being away here:
From Wednesday, March 14 to Saturday, March 17 I will be away. I’ve been asked to represent the Diocese, along with two others, at a conference sponsored by the Presiding Bishop’s office: Evangelism Matters. It will be held at St. Paul’s Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. PB Curry’s two major initiatives are racial reconciliation and evangelism. He is a powerful and dynamic speaker, and I am looking forward to the conference. There will also be a variety of workshops and presenters. While I am away I will be posting updates to both the diocesan and parish Facebook pages. My colleagues and I will then be sharing what we have learned about Episcopal-style evangelism with others in the diocese, and of course with all of you! Please pray for our safe travel and for the Holy Spirit to be at work in this conference. Now for some practical items during my absence:
- Pastoral emergencies needing a priest will be covered by the Rev. Paul Olsson of St. Paul’s, Morris Plains, known to some of you. Paul’s cell number is 973-615-6211.
- The Wednesday morning Bible Study and the Thursday 7:00 am service is cancelled for the week.
- For general questions, call Parish Administrator Susie Harris in the office.
- For anything else that can’t wait until I get back, call the Wardens Tom Hackett and Roger Kosempel.
- Family Promise (Helping Hands)
- Labyrinth Walk (Lent)
- Epworth Youth Choir Concert (Fun & Fellowship)
Thank You to Bonnie Stocker and her crew (Frank McGrath, Roger & Helen Mederos, Afsaneh Thursfield, Lisa Webb, and Hugh Wallace, and Alison Siener Brown) for providing Sunday Night Supper for the storm-weary last week. It came together very quickly, the food was delicious, and the company great!
Easter Ribbon Banner Making, on Palm Sunday during Coffee Hour. We’ll need some volunteers to help make ribbon banners to hand in the parking lot. We’ll have the ribbon, wire, and scissors. We just need you!
Epworth Youth Choir Tour Concert & Dinner, Tuesday, March 27, 7:00 pm in the Church. This middle school and high school choir from First United Methodist Church in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, will present a concert of traditional anthems. The second half of the program is a musical by Dean Wagner called “Keeping Vigil with Jesus.” This concert is a wonderful Lenten opportunity and will appeal to kids as well as adults. Parishioners are invited to have dinner with the choir at 5:30 pm. We will need some volunteers to shop, do some food prep, set up the meal (taco and salad bar), clean up afterwards, and visit with our guests – 35 students and 10 adult chaperones. Please sign up on the sheet in the Narthex if you can help or want to attend the meal.
The First Party of Easter follows the Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 31, in the Narthex. We need some simple refreshments to continue the best service of the year! Take a look at the sign-up sheet for what we need.
Family Promise Homeless Shelter - Monday, March 26. It’s our turn to serve homeless families once again at Trinity House in Stirling. We need the following help: meatloaf; a kid-friendly entreé; a starch; a veggie; salad; fruit; dessert; 2 greeters; 2 overnighters. To volunteer, call Afsaneh Thursfield 908-839-8158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, because this is Holy Week, Trinity House is looking for additional volunteers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Speak to Afsaneh for more information. Thank you for all you do to help these families get back on their feet!
Easter Flowers & Music - If you would like to make a donation for Easter flowers or guest musicians in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for a particular blessing, please use the envelopes found in the pew. Be sure to include the names of the people being remembered or honored; they will appear in all the Easter bulletins. The deadline for the names is March 19.
Celtic Worship with Irish music in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 18, at 5:00 pm, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 9 E Main St., Mendham, NJ. Sponsored by the parishes of St. Mark’s, St. Bernard’s, & All Saints’. Come for peaceful evening worship.
Maundy Thursday Agapé Meal, March 29, 6:00 pm. Agapé is the Greek word for God’s love – and the way we share it in community: holy hospitality. We’ll gather for a simple pot-luck meal, as Jesus and his disciples did, before our Maundy Thursday worship. We’ll be sharing this meal with the Christian (Catholic) Community in the Parish House Lower Room. Sign up on the sheet in the Narthex. Hope to see you there!
Foot Washing at Maundy Thursday Worship, March 29, 7:30 pm. This action is a symbol of the loving service to others that Jesus calls us to – basic, humble, prayerful, vulnerable. It is part of Maundy Thursday worship in churches all over the world. During the singing of a chant, the congregation is invited to come forward, have one foot washed, and then wash the foot of the person who comes after them. This care for one another is deeply moving. Wearing shoes and socks that are easily removable makes this easier.
Prayer Watch, anytime Maundy Thursday night, 8:30 pm to 12 am. Come and keep watch in the Church with Jesus for thirty minutes on the night of his trials in the Garden of Gethsemane (Altar of Repose with the Reserved Sacrament). Although this is a time for personal prayer and meditation, it is something done on the part of our whole parish community, even if you haven’t been able to attend worship earlier. The watch will conclude at midnight. Sign up for a half hour prayer time on the sheet in the Narthex.
Good Friday, March 30, 7:30 pm. At our Good Friday Liturgy this year we will have two guest musicians: Lydia Anthony and Kristen Sands, both of who have sung with us before. They will sing several movements from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, as well as the plainsong version of the Passion according to John, along with Director of Music Alison Siener Brown. We are very blessed to be able to have Kristen and Lydia join us. Please invite a friend to join you for Good Friday worship.
Bible Study/Book Study – resumes Wednesday, March 21 at 10:15 am, in the Rath House. We are reading and discussing Inwardly Digest: The Prayer Book as Guide to a Spiritual Life, by Derek Olsen. Can’t come Wed. mornings? Pick up a copy and read it on your own. The books are in the Narthex and cost $20.
Pilgrim Study Group Mondays, 7-8:30 pm in the Rath House. This 6-week session is based on the theme Church & Kingdom. “What does it mean to live as a child of the kingdom of God and follow in the way of Christ each day as a member of the Church? How does it affect our life at work as well as at home? How is the Christian faith changing us and shaping us so that we become more like Jesus?” Questions? Speak to Mother Vicki.
The candidates for election as our next bishop have been announced. You can read more about them here: https://dioceseofnewark.org/content/standing-committee-announces-candidates-xi-bishop-opens-petition-process . We’ll also have a poster in the Narthex with the candidates’ photos, and packets of the website information for you to take if you prefer to read print.
SAVE THE DATE
Sunday, May 13 for Bishop Beckwith’s last visitation with us before his retirement.
3/19 Pilgrim Group Rath House, 7:00 pm
3/20 Vestry Rath House, 7:30 pm
3/21 Bible/Book Study Rath House, 10:15 am
3/22 Eucharist & Healing Church, 7:00 am
Junior Choir Choir Room, 5:15 pm
Adult Choir Choir Room, 7:30 pm
For a full schedule of our buildings check the website calendar www.allsaintsmillington.org.
When most Christians hear the word Sabbath, it means Sunday to them – specifically the day to worship God by going to church services. But the Biblical meaning of Sabbath is much deeper and richer than that.
It begins with the idea of rest, because God rested after six “days” of creation (Genesis 2:1-3). The seventh day became Shabbat (in Hebrew), related to our word sabbatical. This was reinforced in the covenant of the Ten Commandments – being the Fourth Commandment: Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.”
In Judaism the Sabbath is a day of rest and joy, safe in the knowledge that the Lord is in charge of the world, and needs us to do nothing other than enjoy his presence with family, friends, and the gathered community in worship. It reminds us that we are more than our work or our own efforts. It is a weekly re-set and re-charging, remembering who and whose we are.
The focus of Christian worship shifted from Saturday to Sunday (“the first day of the week”) because that is the day of Jesus’ resurrection. Because all the first Christians were Jews, the idea and experience of Sabbath was extremely important and was transferred to Sunday, “the Lord’s Day.”
Over the centuries Sunday Sabbath keeping often had the force of law (think of Sunday “blue laws”) and in some communities was very restrictive, and almost grim (as with the Puritans). But at heart, Sabbath is about gratitude to God for rest, restoration, God’s providence in the creation and support of the world, and our humble response of praise and thanksgiving in worship. Sabbath is about remaking our bodies, hearts, and relationships.
In our 24/7 world Sabbath (whether on Sunday or any other day) has become very difficult, but still no less important. Is there a time in your week when you can stop, “let go and let God”, and turn your heart to the Lord in thanks and confidence; and have your batteries recharged physically, emotionally, spiritually?
Lenten blessings, Vicki+