A real baking production-line process has been underway today, as our middle-school youth have prepared all sorts of over-the-top desserts for tomorrow's Spaghetti Supper. They worked under the direction of Sue Shackford with the hands-on help of several parents and seniors Ava & Elle -- for whom this may be year eight!
While the desserts will be amazing, the entre' will again be just as splendid: Chef Antonio's Spaghetti with meat balls, will be served by the youth with freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus bread and green salad. The proceeds from the dinner will support the activities of our middle-schoolers including the acolytes. The suggested donations are: $12 per adult; $30 for a family of three or more; children age 5 and under, eat for free.
This dinner will be a great opportunity to wear our new Name-Tags, and be able to address one another by name with confidence. For the evening, the Name-Tag boards will be moved to the Parish Hall, from the Narthex, or church vestibule, where we can find them in the morning.
Our terrific new Parish Photo Directories will also remain available. One per household, please! Please sign out your family's directory so we know to whom we need to deliver a copy.
Congratulations to the Evening ECW on their inaugural Soup & Bread Lunch on Saturday, April 22. Their hunch that the community would respond to an invitation to lunch before or after shopping at the Library's Paperback Booksale, proved to be well-founded. The Evening ECW dedicated the $440 proceeds toward additional work on Phase 2 of their Parish Hall enhancement project.
It's not too early to get excited about the Sunday's School's "Good Shepherd Musical," which will have its dress rehearsal, Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. The Sunday School will be largely responsible for the Liturgy of the Word on Good Shepherd Sunday, May 7, at the 10 a.m. service.
And, it's not too late to participate in the daytime ECW's Roses for Mother's Day project. Envelopes/forms are in the pews.
This past week was a busy one for our Youth Confirmation Group: We went on our NYC Adventure Saturday, April 22 -- to the Cloisters, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and Riverside Church; the next day, we met with other youth, seminarian Andrew Doss, and Jen McShane to view and discuss her "Mothers of Bedford" documentary; and on Thursday evening, we went to The Commons of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut(ECCT) for dinner and conversation with our Bishops, and other youth from across ECCT.
I'm going to brag about our young people: fellow mentor Jennifer Huebner and I were so impressed by their attentiveness, articulate expression, and good-humored participation! You can ask them how stained glass is made, but more importantly why light is so important in Christian worship, and how our bishops invite us all to respond to Jesus' call to be both disciples and apostles -- people who are gathered and sent.
Thank you for your prayers that saw us safely through and home from our trips!
p.s.: Social media provide new means for us to share and send the Good News of the Risen Life which we have received in our gathered fellowship as Christ Church. So, don't forget to be inspired again by our Choir's Maundy Thursday anthem, which you can find here, and their Easter anthem, accompanied by our strings, which you can find here. Please remember to "Like" them, and to "Share" them on your favorite social media platform.
Typically, at least the first weeks of Eastertide are rather quiet. Not with us! As the calendar shows, the Spirit is blessing Christ Church with lots of energy!
On Saturday, April 22, come with your neighbors and friends for a Soup & Bread Lunch between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.! Like a lot of Guilford, you'll probably already be in the neighborhood shopping the Paperback Booksale at the Guilford Free Library. Organized by the Evening ECW as a fund-raiser for the Parish Hall project, the lunch will feature crock-pot soups, artisan bread, fruit and desserts prepared by fellow parishioners.
While you all are busy with lunch and books, twelve youth and chaperones, including YFNR, will be on a daytrip to NYC's Cloisters, Riverside Church and Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This adventure is part of our youth confirmation preparation for this year -- which will also include our usual "last Monday" meeting on the 24th, and Dinner with our Bishops at The Commons in Meriden on the 27th. Please keep the youth, and their chaperones, in your prayers!
The moniker "Low Sunday" also won't fit our Second Sunday of Easter! In addition to the resumption of Sunday morning education programs after their Spring Break, two long-desired and much anticipated efforts will roll-out this Sunday: We now have prepared Name-Tags, and a printed Parish Photo Directory! The directory will be distributed after both the 8 and 10 a.m. services; only one per household, please. This mammoth undertaking required working across different software platforms; a task that turned out to be much more complicated than first anticipated. We have Pat Daunic to thank for pulling together this printed version, and Sue Shackford for taking almost all of the photos. If your photo did not make it into the printed directory, it's not too late: An on-line version, usable from your mobile phone, will follow soon.
We have Susan Leonard to thank for getting our handsome new name-tags made. The Rev. Anne Richards talked about these with the Vestry last summer, and, with other members of the In-Reach Committee, Susan did the follow-up work to get them produced and organized. This Sunday, the In-Reach Committee will introduce the simple system for picking up and returning your name-tag each Sunday. The photo directory and name-tags will help us all put names and faces together.
"Promise to Protect: Pledge to Heal" sums up the "Community Prayer Service for the Prevention and Awareness of Child Abuse" which St. George Roman Catholic Church will host this Wednesday evening, April 26, at 7 p.m. For this Interfaith service, the St. George clergy will share leadership with a First Congregational Church minister, Temple Beth Tikvah's rabbi, and YFNR from Christ Church. I hope you will consider supporting this important effort with your participation.
Almost every conversation this week has included gratitude for the inspiring services of Holy Week and Easter Sunday! While I might rightly deserve the blame when things don't go well, I certainly do not deserve the credit when our worship is as splendid as it was Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. That credit goes to our Acolytes, Altar Guild members, Chalice Bearers, Lectors, Ushers, and to our Choir and string musicians!
If you missed Mark Sullivan's moving organ recital during our Good Friday Three-Hour Watch, then I'm afraid you missed an outstanding opportunity for quiet and contemplation. If you were here on Maundy Thursday and Easter, you know how terrific our Choir's anthems were and how our great was our string ensemble, led by Suky Bryan! Thanks to our Music Director's creativity, we can all enjoy them over and over again. You'll find the Maundy Thursday anthem here, and the Easter anthem, accompanied by strings, here. Please remember to "Like" them, and to "Share" them on your favorite social media platform.
And for the youngest among us, it would not have been Easter without the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Thanks to the ECW for providing and stuffing many plastic eggs. Sunday School Director Laurie Varley prepared the rest and was here early on Sunday morning to organize the hunt.
Our parish grounds were ready for the Egg Hunt, thanks to the Holy Saturday Yard Clean-up organized by Junior Warden Sue Shackford. Thirteen of us responded, including Brunettis, Bryans, Crossleys, Kay Claiborn, David Kish, David Oshana, Marion Williams, and YFNR. This crew got so into their labors, Sue had to remind folks to take a break and drink some water!
Grateful for Holy Week and Easter Sunday with you, I look forward to sharing the adventures of these coming days.
In faith and hope,
Last Sunday, as we followed our Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, we heard shouts of "Hosanna," that he came in the name of God, and as King David's heir. Jesus' popular acclaim made the civil and religious authorities truly nervous; what were they going to do with him? We also heard the answer to that question last Sunday: They were going to have him killed.
On three Holy Days, we make the journey from Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples, to his arrest at Gethsemane, to his abuse before religious and civil authorities, to his agonizing death on Calvary, to the tomb, and then after a day of quiet, the emptiness of the tomb; and, we reach with Jesus, the new Risen Life, to which he invites us all.
This Maundy Thursday morning, we learned that the Lent Madness 2017 "Golden Halo" goes to Episcopalian Florence Nightingale! Through this absurd Lenten ritual, I have again become more aware of, amazed by, and grateful for the "great cloud of witnesses" who surround us all. Of the other "faithful four," I knew of St. Stephen -- deacon and the church's first martyr, but not of Austrian conscientious objector and Nazi martyr Franz Jaggerstatter, or of devout Episcopalian, temperance and women's equality advocate Amelia Bloomer. By following Lenten Madness, I learned that in serving her patients, Nightingale recognized she was serving God: “Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or cold marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit?"
As the Spirit leads us through these three holy days, I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
In faith and hope,
It may not appear on the Town Calendar, but the Ecumencial Liturgy of the Palms surely belongs among Guilford's great traditions on the Green. On Palm Sunday, Christ Church joins with our neighbors from First Congregational and St. George Churches, to recall Our Lord's entry into Jerusalem. We meet at 9:45 a.m. at the center of the Green, to hear the story of the procession down the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, to bless and wave "leafy branches," just like those who welcomed Jesus, and to proclaim him the heir to King David. When we have prayed and sung together, we turn to our respective houses of worship to begin Holy Week.
Palm Sunday has another name: Sunday of the Passion. On this Sunday, we read ahead through the events of the coming days -- teachings and actions that reveal Jesus' love for us. In particular, we read the portion of Matthew's account of Jesus' Passion from his trial before PIlate to his death and burial. We typically read this portion of the Passion in parts, and the almost universal custom is for the congregation to take the part of the "crowd" calling for Jesus to be crucified. In recent years, we are an exception to this practice.
As "Christ Church," we are a fellowship bearing the name of Christ; as such, we are a gathered body of Jesus. Therefore, in recent years, the whole worshiping assembly has taken the part of Jesus, and reads his words. Individuals and groups among us will recall the words of those who wanted Jesus dead. As a "religious authority" of sorts, it pains me to recall the evil done when other religious authorities felt threatened by Jesus.
The Church's calendar for Lent, Holy Week and Easter, is determined by the sun and the moon, and so, they move earlier and later each year. Our Guilford Public School's calendar for spring break is set as the second full week in April. This year, Holy Week and Spring Break are the same week! With families and Spring Break trips beginning a.s.a.p., our Sunday formation programs for children and youth will not meet on Palm Sunday this year. And we will want to keep all travelers in our prayers, including the Guilford High School Choir traveling to Ireland, and the Pilgrim Fellowship traveling to New Orleans.
With the shortened interval between services on Palm Sunday, the Rectory Forum will forgo its meeting. Participants in Tuesday's Soup Supper are encouraged to read chapters 7 & 8 in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door before this week's meeting. The stories of "Naming & UnNaming," and "Love & Xing" seem particularly poignant for the Passion. There may be a sermon or two in there!
For this week's reflection on "Our Holy Land," I encourage you to become acquainted with the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. This organization, based in Connecticut, provides a vital opportunity for us to connect to the spiritual, educational, and healing work of the Episcopal Church ln our Holy Land. You can find a video introduction to AFEDJ here.
When the UConn Women's Basketball Team lost their first game after 111 victories in the final four of the March Madness women's tournament, that was a surprising upset! A similar shocking upset happened this week in Lent Madness when Florence Nightingale "defeated" Martin Luther. What made Luther's "loss" particularly surprising, is that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral. That was the 1517 version of posting on-line, his objections to certain traditions and practices of the Catholic Church. The theological conversation he hoped to begin, is generally credited with beginning the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Of course, Nurse Nightingale began a revolutionary reformation of her own; hers was in nursing, and we continue to benefit from the work she began.
You can follow, and vote on the final four -- St. Stephen, Franz Jaggerstatter, Amelia Bloomer and Florence Nighingale -- this week, by going to www.lentmadness.org.
Wherever this week finds you, I hope you will find times and places to follow Jesus' passion.
In faith and hope,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!