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Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord! Luke 19:38
Sunday we begin our walk together into the central events of the Christian faith. Our Palm Sunday procession begins in the narthex with Luke’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Some of our middle school students will accompany our processional song on their musical instruments. Instrumentalists should arrive early. The gospel tells the story of Jesus’ last hours with his disciples, his arrest and crucifixion. This is the story that will occupy us throughout the days of holy week.
Maundy Thursday 7:30 pm
Good Friday 7:30 pm
These services have reference in the story of Jesus’ life, as told by the Gospel writers. But their spiritual importance for us as Christians is profound. The services of Holy Week remind us of the grace that supports our lives-in the word and sacraments-and of the need for us to center our lives in prayer. Thursday and Friday services will include time for meditation and silent prayer for the healing of our minds, our hearts, and our bodies.
The organ task committee has been at work, meeting with organ builders and driving around to hear about organs and listen to them play. After careful deliberation and thoughtful discussion, a decision has been reached. The council approved the signing of a contract with an organ builder. You will hear about the plan for a new organ on Sunday. This is big news for our music-loving congregation!
The choir rehearses at 8:45. Thank you to Kathryn and to the members of the choir for leading us through Holy Week with music.
Sunday is the last day to sign up for Easter flowers. The cost is $10. Mark yourself paid. Sign up for the Easter brunch and egg hunt.
During the faith formation hour-11:00 am – 12 noon- Steve and Nancy Meshon will present a Passover Seder. Thank you in advance to Steve and Nancy for sharing this Jewish tradition with us.
Confirmation students have been working on the vegetable garden. They are building an arbor out of branches from the grounds. The confirmation class and their parents meet Sunday afternoon from 4 – 5 to continue their work.
Bring in stew and chili for A Place to Turn in Natick.
Jonathan and Bruce scheduled to play at Old South Meeting House Monday, April 15
Old South Meeting House welcomes visitors for respite and reflection on the 6th anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon, now recognized as OneBoston Day. From 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, enjoy the peaceful music of the locally renowned flute-guitar duo, Bruce Goody and Jonathan Moretz. Explore the museum and 1729 National Historic Site at your leisure. Free admission for Massachusetts residents.
Palm Sunday April 14 9:30 am
Maundy Thursday April 18 7:30 pm
Good Friday April 19 7:30 pm
Easter Day April 21 9:30 am
I hope that all of you will join in our congregation’s walk through these central days of the Christian calendar that center us on the central truths of our faith.
The choir will sing at all the services Middle school instrumentalists will play on Palm Sunday
The brass group will play at the Easter service
Confirmation students are asked to attend all the services of Holy Week
Readers and assistants are needed for the Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. If you would like to assist or read for one or more of these services, let me know
Sign up to give Easter flowers, and for the Easter morning brunch. If you take a moment to sign up it helps me plan, and set up the right number of tables and chairs. If you call me or send or text or email to me, I will put your name on the list
Our friends and neighbors work with us to serve homeless families through Family Promise Metrowest.
Family Promise Metrowest Mission:
to transform the lives of families with children who are homeless by mobilizing a diverse community to provide shelter, education, and comprehensive support. http://www.familypromisemetrowest.org/index.html
The Family Promise model was founded in New Jersey in 1988 by Karen Olson. We use a simple approach of mobilizing existing community resources to serve families who are without a home. Host congregations furnish safe, overnight lodging and meals one week at a time, three to four times a year. Families are provided intensive professional support to regain their sustainability at a Day Center. Since its inception, Family Promise has served 850,000 family members across the United States and includes over 6,000 congregations in over 200 affiliates.
Family Promise Metrowest opened our doors to welcome our first guests in October 2008 with 21 member congregations: 13 host and 8 support congregations. Today, our Shelter Program includes 50 congregations from 12 towns; 70 business and community partners; 3,000 volunteers from faith houses, schools, colleges, civic organizations, businesses, and the community at large.
This remarkable support has enabled us to grow our programming to more effectively serve our families. In 2013, Family Promise Metrowest began a Transitional Living Program to address the needs of families after they left shelter. We offer subsidies and case management for an additional 1-2 years to increase their long- term sustainability and success.
In 2015, we launched Steps to Success, a comprehensive employment initiative assisting families to reach their highest earning potential. Intensive case management is provided along with subsidies for education, training, day care, and transportation, often barriers in pursuing career objectives.
Our newest program LIFE (Local Initiative for Family Empowerment) is a homelessness prevention program. LIFE supports families who are at risk of eviction but not yet homeless by supplying subsidies to pay rent in arrears, advocating with the landlord to prevent eviction, and providing intensive case management.
After a thoughtful needs-assessment process and careful search, in 2017 we purchased and renovated a building that addresses our need for additional space, privacy, and room for future expansion. Our new Day Center, located at 6 Mulligan Street in Natick, has enabled us to provide privacy and dignity for our families, comfortable office space for our staff, and most importantly, room to grow our programming. We are proud of our past, excited for the present and enthusiastic about a future where we can continue meeting the needs of local families.
Peace middle school students-Anna Munford, Katie Pralle, Annika O’Steen and Keira Moretz-created a Holy Spirit banner with colorful drawings and texts from many languages.
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3
in the gospel for Sunday, Jesus is in the home of Mary and Martha. Mary does an extravagant thing that shows her generous, loving nature, and helps us understand Jesus’ life and vocation. As you prepare for Sunday worship, think of generous people-even extraordinarily generous people you have known or heard of-who give generously of what they have-their time, their money, their expertise and talent-to make the world around them better. Extravagant spending on yourself might make you happy. Extravagant giving to others makes the our churches, our neighborhoods, our towns better. The Gospel of Jesus is a many-faceted story of the extravagant self-giving love of God.
My whole being clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast. Psalm 63
Sunday we will look at Psalm 63, appointed for the day. You might read it through at home before you come to church. It begins O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirst for you… The author’s mind is focused. The words illustrate what Jesus said was fulfillment of the law: loving God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10). As we continue our week-day Lenten disciplines, we will meditate on this Sunday morning scripture.
Serving Sunday, March 24
Host family Melvin
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
Faith formation at 11 am.
Family Promise host weeks at Peace end Sunday morning. Thank you, members of Peace, for opening your church as as temporary shelter for homeless families.
No afternoon confirmation meeting. Starting next week, March 29, confirmation classes will be held outdoors.
Lenten Bible study Thursday at 12 noon. The study is on Luke 6:12-8:25. ” Jesus begins to Teach”.
“The gospel poses questions to its readers rather than definitive solutions, but it strongly suggests that the answers are to be found
in a prayerful appropriation of the example of Jesus, the one anointed to proclaim the good news of God’s forgiving love.”
Gospel of Luke Study, Introduction
Bring in canned stews and chili for A Place to Turn in Natick.
The organ task force meets Friday, March 29 at 3 pm at St Julia’s in Weston. Organ builder Tim Smith will show us the chapel organ at First Parish.
Milly Engberg’s stained glass pieces hang according to the season, in the window at the front of the church. Those pieces will be given permanent places in the narthex windows. There they will join the metal sculpture, commissioned and given by Loren and Althea in memory of their parents; and the signed Sadao Watanabe print given by Ron and Karen Riggert. If you would like to help with the installation of the windows, speak to Pastor Johnson.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it. Luke 13: 34
In our gospel readings, during these early weeks of Lent, Jesus is oriented to Jerusalem. This Sunday we hear the Pharisees tell Jesus that Herod wants to kill him, but Jesus will not flee for his life. He will stay in Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is the city of God, and Jesus understands his life in service to God, as the prophets before him understood their lives.
Bread/wine/reader Van Alsten
Host family Melvin
Choir practice at 8:45 am. Leah Jonczyk will play her flute to accompany one of our hymns.
The confirmation students will collect quarters for washing Family Promise sheets and blankets at the end of our host weeks. Bring quarters, or bills for the change machine, and place them in the fishbowl.
Faith Formation students will work on a banner for our worship room.
Bring in jelly for A Place to Turn in Natick.
No afternoon confirmation meeting.
The organ committee visited Christ Lutheran in West Boylston last week to determine whether their organ could be moved to Peace. With the help of organ builder, Timothy Smith, it was determined that the Christ Lutheran organ will not fit the worship room at Peace. The next meeting of the committee is March 29 at St. Julia’s in Weston. Tim Smith will meet us there to show us the organ he built there. Members of the committee are Ron Riggert chair, Kathryn Welter, Libby Jonczyk, Jonathan Moretz, Bob Holmgren, Warren Green, Kirsten Johnson.
Thursday morning Bible study on the Gospel of Luke. 12 noon. Bring your Bible and your lunch. A guide to this morning’s study is on the table in the narthex.
Sunday morning we will hold in prayer those who grieve for the people who died in the violence in New Zealand. Throughout our service pray for those who live in fear, and for those whose lives are infected by hatred. Hold our good friends and trusted neighbors at the Islamic Center in prayerful thoughts.
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart” Romans 10:8
Church of St. Brendan, Bantry, Ireland
The first Sunday in Lent we hear the account of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. Luke says that Jesus was tempted by the devil, tempted to make the wrong choices about his life. In Lent we are invited to a forty-day period of reflection on our own lives, and on the choices we make. Lent stands as a season of reflection and redirection. We might realign our lives with God’s word, and thereby make our lives, and the lives of those around us, better.
Remember to set your clocks ahead. Daylight saving time begins this Sunday.
Family Promise Host Weeks begin Sunday. We will bless the volunteers and bless the church building as it turns into a temporary over-night shelter for families.
Bring in jelly for A Place to Turn in Natick. We have almost filled up the basket! I will bring it to A Place to Turn if we collect a few more jars.
Confirmation students: sermon report forms are on the table in the narthex. No confirmation class Sunday afternoon.
March council meeting Monday, March 9, 7:00 pm at the Family Promise Day Center, 6 Mulligan Street, Natick. Before our meeting we will be given a tour of the day center.
Bible study Thursdays in Lent at 12 noon. Bring your Bible and your lunch. The studies, on the Gospel of Luke, were produced by Yale Divinity School, for use in congregations.
The readings for Sunday have few lines of intensity that focus our attention toward the sources of grace and healing power. A tree planted by the water, believers claiming together the gospel of new life in the risen Christ, people gathered around Jesus for the power of his words and the goodness of his spirit. We will look together at these passages and let them order our lives and shape our thoughts.
The choir meets to rehearse at 8:45 am.
Worship Book Dedication
After the sermon we will dedicate new worship books. These books are the treasuries of the Christian faith, and they represent current practice in our Lutheran tradition. They should remain in the worship room. If you would like one for your home–for your private devotion–you may order one yourself, or I will order one for you. We call the books “hymnals”, but they are more than that. They contain the service music and the orders of our liturgies, the prayers, the creeds, the catechism, and more.
Many of our worship books have bookplates with the names of members and friends of Peace. These names help us honor one another, remember those who are away, and remember those who have died.
Worship books were given in memory of Carol Taylor, Sue Ellen Cummings, Ursula Smoot and Fritz Wald. Books have been given in honor of Loren and Althea Korte, Dick and Mazie Stitt, Kathryn Welter and Charlie Conklin.
Family Promise Volunteer Training 11 am
Kim Canning will lead a training session during the Faith Formation hour. Bring neighbors and friends who might be interested in volunteering for Family Promise. Confirmation and high school students will watch the young children so that parents can attend the training. After the training, sign up for a Family Promise volunteer task, and remember to support or join the Peace Walkers.
Presentation on Christians in the Holy Land next Sunday, February 24
Steve and Nancy Meshon will show a video and talk about what they learned on their recent trip to Israel and Palestine.
A Place to Turn in Natick
Bring in jelly for A Place to Turn in Natick. During the season of Lent Stephanie Smoot will help us make a planting plan for our garden. Produce from the garden is brought to A Place to Turn.
Ash Wednesday 10 am and 7:30 pm.
Thursday Bible studies in Lent, 10 am, beginning March 14. Studies of the Gospel of Luke from the video-based Yale Divinity Bible study. This series of studies is designed for use by members of congregations. The video discussions feature Yale Divinity School faculty. If you would like to attend, sign up in the narthex.
Interfaith Hymn Festival March 2, 5 pm at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Newton Lower Falls
Members and friends of Peace, Temple Shir Tikva and the Islamic Center will join readers and singers from St. Mary’s for the event. A reception and book sale, sponsored by Wellesley Books, will follow the program.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory. Isaiah 6:3
The first reading for Sunday is from Isaiah. Before the prayer of institution, which draws our thoughts to the bread and wine of blessing on the altar, we sing with the attendants of the Lord: Holy, Holy, Holy. Christ our Lord is present for us. We are have come to a holy place, and to a life-giving, sacred moment.
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
Faith formation at 11 am.
The forum during our faith formation time is a discussion of another hymn-#834 Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise. Leah Jonczyk will read the text for us. The essay from Stars Shall Bend Their Voices is by Jamaican poet, Lorna Goodison, professor at the University of Michigan. Bob Holmgren will help us explore the music.
Bring in jelly for A Place to Turn in Natick.
Sign up for flowers. When you give flowers for the altar you may bring them home after the service. If you leave them at church they will be delivered to members and friends of Peace who cannot attend Sunday morning worship. In recent weeks flowers have been brought to Joanne Davis, Loren and Althea Korte, Eleanor Peterson and Charlotte Walek.
Confirmation Sunday afternoon at 4 pm.
The council meets Monday, February 11 at 7:30 pm.
Organ task force visit to the Allen Organ showroom in Worcester, Tuesday February 12. Time tbd.
Heather Moretz becomes an American citizen Wednesday, February 13. Congratulations, Heather!
Next Sunday, February 17, Family Promise volunteer training during the faith formation hour. Kim Canning will lead the training. Invite your friends and neighbors to the training.
Dedication of worship books, Sunday, February 17. Hymnals for our worship will be blessed the holy guidance they give as we sing and pray every week. Hymnals have been given in memory of Carol Taylor, Sue Ellen Cummings, Ursula Smoot and Fritz Wald, and in honor of Charlie Conklin, Loren and Althea Korte and Kathryn Welter.
Support the Peace Walkers at the Family Promise walkathon, or join the walk. Sign up to serve as a volunteer during our host weeks in March.
Saturday, March 2, 5 pm interfaith hymn festival at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Newton Lower Falls. Peace members, Kirsten Johnson, Kathryn Welter, Jonathan, Heather and Keira Moretz, and friends of Peace, Susie Kuzma and Bruce Goody, will among those taking part in the program.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. No I know only part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth offers a new teaching about the gifts of God. Sunday we will think about the spiritual gifts each of us has received, and how, when we share them, Christian community takes shape.
The choir meets at 8:45 am.
Faith formation at 11 am.
Adult forum during the faith formation hour will be a discussion of the hymn, Precious Lord, Take My Hand. We had scheduled a study of this hymn for two weeks ago; that day turned out to be a snow day for some of you. Last Sunday was our annual meeting, so Sunday we will take up this hymn again. Leah Joncyzk will read the hymn text. We will hear an essay on it by Vermont poet Sidney Lea, then Bob Holmgren will explore the music with us.
Confirmation at 4 pm Sunday.
Saturday, March 2 at 5 pm, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Newton Lower Falls there will be a program of readings and music based on the anthology, Star’s Shall Bend Their Voices: Poets’ Favorite Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Margaret Gibson, one of the poets who wrote an essay for the anthology, will be there. Kirsten Johnson, Keira Moretz, Jonathan and Heather Moretz, and Kathryn Welter will take part. A flyer is attached.
Last week I brought our collection of coffee and tea to A Place to Turn in Natick. Thank you to everyone who added to the collection basket. Directors of a Place to Turn send thanks to you. They told me that they look forward to another season of vegetables and herbs from our gardens. When I asked what we should collect next, one of directors said, “You know, we always run out of jelly. People don’t like to bring it in, because it’s not healthy. But the children like it.” So, that’s what we’ll collect-jelly-until the basket is full.
Family Promise volunteer training Sunday, February 17 during the faith formation hour. Sign up for our next Family Promise host months follows the training.
Sign up to give flowers. Bring any kind of cut flowers. If you bring in a simple bunch of flowers, that’s fine. Flowers make the chancel look special. You can take them home. If you leave them, I will bring them to one of our shut-ins. (My definition of a shut-in is a member of the church who would be at Sunday morning worship if they could get here. A shut-in is not a member of the church who has chosen to do something else on Sunday morning.)
An organ task force-Ron Riggert, chair, Kathryn Welter, Libby Jonczyk, Warren Green, Kirsten Johnson, Bob Holmgren, Jonathan Moretz and Pastor Johnson-met with a representative of Allen Organs last week. The next meeting of the task force is a field trip to GPaul Music in Worcester, on Tuesday, February 12, to see and hear some Allen organs. Anyone interested in the music program at Peace, is welcome to come along.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read. Luke 4:16
He stood up to read in front of the assembly, just like many of you do on Sunday morning. Reading the scripture is a holy task. On the Sunday morning of your assignment, you speak ancient words of wisdom and life to the assembled congregation. The word of God is channeled through your voice. The holy spirit moves out to us in the breath of your lungs. In Epiphany we hear you Jesus is. He is the savior of the nations, he is the beloved Son of God, he is the sponsor of celebration and praise. Sunday we hear that he is the fulfillment of scripture. The Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in Jesus. He is the living, breathing (reading) word of God.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. John 2:1
Wedding at Cana, German 1450 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The readings through the season of Epiphany reveal Jesus’ identity. Sunday we read about a wedding at Cana. Jesus is the life of the party. We’ll walk through the story and think about Jesus’ interaction with Mary, and what John calls the “sign” of Jesus turning water into wine, and more. What does this event “signal” to us about our lives as Christians?
We will mark Martin Luther King day by singing hymns that remind us of King’s life’s work and legacy: “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “Precious Lord Take My Hand”. During the forum hour we will listen to and think about “Precious Lord Take My Hand”. It was Martin Luther King’s favorite hymn.
Bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end
of the earth–
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory
whom I formed and made. Isaiah 43:6-7
Epiphany is the season of recognition and revelation, of identity and vocation. Who are you? What do you tell about yourself by your words and actions? What is your role in life? Whom do you serve? To whom are you related? These are some of the questions of Epiphany. This Sunday we mark the baptism of Jesus. He was claimed, called in the waters of the Jordan, and sent from there for work in the world. We are claimed, called and given a Christian vocation in the waters of baptism.
Sunday we will all renew our baptismal vows. As we do this we will be reminded that the Christian faith is to be lived and acted on. We do not live out our Christian life by passive, casual, observation of Christian ceremonies. As we renew our baptismal vows on Sunday we will review the terms of our vocations as Christians, and ponder the Epiphany questions of identity.