Peace choir!

Yesterday was the last day of choir rehearsal, and the last choir anthem before summer. Members of the choir come early every Sunday morning to work on music for the weeks ahead. Thank you to Kathryn and to all the members of the choir.

Summer soloists–instrumentalists and vocalists–will bring their musical offerings to our worship in the coming weeks.

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Sundays after Pentecost 2018

Bread of Life.

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Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6: 35

In our Sunday morning readings from John’s Gospel, Jesus feeds five thousand and is followed by the crowd. Jesus has a spiritual teaching for them, and for us. Just as our bodies need food and water, our spirits need food and water. Christians are fed through the word of God. The written word in the scripture, the living word in Jesus Christ, who is with us through the assembly of the church and in the sacraments.

Spiritual malnourishment leads to spiritual suffering and to disorder in families and in society. When we are not fed with the bread of life, we fill our lives with junk food of pop culture, with material things, with strange and socially destructive political ideas. We chew on grudges, complain about the weather, etc.

Sunday we will talk about our spiritual diets. What is your normal spiritual diet? Who feeds you? Are there authors, musicians, poets, artists who feed your spirit? Are you disciplined about our spiritual diets (as a disciple) or do you scrounge around to fill your life with activities and addictions to try to satisfy your hunger for God?

Sometimes human spirits are so undernourished and shriveled that they do not feel their need for spiritual food.

Come on Sunday and be fed with the bread of life.

Kathryn is away. Bob Holmgren will play the liturgy and the hymns.

Summer musicians are Steve and Nancy Meshon.

Bring in an offering of food for our neighbors who come to A Place to Turn, the food pantry in Natick.

In these summer weeks think of a family with children that you would like to invite to faith formation classes in the fall. Invite a friend to come to church with you.

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The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing. Psalm 145: 15

These lines from the Psalm for Sunday are used by some people as a table prayer, a little statement of gratitude before a meal. In the Gospel for Sunday, from John 6, we read that “Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated…” John 6:11.

In the learning season of Pentecost we are talking about spiritual fundamentals within a Christian’s life. Last week we talked about compassion. This week we will think about the Christian fundamental of gratitude. Christians are thankful people. It seems to me that gratitude is even harder for some Christians to muster than compassion. Jesus was consistently thankful. His heart was open to God in gratitude. We’ll talk about gratitude Sunday, and we’ll practice saying, singing and praying thank-you.

The bulletin cover for Sunday was drawn by Maddie Lutz.

In these summer weeks, if you know of someone who might be looking for a church home, invite them to church. If you know parents who are looking for Christian education for the children, invite them to Peace, and have them contact one of our teachers or Kim Canning our coordinator of faith formation.

Sign up to play golf. If the golfers are in church Sunday we will decide together on a date and time to play together.

Summer volunteer opportunities: 1.) install two bulletin boards 2.) install another section of picture frame moulding in the narthex 3.) create chronological albums with newspaper clippings.

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The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Psalm 21:12

Trees that thrive and grow tall and straight in an arid climate are remarkable. They are inspiring and admirable for their resilience and toughness. Sometimes trees that grow strong in severe climates seem like miracle plants.

The psalm for Sunday calls to mind big, healthy trees that last longer than the course of an individual human life and therefore represent continuity, spiritual rootedness, tradition and ancestral relationships. Sunday we will think about trees, and faith that is passed on through generations.

We’ll think of our fathers, honor them and pray for them as we all celebrate father’s day.

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am. This is the last choir rehearsal before the summer recess. Thank you to Kathryn and the choir for their holy discipline of rehearsing and singing a song of faith every week.

Summer soloists: if you are willing to sing or play a musical instrument for a summer service, write back with a date that works for you.

The Sunday school classes meet for the last time this Sunday. Following an abbreviated class time, everyone will go into the church for a closing prayer and blessings.

Bring in cake and pancake mixes for A Place to Turn in Natick.

There is a link on our website to the service schedule for the second half of the year. Go to the second page of the website and look for the link to the schedule.

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I wait for you, O Lord; my soul waits;
in your word is my hope. Psalm 130:5

Sunday morning we will focus our hearts and minds on the Psalm for the day. The psalmist helps us understand waiting as a spiritual fundamental.

“My soul waits.” We’ll think about the impatience that characterizes so much of our lives. We need to hurry, get things done, not waste time. The psalmist’s poem about waiting is related to last Sunday’s reflection about sabbath. Quieting ourselves is the beginning of wisdom. Silence is the ground of faith.

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.

Faith formation at 11 am.

The summer meeting of the congregation is Sunday at 11 am. All adult members of the church (adult means confirmed) are expected to attend. We will hear reports and elect members to the council. Please make an effort to attend. Your presence is supportive.

The council will meet briefly after the meeting.

Bring in non-perishables for A Place to Turn in Natick. Last year a full basket of food was delivered to A Place to Turn, along with a bag of early potatoes from our garden.

Milly Engberg’s knitted caps were brought to the oncology department of Harvard Vanguard, Kenmore, Boston. The patient navigator was very pleased to have them. She will give them away to cancer patients who are receiving treatment there.


The first reading for Sunday is the commandment to the Israelites about sabbath. They are to receive the gift of holiness in time. The commandments remain at the center of our Christian tradition, even if we ignore them in our so-called Protestant freedom.

In the Gospel Jesus shows a new vision of sabbath, not as a restriction but as vessel of God’s word and God’s healing love.

The choir rehearses at 9:30 am.

Faith formation at 11 am.

Adult forum at 11 am will be a discussion of the upcoming New England Synod assembly. Kim Canning and Libby Jonczyk will be voting members from Peace.

Next Sunday is our semiannual meeting at Peace. Area leaders are invited to write brief reports for the historical record. Outgoing council members will be thanked and new members will be elected to the council. Financial reports will be given, including a report on the Peace Forever campaign.

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Memorial Day Camping at Calumet 2018

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Pentecost and Confirmation 2018

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Sundays after Easter 2018

Spiritual health and peace come through the connections faith makes through the word and sacraments, prayer and service in the world. Solidly connected to the parent-vine, branches grow and produce leaves and fruit. Unconnected to the vine, branches whither and die. Jesus teaches his disciples with this simple, organic image. Christians need to hear the words of Jesus, and, through the work of the holy spirit, let the life of the risen Christ into their lives through the means of grace and through faithful living.

Sunday we will hear of connections and consider rededicating ourselves to staying connected to our faith tradition and to other people.

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.

Peace Forever spring campaign for repair and maintenance begins Sunday. Members of the council will present the campaign goal during the morning service.

Faith formation at 11 am. Forum discussion on the ELCA social statement on justice and women. Diane Burke will continue leading us in discussion of the document.

Confirmation meeting at 4 pm. Students who will be confirmed next month should bring the latest revisions of their projects. All students should wear clothes for working in the garden.


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The Fourth Sunday after Easter is the Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel for the day is from John 10 in which we read: Jesus said, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The Psalm is #23. The Lord is my Shepherd.

When we are compromised or weakened, this Psalms sounds good to us. When our strength is gone, we return to the flock of our baptismal birth. But that flock needs healthy, strong members too. The Good Shepherd is present with us in the Word and Sacraments, guiding our lives, strengthening our spiritual hearts, giving us a new way to see the world, and a new way to live: in service to others.

Sunday at 11 am Diane Burke will lead a discussion of the ELCA’s draft social statement on women. Confirmation students are asked to attend the forum discussion. Here is a link to the statement.

http://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Current-Social-Writing-Projects/Women-and-Justice/Draft

Bring in food for A Place to Turn in Natick. Bringing in food for a local distribution should be a regular part of our Sunday morning routine. It would be fine if there was a full basket to be taken to the food pantry every week. So…take a can or a jar of something off your shelf and bring it to church when you come on Sunday morning. Thank you to the one or two of you who contribute regularly to this ministry.

Peace Forever capital campaign begins next Sunday, April 29.

Barbara Stanley is recovering at home. Dick reports that she is getting stronger every day.

If you are interested in serving on a garden committee, speak to Stephanie Smoot or to Pastor Johnson. We will schedule a meeting when we know who would like to help with the gardens this summer. The new rain barrels are already full of water for our gardens.

Spring clean-up tasks remain around the church. If you have time to help tomorrow-Saturday, April 21-let Pastor Johnson know.


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“Peace be with you.” As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…”

According to John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is given to the disciples on the day of the resurrection. In Luke/Acts, the Holy Spirit is poured out on representatives of the nations at Pentecost. Over the centuries the Christian church has gone with Luke/Acts over John, celebrating Pentecost, and the giving of the Holy Spirit, apart from Easter. The importance of the giving of the Holy Spirit, however, is the central gesture of the Christian faith. At baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, all the words and actions point to the giving of the spirit, the breath of God that creates life. If we read on in John 20, the Holy Spirit alive in the disciples, and later in the church, brings forgiveness of sins, the sacramental center of faith.

Sunday the children of our church will sing the Gospel verse they have been practicing. The Gospel verse is the short piece of music we sing before the reading of the Gospel. Kathryn has been working with the children on a verse that is not part of our printed liturgy,

Faith formation and an adult forum following coffee hour.

Bring in canned fruit for A Place to Turn in Natick.

Confirmation class Sunday afternoon at 4 pm.

The council meets Monday at 7:30 pm.


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Peace be with you.

Who brings peace to you? Who says “peace” to you by their presence? Is there someone in your life who assures you that you have a friend, when they are near you? Are there people in your life with whom you feel entirely comfortable?

“Peace be with you, because I am beside you…”

That’s what’s happening in these gospel readings from the Sundays after Easter. Jesus is present with his disciples, then and now.

The New Testament translates the commandments of God, given to a community, into personal relationships of faith. It’s a big change. Communal obedience turns to individual trust.

Memorial service in our memorial garden for Marguerite Brynjolfsson tomorrow, April 14 at 11 am.

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am. Sunday.

Confirmation at 4 pm. Students who will be confirmed in May should bring drafts of their presentations.

Next Sunday, April 22, Diane Burke will lead us in a discussion of the draft social statement from the ELCA on women and justice. We will submit our comments and suggestions to the ELCA after studying the document.

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Easter 2018

Thank you for attending the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services at Peace. I asked you to come, and many of you came! It is important for us to go as deep into the spiritual depths of Holy Week as we can. I was very pleased that so many of you came to church on Thursday and Friday in Holy Week.

Easter thank-you’s to:

Kathryn, our faithful, dedicated and talented music director;

members of the choir who come early every Sunday morning to rehearse an anthem-Ron Riggert, Alan Vogt, Dan Olsen, Larry Gogolin, Frank Maxant, Bob Holmgren, Sharon Jones, Heather Moretz, Libby Jonczyk, Barbara Olsen;

the Peace brass-Ron Riggert, Dan Olsen, Bob Holmgren and John Bestavros;

Libby Jonczyk and all the worship assistants and nursery attendants;

flower ministers-Mazie and Mary Ann-and all who gave flowers;

Kim Canning for her children’s messages;

Holy Week readers-Shirley Koulopoulos, John Van Alsten, Dan Olsen, Kim Canning, Leah Jonczyk;

everyone who joined in the Easter morning brunch and egg hunt;

Sharon Jones and everyone who set out the food and cleaned up after the meal;

the confirmation students-Aidan, Mason, Carly, Lucas, Madeline, Veronica, Maddie, Allison, Abigail-for preparing an egg hunt for the young children;

all who attended the services and activities.

Every single member of Peace is known and important. Your presence is a blessing. Your absence means our community gathering is not complete. Thank you all for keeping the holiest season so well this year.

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End of March Family Promise weeks 2018

Confirmation students had lunch before they washed blankets, quilts, sheets and towels fromĀ  Family Promise host weeks at Peace.

On Palm Sunday, friends from Islamic Center of Boston joined Peace members to turn Family Promise bedrooms back into classrooms.

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