Game Night and Parents’ Night Out 5/18/19

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Season of Easter

The Lord loves those who hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful; he rescues them from the hand of the wicked. Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! Psalm 97: 10-12

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The season of Easter ends Sunday. We will extinguish the paschal candle, and light it again throughout the year, at funerals and memorial services, baptisms and affirmations of baptisms. The paschal candle is lit when we are focusing our attention on the sacramental presence of Christ, the promises made and the promises returned when Christ’s people accept him as Lord of their lives.

Next we move to the season of the Holy Spirit breathing through creation and, in a special way, through people of faith. On Pentecost Sunday (a week from Sunday), we will lay our hands on the heads of some of our young people, and pray that they will among those who will live as disciples of Jesus Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit.

No choir. Kathryn is away. Ron and Bob will lead the music of our liturgy and accompany our hymns.

Faith formation at 11 am.

Confirmation and high school students meet with Pastor Johnson during the faith formation hour.

Florence House Open House Wednesday, June 5. Sign up to bring a dessert to church on that day. If you would like to attend the house blessing and open house, and you would like a ride, be at church at 2:30 pm.

Bring in jelly and chili for A Place to Turn in Natick. If we fill up the basket, the food will be delivered to A Place to Turn on Monday.

Sunday we will take time to mark a half-century of service from our Austin organ. Pentecost will be the last day we will hear the Austin, but that day will be filled up with special words and rituals for confirmation. During the summer months, as our new organ is assembled in New York, and installed here, our liturgy and hymns will be accompanied by the piano and other instruments.

Praise the Lord, sun and moon;
sing praise, all you shining stars. -Psalm 148:3

Psalm 148, the Psalm for Sunday, lets us imagine all people, joining all of creation, singing praise to God. In the Gospel for Sunday, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another. The disciples praise God in their love for one another.

Flowers Kim Canning, in celebration of her children’s’ baptisms

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.

Faith formation at 11 am. Confirmation students will meet with Pastor Johnson. This will be the confirmation meeting for the day. June 9 is Pentecost and Confirmation Sunday.

The nominating committee has been asking members of the church to serve on the council. I believe that all who have been asked have said yes. That’s terrific.

Parents’ Night Out and Game Night tomorrow! Saturday, May 18, 6-9 pm.

Our new organ is being constructed at Tim Smith’s shop in Portageville, NY. Sunday, June 9 will be the last day for our present organ. We will say a prayer of thanks for its half-century of service to our worshiping community.

Race Amity Day film and discussion at Peace, Sunday June 9. Time tba.

Memorial Day Camping at Calumet. Speak to Deb Vogt or one of our other Peace campers for more information.

If you know someone who would like to rent a small office in our community arts wing, invite them to contact Pastor Johnson.

Bring in chili, stew and jelly for A Place to Turn in Natick.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23: 6


Thank you to Carol for bringing Mother’s Day flowers!

The fourth Sunday of Easter has for centuries been kept as the Sunday of the Good Shepherd. The people of ancient Israel knew God as their shepherd, ruling over them with a law of righteousness, protecting them from their enemies, and providing for them. John’s Gospel takes up this image and applies it to Jesus. He is the good shepherd, caring for his people.

The image of the good shepherd has quieted troubled hearts and calmed jangled nerves throughout history. As you worship tomorrow, quietly ponder a few of the words of Psalm 23 (in your Celebrate).

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.

Bruce Goody and Jonathan Moretz will be with us Sunday. They bring their flute and guitar music, free of charge, to audiences all over the Boston area: churches, homeless shelters, hospice houses, nursing homes, and other places. Their generosity is inspiring.

Faith formation at 11 am.

Florence House Open House Wednesday, June 5. We have been asked to bring desserts. Sign up on the table in the narthex.

No confirmation class Sunday. Spend time with your mother, or your grandmother!

The council meets Monday, May 13 at 7:30 pm.

Organ builder Tim Smith will be here Tuesday, May 14. Our organ is being constructed at Tim’s workshop in New York.

Bring in jelly and chili for A Place to Turn in Natick.

Conversion of St. Paul, Laurent de Le Hyre, 1637

Now as Saul was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Acts 9:3-4

Is there a moment in your life that you think of as your conversion experience? I hope that at least some of you can point to a moment in time when your outlook on life changed, and you became a Christian. As Lutherans we speak of the steady presence of Christ to the baptized children of God, but there are moments when the church language becomes a warm, living, personal, faith in your heart. We’ll think about conversion experiences on Sunday. This is not our strong suit, but we’ll give it a try. 🙂

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.

During the service, Deb Vogt will make a short report about the nominating committee’s work. On Sunday, or in the next few weeks, if you are asked to serve on the council, I hope you will say yes. The present council and the nominating committee have given careful thought to their work.

Joanne, director of A Place to Turn in Natick, has told me several times that jelly, stew and chili and other similar soups are always in low supply. Others who give to the food pantry don’t like to buy these things because they believe they are not healthy. I told Joanne that we will continue to collect jelly and chili.

When our garden produce appears, we will bring herbs and fresh vegetables to A Place to Turn.

Confirmation students and parents (one last time) meet at 4 pm Sunday to finish the arbor for the vegetable garden.

Next Sunday, May 12, A Mother’s Day treat: Jonathan and Bruce will be at our service with their elegant and inspiring guitar and flute music. Invite a friend to church!

Parents’ Night Out and Game Night: Sunday, May 18. Sign up in the narthex.

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, 1603 by Caravaggio

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe. John 20:27

The Doubting of Thomas, Michelangelo Carravagio, 1603

The story of the resurrection is just getting started as we move into the second week of Easter. Christ is present to his disciples in ordinary ways, especially in John’s Gospel, that blow their minds.

In John, Jesus speaks a blessing of Peace to them, and sends them out with a special vocation in the world.

Easter is the season of Baptism. We will think about the gifts of Baptism that are the same as the gifts Jesus gives to his disciples when he appears to them on the day of the resurrection: a blessing, a vocation, and support to carry out the vocation.

The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.

Faith formation at 11 am.

Nominating committee meets at 11 am.

Confirmation at 4 pm. Wear gardening clothes. Parents, your help will be appreciated. 🙂 Stephanie will continue her supervision of the arbor and the planting of the garden.

Yesterday I brought food we collected to A Place to Turn in Natick. Joanne, executive director, thanked me for the food and said that she is looking forward to vegetables and herbs from the Peace gardens. This month bring in jelly (I know we collected jelly two months ago, but Joanne said that they often run out.)

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Palm Sunday and Easter 2019

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Holy Week 2019

Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!        Luke 19:38

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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.

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Holy Week 2019

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

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Friends from the Islamic Center and Congregation Or Atid

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.

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.

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Pentecost Banner

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.

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