Dear friends in Christ,
I hope you’re all doing well this rainy day. As we approach Holy Week, there are a number of things going on in the life of the church:
Palm Sunday: 4/10 @10am
This Sunday is Palm Sunday! We will sing the church favorite song “The Palms,” and children (and any adults who would like to!) are going to distribute palms during the service.
Additionally, we do need some youth/helpers to assemble Easter eggs for the egg hunt on Easter. (This Sunday before church, during church, or after church) Please let Valerie know if you or your teens are available to help.
Also, one of my friends sent me this short silly video about Palm Sunday that somehow captures the essence of my childhood experience with church and Palm Sunday, so I wanted to share it with you: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CYEjAS3qIqc/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
Holy Week Schedule and Resource
Holy Wednesday/Spy Wednesday 4/13: 7pm Scripture discussion in the conference room/Zoom. We’re going to be talking about one of the traditional lessons for Holy Week, the anointing at Bethany (John 12), which was also the gospel lesson for this past Sunday.
Maundy Thursday 4/14: 7pm service in the sanctuary with communion and the office of tenebrae. We have childcare for small children available during the service.
Easter Sunday 4/17: 10am service in the sanctuary featuring music from our adult and cherub choirs. There will be an Easter Egg hunt on the Green following worship.
I’ve also attached a simple order of evening prayer with scripture readings for each day of Holy Week if you would like some direction in observing Holy Week at home.
Easter Baskets for Middlebury Families
Thank you to everyone who has signed up for donations for our Easter baskets. All slots are filled! As a reminder, all donations need to be into the office by this Monday, 4/11 @10am
Lent Scripture Discussion: Women of Wisdom, Wednesdays 7pm in Conference Room and on Zoom
This evening we’re looking at the story of Mary in Luke 1. Mary is one of the most famous women in the Bible, and she worth talking about even when it’s not Christmas.
Ion Bank Community Awards Update
The results of the Ion Bank Community Awards program are in, and thanks to your votes, we’re receiving $450 from the program! Thank you to everyone who voted for us!
4/2 Memorial Service
I want to say thank you again to everyone who volunteered their time for the service for Julie Keggi this past Saturday (ushers, greeters, gardeners, tech help, cleaners, etc.). The church looked lovely, and we were able to accommodate everyone who wanted to join us in person or online.
The video of the service can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM1q2KbXyVo&t=3623s
Ukraine Aid Updates
The First Church of Marlborough, MA has been collecting money from churches throughout the conference to wire to the Polish Lutheran/Reformed church relief agency. Our Mission Board has made a donation. The Marlborough church’s pastor has written an update on their fundraising so far, and he’s included some stories about families churches in Poland are helping with the money sent in. You can read that article here: https://www.sneucc.org/blogdetail/ucc-churches-rally-around-ukranian-refugees-in-poland-16416086
The National Office of the United Church of Christ is also continuing to collect money for aid. The page to donate also includes some updates about what organizations the UCC is partnered with and about the situation: https://www.ucc.org/global-h-o-p-e/ukraine-emergency-appeal/?fbclid=IwAR3-crEGQ9X9UTl4Ir-now3Ik8z4KFVWWEZczcHiFYcNZYGEMZe2XkRuKrQ
Praying for Peace in Ukraine
On Sundays at noon, we’ll ring the church bell as a prayer for peace. Everyone is welcome to take a moment then, wherever they are, to join together in praying for peace in Ukraine and throughout the world.
This past week, I stumbled across this poem, which is a sweet tribute to the women of churches who do the important work of funeral receptions:
For the funeral lunch ladies
by Maryann Corbett
“Already they have begun to fade away,
having resigned themselves to the nearness of death
and its bad habit of haunting parish halls.
Praise their unshakable faith in the coffee line,
the laden buffet, the table of baked desserts,
the power of food to gentle back into living
all those who mourn, and all their awkward neighbors.
Some bit of the universe is made less wobbly
by these, and by this school-lunchroom agape—
these, with their thinning, over-permed white hair.
May they go to eternal rest in flowered aprons.”
There’s a theological term called anamnesis. It’s a Greek word that essentially means reminiscence. Theologically, anamnesis is term the church uses to describe the remembering aspect of worship. We see it most clearly in communion, which is in part us remembering the Last Supper and Christ’s death and resurrection. In addition to remembering though, with anamnesis there’s a sense that through remembering and reenacting we are taken up into the holy mystery of Christ; through our remembering we participate in Christ’s story and join with Christians in every time and place who have done the same remembering as us. Holy Week, in many ways, is the idea of anamnesis expanded out throughout the entire week. We walk through Jesus’ story and remember, and through our remembering, we’re connected to Christ and to all those who have remembered before us.
That brings me back to the poem. This anamnesis aspect of Holy Week for me brings to mind memories of dear saints of the church who were part of rememberings past but have since died. And then of course Easter, like any holiday, often reminds us of loved ones who have died. But, through our work and worship and remembering as the church, we are united with all those saints (some wearing flowered aprons)) who have gone before us through participating in the great story of God’s salvation of the world.