Midweek Update: 3rd Sunday in Lent

Dear friends in Christ,

I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying this spring weather today. We have a number of things coming up in the life of the church:

COVID Updates: Masks

Church Council met last night and has made the following updates to our COVID precautions in light of the much improved COVID situation in the state and CDC guidance:

  • Starting Sunday, 3/27 masks will be optional for worship, church activities, and for all groups using our facility. We will keep the balcony open for people who prefer to have some more space, and the pews in the center towards the front of the church are also available for more socially distanced seating as well. Individuals and groups are of course welcome to continue masking at their own discretion. As the weather warms, we will be opening the windows to improve ventilation.
  • Also starting Sunday, 3/27, we will add a third hymn back in and resume passing the offering plate. Our music program is also working on scaling up.

Should conditions worsen in our community, we will update our procedures as appropriate. Thank you to all our leaders throughout these past two years who have wrestled with these difficult safety decisions, and thank you to all of our congregation for your patience and consideration.

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Tomorrow, Thursday, is St. Patrick’s Day! We have corned beef sandwiches from 5-6:30 for $7. You’re welcome to take your sandwich to go, or you can eat in the Social Hall. Preorders are encouraged, but we do have some extras! Contact Ellen A or Jeanine in the Church Office to place a preorder. I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow night!

Lent Scripture Discussion: Women of Wisdom, Wednesdays 7pm in Conference Room and on Zoom

Lent is a traditional time to spend a bit more time with scripture, and this evening starts off our Lent scripture discussion series. I’ve attached the schedule. During Lent of 2020, I’d planned our Lent discussion to be about some of the strong women in the Bible, only for the pandemic to hit before we could really get going. Since Lent starts in Women’s history month this year, it seemed a good time to give this series another go. In case any of the men are nervous, don’t worry, there are still plenty of men in these stories too. So, there’s something for everyone. You don’t need to do any homework or have any prior knowledge. Just bring yourself!

This evening we’re looking at the story of Rahab in the book of Joshua and how she helped the Israelites capture the city of Jericho.

Our Easter Egg Hunt is Back!

This fun tradition will be held following the worship service on Easter Sunday, April 17th on The Green. All children are invited to join us! (Bring a basket) We are looking for donations of plastic Easter Eggs and candy (nut-free). Please bring any donations to church by April 10th.  Thank you!

Lent Mission Projects

  • The Ultimate Egg Off
    • In order to raise money for GWIM and add some extra festivity this Easter season, the Mission Board is sponsoring an Easter Egg decorating contact! (We’re talking lawn decoration sized eggs, not egg hunt sized eggs.)  I’ve attached the flyer Katie P. put together explaining the contest. It’s $5 to enter, and the winners in various categories will receive gift cards to Dunkin Donuts and, of course, bragging rights. All eggs must be at the church front lawn by Palm Sunday for voting that day. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone puts together! Contact Katie P to enter the contest!
  • Easter Baskets for Middlebury Families
    • Sign ups will be posted this Sunday on the bulletin board near the kitchen to sign up for donations for Easter baskets to help our three Middlebury families. If you can’t make it to worship in person, you can contact the church office to sign up.

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 to join together in praying for peace in Ukraine and throughout the world.

War in Ukraine: Ways to Donate to Help

The United Church of Christ has partnerships and relationships with many denominations in Europe, and they’ve sent out an appeal for donations to go towards assisting refugees/people who have been displaced from Ukraine due to the war. Information about the campaign and how to donate is here: https://www.ucc.org/global-h-o-p-e/ukraine-emergency-appeal/?fbclid=IwAR1x_2eJOFD2BVwG66YeliBq1K2RSc0cvP44psLweXiJ0EoznAOlcoHIaao

The First Congregational Church in Marlborough, MA has connections with the Lutheran Church in Poland, and they are collecting funds to send directly to the Polish Lutheran mission organization. They’re gathering monetary donations and sending them in batches as the money needs to be wired internationally. Their church’s facebook page has been posting updates from the Polish churches about the people being helped. If you’d like to make a donation through the Marlborough Church, you can follow this link and make sure to put “Ukraine Relief” in the donation memo line: https://www.faithstreet.com/church/first-church-in-marlborough-ucc-marlborough-ma/giving

General Comments

Last week we had some snow, and the way it stuck to all the trees was really beautiful. I’ve attached some pictures before everything melted.

As tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d highlight part of a prayer called “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.” It’s a attributed to St. Patrick. The beginning bit starts out with “I bind myself today.” It’s a quite long prayer, and my favorite part is towards the end:

“Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

The prayer is a good reminder that no matter what situation we find ourselves in or where we might be, Christ is with us.

Peace,

Pastor Katrina

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