Wednesday, February 8, 2017

8 February 2017
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior all the day long.”

Words: Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Frances Crosby was made blind by a medical procedure when she was six weeks old. Her father died a year later, so her mother went to work as a maid and her grandmother, who described things carefully for little Fanny, shared her deep faith in God and had her memorize huge sections of the Bible, became her tutor. When Fanny was fourteen, she attended the New York Institution for the Blind, the first school in the United States dedicated to those who are blind. She eventually taught there herself and married one of her fellow colleagues, the blind musician and composer Alexander Van Alstyne. Fanny did not allow her handicap to interfere with her great gift for poetry and hymn-writing, which she began to write in her forties. She wrote over 8,000 hymns and sacred songs in her lifetime, often using different pen names. She spoke very poignantly about being blind:

"It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."

If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind...for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour."

We are grateful for her many hymns, and most especially for “Blessed Assurance”, a reminder that in the midst of life’s most difficult and challenging moments, Jesus is with us.

We were blessed by the presence of our Boy Scout Troop 4 and their families last Sunday at the 10:15 a.m. Service. The Boy Scouts were founded in the United States on February 8, 1910. Our Scout Troop 4 dates from that time, and met in Saint John’s Getty Square! What a great legacy of helping young boys improve their skills and self-confidence while claiming their relationship with God and country.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Celebration of Blessed Absalom Jones, the first African-American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church, at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (W. 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue) on Saturday, February 11 at 10:30 a.m. This Diocesan Service is a festive way to connect with other churches in the Diocese and to honor the hard-won triumph of a holy man of faith despite the incredible racial prejudice and bigotry of late 18th century-early 19th century America.

For those who wish to find out more about what it means to be a Christian and join the Episcopal Church through confirmation or reception, I will be offering an Adult Inquirer’s Class in April and May in preparation for the Diocesan Confirmation Service to be held at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on Saturday, June 3rd at 10:30 a.m. We will also be offering a Youth Confirmation Class. Please let me know if you are interested.

Don’t forget to put our Annual Meeting on your calendar (Sunday, February 26th at 11:30 a.m.) as well as make suggestions for nominating people for Junior Warden and for a three-year term on the Vestry (the Class of 2020). Please think prayerfully and lovingly about this wonderful Congregation and who you would entrust to help guide and lead us in the next three years. The nomination form has been mailed out to you and is due by this Sunday, February 12.

We continue to pray for our country in this time of transition that justice and peace may prevail. In this season of Epiphany, may the light of Christ continue to break through the darkness. “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!”

Epiphany blessings,

The Rev. Dr. Victoria R. Sirota

Parish Office Hours: The office is open Mon. to Thurs. 9AM -1; 2 – 4 PM.

Note Box for Mother Vicki and the Office in the Narthex Please leave any communications in the box: prayer list additions, volunteering, pastoral concerns, and needs for meetings. Mother Vicki’s email is mothervsirota@gmail.com and her office phone number is (914) 969-2969

Parish Weekly Service Schedule Sundays 8:00 AM: Holy Eucharist Rite I; 10:15 AM: Eucharist Rite II with music
Wednesday Holy Eucharist & Healing Service at 12:05 PM. Light lunch follows. Bible Study at 1:30.

Weekly EventsMondays, Boy Scout Troop 4 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Wednesdays, Holy Eucharist & Healing Service at 12:05 PM. Light lunch follows.
Bible Study at 1:30

Sunday, February 12, Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany 8 AM & 10:15 AM Holy Eucharist
Monday, February 13, Vestry meeting, 6:30 PM
Thursday, February 16, Sharing Community Board of Directors Meeting, 8:30 AM
Saturday, February 18, Order of Urban Ministers, Guild Room, 9:30 AM & Holy Eucharist at 12:30 in the church
Sunday, February 19, Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany 8 AM & 10:15 AM Holy Eucharist
Monday, February 20, Presidents’ Day (church office is closed)

Save the Dates
Annual Meeting, February 26 at 11:30 AM
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Tuesday, February 28, 5:30-7 PM
Ash Wednesday Services, Wednesday March 1, 2017, 12:05 PM and 7:00 PM

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