Collect for Sunday, 12 March 2017
The Second Sunday in Lent
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. What a great blessing it was for us to have The Right Rev. Allen Shin, our Bishop Suffragan, with us at the 12:05 p.m. Service of Holy Eucharist. With the words “You are dust and to dust you shall return,” ashes were placed on our foreheads in the shape of a cross, a stark reminder of our mortality and a vivid beginning to this season of Lent. It is easy to rationalize our sins and shortcomings and to blame others for our flaws. Lent is the time to take honest stock of our lives, and to let go of our defensiveness which is in the way of a deeper and more profound relationship with God. Because if we are sinless, then we have no need of God. We have put ourselves in the place of God. But if we confess our sins, then the absolution, the love that is ours for the asking, is freely given to us. We won’t be able to feel that, know that, understand that until we let go of the little and big lies of our lives that obscure the deeper truths. Our prayer this Sunday for “penitent hearts and steadfast faith” refers to “all who have gone astray.” The prayer goes on to say, “bring them.” Switching that to “bring me again with a penitent heart and steadfast faith” is what Lent is all about.
What a rich time the last two weeks have been in our life together. Thanks to everyone who attended our Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 26th. It was inspiring to be together, to rejoice in three birthdays (Ival DeBride, Carol Shoemaker and Angie Piwinski!), to hear reports from 2016, and to hold an election for a new Junior Warden and a Vestry Class of 2020. Thanks to everyone who offered their names in nomination. What a wonderful pool of excellent candidates we had. Our election on the first ballot resulted in our new Junior Warden, Deborah DeBride, and a Vestry Class of 2020 that includes Linda Brown, Carol Craft, Arlene Tracy and Tara Seeley. Denise Hackl was nominated from the floor. At our first Vestry meeting on March 27th, the Vestry will be deciding on Associate Vestry members, a tradition from Saint John’s past that encourages more participation and communication on the issues that face us. Thanks to Ival DeBride who provided our wonderful lunch and excellent birthday cake, and to Denise Hackl who added a second delicious birthday cake. With Barbara Zeigler’s excellent Treasurer’s Report there was much discussion about and interest in the financial issues that face us and how we will move forward in 2017. With the help of the Holy Spirit and much prayer, we look to the future with hope and enthusiasm. We are also very grateful to those who have served so faithfully. To the Vestry class of 2017 who stepped down after three years of devoted service: Ival DeBride, Helen Hutchinson, and Edith Williams; and especially to Carol Craft, our Senior Warden this past year, who has been exemplary in her faithfulness and dedication. God bless us all as we move ahead! If you missed the Annual Meeting but would still like a copy of our 2016 Annual Report, please contact the Jan Valentine at the Church Office (email@example.com).
|Mardi Gras Fun!|
Please note: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 12 AT 2 A.M. That means our clocks are turned FORWARD one hour. Please put this in your calendars!
Don’t forget our weekly Bible Study on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. in the Library. We pray together and look at the lectionary readings for the next Sunday. Everyone is welcome! Our Lenten Study on four Thursday Evenings using the book by preacher and theologian William H. Willimon, Sinning Like a Christian: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins begins this Thursday, March 6 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Church Office for those who have signed up. Please don’t forget to bring your books!
And please sign up for The Saint John’s Festival Choir which will be processing and singing on Easter Sunday at the 10:15 a.m. Festival Service! Rehearsals begin on Wednesday, March 15 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Rectory, and will continue on Wednesday evenings March 22, 29, April 5 and April 12. Please email Bob Sirota directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested.
For our First Sunday in Lent, we began each service with a procession to The Great Litany, an inclusive prayer that has been updated from its original version in the 1552 Second Book of Common Prayer. For the next four Sundays in Lent, we will begin with the Penitential Order including a reciting of the Decalogue, Confession and Absolution. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Lenten blessings and love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria R. Sirota