Lenten Newsletter

Lenten Newsletter

Wednesday March 6 to Sunday April 21 

Lenten reflections from our Pastor and Teacher…

Greetings members and friends of our beloved faith community!  Greetings in the name of the Creator who made you lovingly, the Christ who saves you from your doubts and fears, and the Spirit who comforts and guides you every step of your journey.

The Season of Lent is here: a season that spans 40 days. From Ash Wednesday March 6 until Easter morning April 21, we will take a journey with Jesus to Jerusalem. We will travel with Jesus through miracles and challenges; and we will experience Jesus lift up the poor and downtrodden, the shunned and oppressed, even while being chastised for such loving welcome. We will travel with Jesus as his life of caring and inclusion threatens the powers that be—to the point of death on a cross. And we will awaken Easter morning with the blessed assurance that life, God’s life, overcomes all pain, suffering, and death.

The Lenten journey is an intentional and contemplative journey, where we consider our life of faith. The theme for this Lent is “Coming closer, seeing clearer.” During Lent, we have a uniquely blessed opportunity to take times of quiet and contemplation to meet God as God meets us.  Lent is a time when we ask ourselves what keeps us from getting closer to God and seeing God more clearly. Lent is a time when we pause just long enough to take in all God has for us.

As we prepare our hearts for this Lenten season, I invite you to ask yourself: “where am I on my faith journey right now? What is my relationship with God? Am I on a mountaintop, rejoicing that Jesus brings life that overcomes death? Am I in a valley of doubts, wondering if God really cares about me? Am I on a plateau, just plodding along, not really giving God much thought?  Am I in a cave of contemplation, wondering what more there is to faith?  Do I yearn for the deep waters so that I can allow God to heal and restore my soul and spirit?”

You hear me say quite often that no matter where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome.  I don’t only mean that you are welcome in our church.  I also mean that you are welcome in the wide arms of grace, where mountain tops are honored, valleys become places of knowing Christ who walks alongside, plateaus are fertilized with hope that sprouts faith, caves are illumined with the everlasting light of wholeness, still water runs deep with the overwhelming love and acceptance of our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter.

Come this Lent to worship.  As you come, dare to open yourself to Jesus who heals and makes all things new.  You will find yourself renewed and refreshed. Come this Lent to fellowship with others on the Lenten journey.  As you join in fellowship, your heart will be full and your spirit will be resilient. 

Above all, come just as you are, wherever you are on life’s journey.  Expect to be a blessing and expect to be blessed.  Prepare to have your spirit renewed as we reflect together the meaning of God’s presence in our lives—every moment of every day.

I am honored to be your servant in Christ, Marisa

 

Lenten Worship 

April 7

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Guest Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Clark Callender

“The Waiting Father”

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32

April 14

Palm Sunday

“Liturgy of the Palms”

Luke 19:28-40 

April 18

Maundy Thursday

7pm

“The Lord’s Supper and Tenebrae Service”

John 13:1-17, 31b-35 

April 19

Good Friday Vespers

7pm

“The Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross”

April 21

Easter Sunday

“Believing is Seeing”

John 20:1-18


A Book Study for Lent

CAN WE TALK?

Announcing a Forum on “How We Know God . . . for wary believers and reluctant skeptics” . . . with special attention to the connections of science and religious faith

Addressing questions like –

·         Can we believe in God in an age of science?

·         Is it wrong to have doubts?

·         How is Jesus both “a mirror of our humanity and a window into God?”

·         How does our belief relate to prayer, worship, and service to others?

·         Where in our society do we find God substitutes?

·         How do people “have faith”? Where and how does it begin?

·         How does contemporary science help us understand and know God?

·         and many others . . . 

Where? United Community Church of Morrisville, Fireplace Room,

When?   Sunday mornings, with coffee, 11:15 a.m. starting March 10, 2019

(Bring a friend. Inquirers who are not church members are cordially

welcome.)  Discussion Leader: Neal F. Fisher

Book resource: Neal’s new book,

Introduction to Christian Faith: A Deeper Way of Seeing

(Book available from Amazon. See attached publisher’s announcement. First ten to register may purchase book at discount [$15.00] from Neal Fisher.)

(For more information speak to Pastor Marisa or to Neal [888.1908]

nealfisher@myfairpoint.net 

NOTE: COPIES OF BOOKS AT AUTHOR’S DISCOUNT PRICE AVAILABLE IN DINING ROOM, SUNDAY, MARCH 3. BOOKS ALSO AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON. DISCUSSION ON MARCH 10 WILL CENTER ON CHAPTERS 1 AND 2.

 

Sunday School News

Sunday School is robust, thanks to our teachers

Carol Olsen, Deidre Tascarella, and Cynthia Yerrick 

If you get a chance, visit the Sunday School Space downstairs.

Some words from Carol Olsen:

Did you know:

·         The children will be hosting the coffee hour on March 17th.

·         An offering is taken every week at Sunday school.  Funds go for a very special project.  Deidre makes sure each of the children has money to put into the offering plate.

·         Two of the children " straighten up" the sanctuary after Church.

·         Each week our lesson is based on the same readings you are hearing in worship.

·         The Children have Sunday school bulletins.

·         The children are sponsoring “Noisy Can Offerings” in March for church utilities, in April for Heifer International, and in May for TBD. The February offering was for heating oil and brought in almost $400!

Thank you for your support with paper towel rolls and jars.  We are overwhelmed with the bounties of your gifts.

 

New Vitality for our new church!

 

On Saturday, February 9th, 5 of us attended the VT Conference UCC in Springfield, VT to brainstorm ways to reach new people.  The conference was so well-attended by VT UCC churches that we needed extra chairs!  We learned how to escape our isolated ways of expecting people to show up, and created a plan to expand our presence in the community by holding meetings in local coffee shops and restaurants.  We were encouraged to take advantage of community events by offering prayer walls and baby changing stations to highlight our mission.  In the coming months, we will be sharing ways our members can build bridges to encourage growth and vitality in our membership.  We look forward to new faces and new possibilities, and a strong community presence in the next year.

Sincerely,

Hope, Judy, David, Suzanne, and Rev. Marisa

 

Missions Committee News

The Mission Committee felt that it would be good to give those who work on and cook up the dishes for the monthly Community Dinner a break.  Briellen Wolchik catered our February dinner, with help from the Mission Committee. We are now entering into the Community Dinner’s 9th anniversary year.  The March Community Dinner, March 29th, will be coordinated by Hope Sturtevant. Sign up sheets for food and for help during the dinner will be in the dining room. Please sign up.

Dot Bliss

News from “Breakfast on us”

We continue to be busy and actually had one Friday with 58 people!  Kudos to our Friday team (Dot, Wally,Wade and anyone else I may have forgotten)  We have new subs:  Louise Chauvin, Pat Cornock,  and Joanne Rauscher.  Nina Church has been a wonderful sub for quite some time now and Paul Noah subs when he can.

We certainly couldn't continue without everyone's help.  Thanks to everyone for their support by volunteering, dropping off food and your financial donations.

 

News from “Open hands, Open hearts” (Benevolence) 

We have helped 27 people since Jan. 1, 2019:  $475.00 in food cards, $550.00 in gas cards and $250.00 for help with electric light bills, rent, phone card,  and water heater.  Cards are $25.00 a piece and $50.00 each

toward bills.  We haven't always been able to help people and turned them away either for lack of funds or that it hasn't been a year since we last helped them. 

Claudia Niles 

News from Lamoille County Youth Center

It's been a cold Winter but it's warm and cozy in the Youth Center. We have been enjoying each other's company and eating well! Here's a reminder that there will be a Cooking Class offered in early March by the

UVM Extension service held in the Church kitchen. If you know of a young person who might be interested, or if you and your child are interested in taking it together, please call Katie Black at 888-4972 ext. 401. Bon Appetite!

Bonnie McDermott

SHOUT OUTS!!! 

These are folks who faithfully care for our church behind the scenes,

so we may not see what they do! 

Several of our Trustees, etc., who helped clean up the flooding in our basement: Judy and Dave Bickford, Dot and Wally Reeve, Mary Ann Wilson, Wade Chaffee, Charlie (our sexton), Larry Bliss

Clark Callender who expertly repaired our coffee maker

Doreen Mason and Ida Manning who continue to bring snacks for our fellowship hour

Our Middle School Youth and their leaders Sara Russell and Kristine Hendon for spreading God’s love beyond our church walls

Our Sunday School Children who placed messages of God’s love all around the church—hope you saw them!

Hope Sturtevant and Eleanor Ahlers who decorate our tables and our upstairs bathroom

If there is anyone who you would like to “shout out”, please let Rev. Marisa know right away!

 

Fellowship hour

 

We are a very welcoming church. Folks who come visit us remark how our genuine are welcome is. Did you know that one of the vitals ways a church shows welcome is after worship during fellowship hour? We just shouted out folks who bring in cheese, crackers, and cookies regularly so we have a snack during fellowship hour. 

ALAS, there is no one signed up to put these wonderful snacks out on our table during Fellowship Hour!! 

PLEASE consider looking at the sign up sheet in the dining room and choosing a Sunday that you will put these snacks out. If you don’t know how to make the coffee, ask someone who does, or just put pitchers of water on the table.

 

Church Fundraisers 

We have two fundraisers coming up that we hope will help balance our budget. Please participate and please invite your friends and neighbors! 

Vermont Musicians Concert

Sunday April 7 3pm

 

From Staff/Parish Relations Committee

 

It’s that time of year when we evaluate our Pastor. Annual evaluations of the Pastor are typical for any church, and the participation of the congregation is very important. At the beginning of worship on March 10 and March 17 evaluations will be distributed for folks to complete during announcements.

If you cannot be at either of those worship services, please contact Judy Stancliff, chair of SPRC and she will be sure you receive an evaluation.

 

Pastor’s Time Away

Our Pastor will be away from Thursday March 28 until Thursday April 11. She and Carol and their older daughter Kristyn will be visiting their younger daughter Kathryn in China, where Kathryn is studying for the semester. Please pray for traveling mercies. Please pray for Kristyn, as this will be the first time she has returned to her birth country. Kristyn was adopted when she was 5 ½ months old.