This weekend we are thrilled to have with us a master storyteller whose passion is helping people tell their own stories, especially church people, whether in church or out in the world.
Joanne Epply-Schmidt, an Episcopalian priest and university chaplain in Princeton, NJ, will be giving a public lecture on “The Good That Comes after ‘Once Upon a Time …’” on Friday, March 9, at 7:30. She will share her experience telling stories in parishes, prisons, the public square, and in pastoral care. This is a free lecture with a wine & cheese reception to follow to meet the speaker. All are welcome.
On Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.a. Joanne will be offering a workshop to help people tell their own stories—everything from setting up a story, paying attention to details, the use of drama—to give us confidence when we area called upon to tell our story. Registration is required and the workshop is limited to 20 people. Freewill donations will be gratefully received toward the cost of this day.
Joanne will be our preacher at both services on Sunday, March 11, and then will stay following the 10:30 service to lead a workshop for all our readers. She believes that “reading” the lessons on a Sunday morning is in reality a form of storytelling.
Please participate in any or all of these events as you are able. There is not one of us, after all, who does not have a story to tell!
We are approaching the third month with our newly configured Nursery and Sunday School. By all indications, it is a resounding success: happy kids, happy parents, and happy church! And it was already a pretty happy place before the new program!
Under the leadership of Charmaine Evans, our deacon and program coordinator, the Nursery and Sunday School now share the Creation Space, the multi-purpose room beneath the Canterbury Room. This means the younger children are closer to the older children, making their eventual transition to Sunday School easier.
Using resource materials that relate to the lectionary, Sunday School teacher Maya McKirdy engages the children with age appropriate worksheets that can be taken home and shared with the family. Some of our young adults assist Beverley Senko and Leila Quinones with the Nursery, and with the Sunday School as well, providing a meaningful way for them to contribute to the church when the worship service itself has lost some of its lustre.
Overall, the use of different age groups helps create a truly inclusive sense of community, where our younger church members learn as much from one another as from the formal lessons being taught.
Also, beginning March 18, Charmaine is inviting the young adults of the parish to a monthly meeting to take place during the first part of our Sunday worship service. This will be an opportunity for dialogue and experiential learning about the Christian faith, religions of the world, and issues youth deal with in the modern world.
Every year during the season of Lent we offer programs designed to assist people in their spiritual journey. In the past we have read books, heard speakers, explored different forms of prayer, written creeds … and enriched our Lenten observance with such engaging activities. This year we offer “Three Days in Lent”—three Saturday workshops that will help us explore our faith journey:
NAMING OUR STORY, on February 24, will provide guidance for recognizing the ways God has moved in our lives, asking three key questions: What is our way? What is our work? What is our wound? Led by Brian, Charmaine and Cathy, participants will gain a new appreciation that God has been there all along!
TELLING OUR STORY, on March 10, will engage us in the art of storytelling. Led by master storyteller Joanne Epply-Schmitt, an Episcopalian priest from Boston, and a popular summer presenter at the Sorrento Conference Centre, we will learn how to put our stories into words, and into action, beginning with the biblical stories that move us.
WALKING OUR STORY, on March 24, will give encouragement to us as our journeys continue into a promising, but unknown, future. Led by Brian, Charmaine and Cathy, we will ask how we can remain open to God’s leading and so live the lives we are called to live.
Please consult the bulletin and our social media for details, and sign up early either by phone or in the narthex. Lent—a time to attend to the journey.
Lent. Forty days of prayer, penitence, fasting, and reflection that prepare us for the celebration of Easter . It draws our attention to the frailty of the human condition (“Remember you dust,” the priest says on Ash Wednesday, while imposing ashes in the form of a cross on the penitent’s forehead, “and to dust you shall return”), and invites us to examine our lives for impediments to God’s grace and love. Lent reminds us that, life being short, we need constantly to return to God and remember who-and whose-we are.
Historically, Lent has been a time to feel bad about ourselves-to deflate the ego and mortify the flesh-so that we might rediscover God’s mercy. But in modern times we are more concerned about fulfilling our potential than cutting through our hubris. So we speak of “taking things on” for Lent, not just giving things up. We find worthy causes for the expenditure of our time, talent, and treasure. We read edifying books, or attend study groups. We think about our lives, and where we’re going, and make corrective course changes.
Lent is reflected in our Sunday worship by a solemn tone, the sounding of the prayer bowl, by silence, and by an ancient rite called the Reconciliation of a Penitent, that is, confession and absolution. The scriptural themes revolve around Jesus’ call to a life of humility, discipline, and generosity. It is a reflective time that prepares us to receive God’s love and become who we are.