“Rain, rain, go away!” Is it just me, or has it been an inordinately long gray winter? And last Friday, Punxsutawney Phil told us there will be six more weeks of it! I know, today the sun is shining (thank God), but I wrote this yesterday—and look at the forecast for the rest of the week…
If this resonates, please join me Sunday for an intergenerational service of Light and Love. Yes, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, but the LOVE we’re going to celebrate is much bigger than chocolate and flowers. Because we’ll be celebrating the Love of GOD! So, if you need a little light amidst the darkness (seasonal, political…), this service will let it shine right in.
Puerto Rico Hurricane Update: As you know, our fellow citizens continue to suffer the effects of Hurricane Maria (and others) in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Power has been restored to much of the area, but buildings are still flattened, roads washed out and people without homes. Fortunately, FEMA relief was not ended (as feared), but it doesn’t begin to meet the need. Congregation member, Noemi Correa, and her friend, Hector Rodriguez, have strong connections with the island and recommend the following if you wish to make a donation: Puerto Rico/US Virgin Islands Hurricane Relief Fund. Fill out the online form, check “agree” at the bottom, and submit.
Spiritual Retreats: We’re offering two retreats this winter/spring. On Saturday, 2/24, I’ll host an afternoon Lenten Retreat in the church parlor from 1:30 to 5 pm. Together, we’ll create a space in which to relax, reflect and reconnect with God, self and neighbor. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org. April 6-7, Kris Davis, Rosemary Peters and I invite you to the Many Ways to Pray Retreat at Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriottsville, MD for a weekend of Opening. Using prayer, meditation, art and nature, we’ll explore many ways to open our hearts and minds in this season of rebirth. Cost: $175 single (overnight/3 meals) or $110 double. To register, complete the registration form and email it to email@example.com.
As I said to the Confirmation youth and their mentors on Sunday, life is messy. Too often, we look at other people’s lives, and, on the surface, they seem so “put together.” It’s easy to imagine they must know something we don’t, that somehow they’ve cracked the code to perfection. But it’s not true. No one lives a perfect life. No one escapes suffering and pain. And we only add to our discomfort by comparing ourselves and our homes and our children (or lack thereof) to shiny magazines or the appearance of others. What is true is that each of us experiences both joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, hope and despair. This is what makes us human, it’s what connects us to other humans, and, I hope, opens our heart to these connections.
Please know that you are imperfect, precious, broken, beautiful AND LOVED. The cracks are where the light gets in.
Peace and Blessings,
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Coffee Hour Conversation: Bible Study, 2/11—For years, our congregation hosted a vibrant Sunday morning (pre-worship) bible study. There is interest in restarting such a group, so we’ll gather this Sunday to talk about the possibilities for hosting a bible study that meets once/month (after worship). Please come and share your preferences and ideas.
Ash Wednesday Service, 2/14—This year the first day of Lent coincides with the day we celebrate Love. When we gather at 6:30 pm for this short and meaningful service honoring our life and mortality, we will also give thanks for the Love that embraces us all. Everyone is welcome.
Poetry Hour, 2/18—Join us from 4-5 pm in the church parlor and bring one or two poems on a Winter theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lenten Retreat, 2/24—We’ll gather from 1:30 to 5:00 pm for a restful retreat in this season of introspection and intention. Please join Pastor Ellen for an afternoon of meditation, contemplation and spiritual connection. RSVP: email@example.com.
FaithLife Group, 2/25—This group meets one Sunday a month from 5:30-7:00 pm to discuss how faith impacts our lives (and vice versa). This winter we’ll explore our deeply held beliefs via “This I Believe” resources found at www.thisibelieve.org. Please join us! Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org