St. Matthew’s United Church eBulletin Mar. 1, 2020
First Sunday of Lent: Resistance
What's coming up at St. Matthew's (* see below for more information)
Tue. Mar. 3 Potluck Church, 5:30 pm *
Thu. Mar. 5 Bible study, 1 pm, come to sanctuary doors
Sun. Mar. 8 Second Sunday of Lent, worship service 10:30 am
Sat. Mar. 14 Official Board meeting, 10:30 am
Tue. Mar. 17 Book Club *
Potluck Church March 3
Potluck Church, back by popular demand. Please join us in a relaxing evening of good fellowship, food, and a bit of church on Tue. Mar. 3 in the sanctuary at 5:30 pm. Bring something to share and a good appetite. Our thoughts will be on food, of course, but on Spring too
Thinking about …
Official Board meeting March 14
The Official Board is tentatively scheduled to meet on Sat. Mar. 14 at 10:30 am to have a fulsome discussion of the recommendations of the Property Assessment Report. Background material has been sent by email to all members.
St. Matthew’s Book Club March 17
The St. Matthew's Book Club will meet Tue. Mar. 17 at 2 pm at 1470 Summer Street. We will be discussing The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. It is “...a mesmerizing story of family turmoil, young love, and coming-of-age set against an upending of life as we know it.” For more information, contact Elaine Murray at email@example.com
Two small ways to make a difference for others
March 1 was the first Sunday in the 6-week season of Lent, leading up to Easter Sunday. Lent is often considered the season of “working on ourselves” – practising changing things about ourselves that separate us from God and others, practising prayer or meditation to connect more deeply with the Holy, taking something on, or giving something up, whether as an act of service or learning or outreach.
There are a number of initiatives for you to consider during this Season:
1. Give up your “dead” pens for Lent!
Do you blithely toss your used pens, markers, etc. into the garbage without a second thought? From there that plastic ends up in landfills and who knows where else. Staples accepts discardable pens, and sends them to a special recycling centre in Ontario. And we are collecting them for you. There is a box decorated by the children at the back of the church awaiting your contribution.
Any writing instruments encased in plastic are eligible for recycling: pens, propelling pencils, markers of all kinds. The EarthSpiritAction Team will count them up at the end of Lent and maybe continue the collection in the future. Keeping plastic out of landfills is a Lenten gift to conserve our environment and sustain Earth for human habitation
2. A guide for walking prayer, as well as one example of a Lenten Prayer Practice that you may wish to try. Thanks to Rev. Gordon Murray of our choir for the gift of adapting this work from his time in active ministry for our use.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference.
The ‘Serenity Prayer’ is part of a longer prayer written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1940s. It is often used by those recovering from addictions. Its length and clarity also makes it good verse for rhythmic repetition while walking or exercising, for those who find it difficult to chase "thinking" away.
Repetitive prayer and meditation are an ancient Christian tradition, as is walking meditation. But even just awareness of the rhythm of our breathing, in and out, can help to centre us in an awareness of God’s presence around us as Spirit and Breath and Sustainer
1) Begin the Lenten Watch by taking off your shoes, lighting a candle, observing silence for at least one minute, and opening with a prayer for grace.
2) Then pray with Scripture (one per week).
Luke 4:1-13 The Road to the Wilderness where the Holy Spirit leads us into emptiness
Acts 9:1-19 The Road to Damascus, where life is given a new direction
Luke 15:11-32 The Road Home, where the prodigal son discovers wisdom
Luke 10:25-37 The Road to Jericho, where the Good Samaritan cares for one in need
Luke 10:38-42 The Road to Bethany that leads to the home of Martha and Mary
Luke 9:51-62; 19:28-40 The Road to Jerusalem and following Jesus
3) Close each session with the extinguishing of the candle.
STEP 1: Reading
Read through the passage carefully until you light on a word, phrase, image, or sentence that appeals to you, attracts/captures you. When such a word, sentence, etc. has "found you", stop reading. The first step in completed. If in the first reading, nothing emerges, slowly reread until something comes forward to you from the passage.
The intent of this step "is not to stimulate the mind to curiosity. but to awaken the heart." (Anthony deMello) or "nor to get to the end of the passage but to the bottom of it In God, to the word through which God touches you ... " (Tilden Edwards)
STEP 2: Reflection
Focus your attention on the "gift" from the scripture. Turn it over and over and over until you are very familiar with it. What is the meaning of this for you in your life? in the life of the larger community? Let it teach you!
There may be a word/phrase/image within the first that emerges. Follow. Continue to turn it over and over until you are "saturated" with it. (deMello)
STEP 3: Prayer
In some traditions, this is normally done aloud. Pray out whatever is given from your reflection. Talk to God's Presence as though a friend sitting opposite you.
If you notice that you are finding It hard to pray without distraction, return to your word, phrase, etc.
STEP 4: Still Presence
At some point, the vocal prayer often tapers to an end and one is left is an empty silence before God. Simply rest in the spacious presence of God.
(Recommended: 10-20 minutes)
Concluding: You may discover that there is some intention that comes out of your reflection/prayer that you want to take forward into your next period of prayer or into your day/week. If so, you might want to write that down somewhere. You may want to formally end the time of prayer with the Lord's Prayer or "Amen" or "Thank you" or some symbolic act.
A rural southern minister., not knowing this tradition technically but knowing it in his heart, summed it up succinctly when he was asked how he prayed: "I read myself full; I think myself clear; I pray myself hot; and I let myself cool." gsm/2010.01.20
Do you typically fast, pray, or perform special acts of compassion during Lent? In the 21st century's climate crisis, perhaps you would like to consider how your Lenten practice can be beneficial to the environment while being spiritually meaningful to you.
Here is one resource you might want to use while observing Lent this year. It is a calendar that provides ideas for reducing our carbon footprint and cherishing the earth that God made. If some suggestions are not applicable to us, we can substitute our own ideas on those days. https://creationjustice.salsalabs.org/lentcalendar2020/index.html
The Earth Spirit Action Team will be posting other opportunities for observing Lent on our website. https://stmatts.ns.ca/about/earth-spirit-action-eco-team
In the Community
Dixit Dominus by the King's Chorus – Sun. Mar 15 at 7 pm, Cathedral Church of All Saints. King's Chorus 10th anniversary concert, director Nick Halley. Handel's Dixit Dominus plus works by Charpentier and Pärt. Tickets $10-$75 available at tickethalifax.com
Bach Mass in b minor – Sat. Mar. 21 at 7:30 pm and Sun. Mar. 22 at 4 pm, St. Andrew's United Church, Cobourg and Robie. Halifax Camerata Singers and Symphony Nova Scotia, director Jeff Joudrey. Tickets available at Dalhousie Arts Centre Box Office or Symphony Nova Scotia.
Organ Concert (Jazz, Classical and Contemporary Music) – Sat. Mar. 27 at 7 pm at First Baptist Church, Halifax. This RCCO concert is in memory of the late Allen Wayte, who was director of music at First Baptist until his untimely death in 2008 at the age of 56. Featured performers are Alcée Chriss, organ, and Thomas Leslie, tenor.
Church office: (902) 423-9209, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastoral care: Rev. Betsy Hogan, (902) 423-9209, email@example.com
Sunday Worship: 10:30 am
Minister of Music: Wayne Rogers, (902) 429-1680, firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Organist: Matthew Fraser
On the web: www.stmatts.ns.ca
Ushering – Click this link to open the sign-up page
EarthSpiritAction Resources for Thinking About God's Green Earth: www.stmatts.ns.ca/about/earth-spirit-action-eco-team
Meeting Schedule 2020
Congregational Meeting May 3, 2020 (budget)
Session, Stewards Apr. 26
Official Board Mar. 14
Worship and Music Apr. 19
Sunday Free Breakfast – Sundays 8:30 am
Thursday Afternoon Bible Study – Thursdays at 1 pm, come to the sanctuary doors
Choir Practices – Thursdays – Handbells 6:15 pm, Sanctuary choir 7:30 pm
Lunch Bunch community choir – Fridays at 12:15 pm
St. Matthew’s Book Club – Third Tuesday
Melville Heights Service – Third Sunday at 2 pm at Melville Heights retirement lodge
Potluck Church -- Tue. Mar. 3 at 5:30 pm, theme "Spring"
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