Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is now upon us, truly a ‘gift of God for the people of God.’ How will you make use of this ‘gift’ this year? Here are some of the ways available to all of us this year:
First, Our ‘Ash Wednesday Service’ takes place tomorrow, March 1 at 6:00 pm. This service marks the beginning of our Lenten Journey and is one of the highlights of our liturgical year. Plan now on coming to the service with a sense of anticipation and sincerity.
Second, We have produced a number of aids to help you in mapping out your own plan for Lent:
  • Jennifer has several suggestions for parents with small children to celebrate Lent together at home (all of these are found on the resource table in the Fellowship Hall);
  • She has also crafted a way that our ‘Home Groups’ can live out Lent together in an active and reflective way (Small group leaders are requested to pick up the ‘packet’ for your group. also found on the resource table;
  • I have produced a simple form that will guide you in crafting your own Lenten discipline. I will be speaking on this during the Ash Wednesday service.
  • The Daily Office lectionary for Lent has been produced (together with the ‘Forms for Family Prayers’); please make sure you pick up your copy this week.
Third, in response to my ‘Call to Prayer’ this Lent, we will have a weekly ‘Service of Prayer’ on Saturday evenings from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. The first service takes place this Saturday, March 4 in the sanctuary.
This service will have two major components:
  • First, an extended time of personal reflection and meditation about the things of your life- ‘the things you have done which you ought not to have done, and the things you have done which you ought not to have done’–which will lead to ‘true repentance’ and the experience of grace and forgiveness;
  • Second, an extended time of intercession– for yourself and those you love, for others, and especially for our church as we seek to ‘live into the vision’ that God has given us.
I would encourage all of us to commit to coming to at least one of these five services during Lent; not only will you be encouraged in so doing, but will be an encouragement to others.
What a great time of year.
Let us resolve to open our ears and our hearts to God’s gracious invitation to celebrate a ‘Holy Lent’.
Looking forward to worshiping with you tomorrow.

Week of February 26

Dear Friends
This weekend marks the end of our Epiphany Season and orients us towards the Season of Lent. Here are some of the things you need to know this week:
First, Saturday, February 25th promises to be a big (and busy) day!
  • Our Annual ‘Lenten Inter-generational Event’ takes place at the church on Saturday from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. We will gather to have some fun, eat some pancakes, and prepare ourselves and our families for the Lenten journey. To aid in the preparation for the event we are sending out an ‘Evite’ and request your prompt response (by Friday morning, which will allow us to get an accurate head-count for dinner).  Here is the link for that evite: http://evite.me/4cRubSB8sM
  • Brother Tim will be ordained to the priesthood through his order, the Company of Jesus. The Bishop of the Order (former Bishop of the Diocese of the Great Lakes, ACNA) will preside and celebrate the ordination. It begins at 2 pm on Saturday and takes place at Hampton Roads Church, 14425 Old Courthouse Way, Newport News, VA 23608.
  • Park Place School’s ‘Gala Banquet’ takes place on Saturday from 4:00- 6:00 pm at Norfolk’s Waterside Marriott. For more information contact Pete Fraser at pfraser@regent.edu.
Second, Lent begins with our Ash Wednesday Service on March 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm. Mark your calendars now and plan to join with the community on a joyful Lenten journey.
Third, I have issued a “Call to Prayer” for our community during the Season of Lent as we seek to ‘Live into the Vision” that God has given to us. We will be providing resources to aid us in the answering of the call (a weekly Prayer Service, weekly prayer suggestions, etc).. As we commit to seek God’s direction together, I am convinced we will be led by the Spirit into God-directed strategies.
Fourth, the Leadership Council approved a request to purchase a new key board for our worship (one that will have a purer piano sound than our current 12 year old one). Several people have indicated that they would like to contribute towards the cost of the keyboard. If you would like to participate in this venture, please do so by marking the Memo line of your check ‘Keyboard‘.
Fifth, our Men’s Softball Team is now accepting registrations.  If interested in signing up, please email Steven Dickens at stevendickens548@gmail.com.  Here are the details:
  • Registration is 2/27-3/31
  • Season begins April 14th
  • 16 games on Tuesday nights
  • $30 per person for registration—make checks payable to Christ the Redeemer, with “softball” in the Memo line and give to Janie Atwood or place in the offering basket by Sunday, March 26th.
T-shirts are available to order until March 24th at this website link: https://www.customink.com/g/mmw0-00av-y34k
Lastly, we have a new devotional group starting up.  The IHOP Late Morning Devotional Group meets the third Friday of each month at 11:00 am at the International House of Pancakes, 21st Street and Colonial Avenue.  RSVP to Charles Kello at 757-464-5914 or by text 757-536-2805.  Open to anyone interested and available to attend.
Looking forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.

Week of February 19

Dear Friends,
As we approach the Season of Lent, I find myself quietly energized, expectant, and re-focused. ‘Quietly’- because I have found myself called to a season of prayer– and believe that you have as well! Let me explain.
Last week, 14 of us gathered with others in our region in Raleigh, NC for our ‘Annual Regional Retreat’. It was a wonderful time of worship, teaching, and business. The ‘business’ side was centered on how our diocese lives into its call to be a gospel-centered, mission-oriented, kingdom-expanding community of churches. I am as energized by this as I am by the depth of teaching and the beauty of our worship.
Personally, I came away from the gathering with a renewed call to prayer. In 2016 our Leadership Council was guided by the Spirit into a renewing of the vision for Christ the Redeemer. We expressed that vision in these words: “We believe God is calling us to intentionally GROW a DISCIPLESHIP-focused, NORFOLK-centric, consciously ANGLICAN, MOTHER-to-BE Church within Hampton Roads”.
Please note, this is a ‘re-newed’ vision and not a ‘new’ one. Our original purposes and processes hold true today. However, we were led to re-new our commitment in a new way to this vision as a leadership body.
That was 2016.  In 2017 I believe our call is to ‘live into this vision’, and that begins with the call to prayer. I strongly encourage all of us, individually and corporately, to prayerfully ask —“If ‘This’ is our vision, then how am I/we to live into it? How am I to embrace this for myself? How am I to participate in it, to be part of its embodiment- its God-given, Spirit-directed coming-to-be?”
My encouragement is that all of us, individually and within the various groupings to which we belong to, take the Season of Lent to intentionally pray in this way. Then, Lord willing, in Eastertide we can gather and begin to share what we believe God is saying to us–individually and corporately. We are looking for several ways to help with this process; look for more suggestions as Lent approaches.
Speaking of Lent, please remember the following:
  • Remember to bring in your palm crosses from last Holy Week to be burned on February 25 for our Ash Wednesday Service
  • Mark on your calendar Our ‘Lenten Preparation Event’, Saturday, February 25, from 5:00 pm -7:00 pm
  • Be in prayer now seeking God’s direction in framing your Lenten intentions (in prayer, in fasting, in generosity)
  • If you are new to ‘Lent’, purchase Aaron Damiani’s book, The Good of Giving Up (if you purchase it through our web site, https://christtheredeemer.org/resources/bookstore/, the church gets a small portion back!)
Finally, please remember that Saturday, February 25 will be a busy day.  In addition to our Lenten Preparation Event, Brother Tim will be ordained to the priesthood in Newport News (details found in his invitation you received last week), and Park Place School has their banquet that same afternoon (see Pete Fraser for more details).
Looking forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.

Week of February 12

Dear Friends
Here are some of the things you need to know this week.
First, our first Regional Gathering for the Diocese of Christ our Hope takes place this week ini Raleigh NC (Thusday for clergy, Friday for Ministry leaders, Saturday for all interested in the direction of the diocese). We have at least 10 from Christ the Redeemer attending (and perhaps as many as 13). Please pray for God’s favor to be on the gathering and for the strengthening of relationships and ministries.
Second, Charlie Watkins will be preaching on Sunday— ‘Stewards of Living Water’ is the title of his sermon. Pray for Charlie as he prepares to share from the word, and come prepared to grow in your stewardship of God’s living water.
Third, our Lenten preparation kicks up in earnest this month with our ‘Lenten Preparation Event’ on Saturday, February 25 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. We will gather to have some fun (Talent show), share a meal (Pancake Supper–please sign up to bring a side or some drinks), and some instruction on how to use Lent to grow in Christlikeness this year.
Fourth, speaking of Lent. If you are looking at growing in your understanding of the Season of Lent and how to get the most out of if, let me highly recommend two books.
  • The first is by a friend of mine, Aaron Damiani, The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent (Moody, 2017). This is by far the best (and most accessible) introduction to the wonder of Lent that I have ever read. Buy it NOW, and you will be led into your best Lent yet!
  • The second recommendation is Tish Harrison Warren’s book, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life (IVP, 2016). I met Tish at the Anglican Symposium on the Family last fall and am almost through her book as I write. Again, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It will teach you to live intentionally and liturgically through the mundane and the ordinary (where we spend most of our waking hours), in a way that leads us to Christ-likeness.
If you are looking for something more substantial, let me recommend (again) J. A. K. Smith, You Are What You Love. Smith’s book is a more accessible reworking of his Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom (both more academically oriented). Smith’s work continues to be one of those seminal works for a generation. Again, highly recommended.
Looking forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.

Week of February 5th

Dear Friends,
Even as Punxsutawny Phil has seen his shadow and is predicting six more weeks of winter, the season of Lent is nearly upon us!  Here are some things coming up here at Christ the Redeemer:
The Leadership Council has given the green light to a trip to Mbyo this summer. More details to follow. If you might be interested in joining the trip, please see Rob Slaughter or Father Brian. In addition, monies for the Mbyo School Project are now expected to reach their $17,500 goal in pledges, with $13,621 of that collected as of January 29th.  The second phase of the school project, the construction of a second classroom building, can now begin. Praise God for allowing us this opportunity to serve the children of Mbyo parish!
In preparation for Lent, there are a couple of things to make note of in the coming weeks:
  • February 25th at 5:00 PM is our Lenten Intergenerational Night and Talent Show.  We’ll be serving pancakes and we ask that everyone bring a side dish complimentary to pancakes to share.  For more info contact Jennifer Brown at brownie7506@yahoo.com.
  • Ash Wednesday is March 1st.  Please remember to bring in your palm crosses from last year so we can burn them for the ashes.  You can leave them in the basket on the table in the Narthex.
Registration for the Women’s Retreat has begun.  This year, it will again be held at Chanco on the James, a beautiful and peaceful location in Spring Grove, Virginia.  Registration forms are located on the table in the Narthex.  Please fill out your registration form and return it to Janie Atwood with a $60 deposit as soon as possible.  Make checks payable to Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church.
CtR is putting together a men’s softball team to play in the City of Norfolk.  If interested in signing up, please email Steven Dickens at stevendickens548@gmail.com.  Also, if you would like to order a shirt, you can go to this website: https://www.customink.com/g/mmw0-00av-y34k
There is another Home Group starting soon. If you are looking for a group that combines fellowship and study, this may be for you. Please contact Kris Keiser (krissppie@gmail.com) for more information.  (Note: the group plans to meet every other Monday night).
Hospitality Sign-ups: Please sign up on the dry erase board in the back room (what used to be the Ping Pong room).  We still need people for February!
I look forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.