Here are some of the things you need to know about this week:
First, Our much-anticipated and much-delayed ‘Epiphany Play’ takes place THIS Sunday, January 28, immediately following our worship service. There will be a brief break after worship to set up the scenery. For those who are able and eager to stay for the program, we encourage you to remain in your seats during that time. The play will be approximately twenty-five minutes in length.
Second, we need to start preparing for LENT!
The Season of Lent is one of the most important times of the year, especially for those seeking intentionally to grow in their faith. Here are some things that can help you prepare for the ‘journey’:
Please bring in your palm crossesnow from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration. These will be burned and turned into the ashes to be used on Ash Wednesday.
Plan now on attending our SHROVE TUESDAY DINNER (Tuesday, February 13 from 6:00-7:30 pm). We will enjoy a pancake supper together, gather materials we can use at home during the Lenten season, and participate in the burning of the palms (always a highlight of the night).
Commit to being at our ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE (Wednesday, February 14 beginning at 6:00 pm). We gather in prayer to mark the beginning of our 40 day journey, asking for God’s direction and blessing upon our chosen practices and discipline for the season.
If you are new to the concept of Lent, consider reading The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent, by Aaron Damiani, one of the most helpful and accessible guides available.
Third, our Annual Southeast Regional Diocesan Retreat takes place on February 8-10, in Greensboro, NC. Details for the retreat can be found on the diocesan website. The workshops and teaching sessions take place from noon on Friday to noon on Saturday.
Fourth, We will hold a CONGREGATIONAL MEETING during the weekend of February 24 and 25 and all associated with Christ the Redeemer are warmly encouraged to attend. An ‘evite’ will be sent out tomorrow with more information on the event, and with instructions to help you RSVP so we can fix the day (either Saturday or Sunday) for the event. We ask that you respond to the ‘evite’ by February 10th at the latest. Please also be in prayer for the night.
Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.
These winter storms seem to become more frequent these days—at least this one is not happening on a weekend! Be safe on the roads (I can tell you they are slippery). Let me fill you in on what is happening around Christ the Redeemer these days:
First, news about our ‘Epiphany Play’—what was supposed to be the crowning glory of our Christmas Season has had to be re-scheduled once again due to storms (and the ‘cast’s’ schedules!). The children will perform the play for us immediately following worship on Sunday, January 28. Please mark your calendars now and plan on enjoying the children’s presentation.
Second, ‘Walking Through the Catechism’—our Adult offering during ‘Discipleship Hour’ continues this week on Sunday at 9:00 am. We had over 25 people come to our first session last week and there is room for more. Our aim is to become familiar with this new tool for discipleship, so that we may not only deepen our own living of the faith, but be equipped to invite others into living it with us. I encourage you to carve out the time this winter/spring to immerse yourself in this journey of faith.
Third, Our new Leadership Council gathers on Saturday, January 20 for a day of prayer and planning for the year ahead. Please pray for us as we gather (Council members: Pete Fraser, Bob Atwood, Kim Johnson, Bill Richter, Ryan Reyes, Paul Gyorfi; Ad hoc members: Janie Atwood-treasurer; Sharon Reyes-Diocesan Council representative; Brother Tim, and myself), that we may bond as a council and discern the movement of the Spirit for this place at this time.
Fourth, February promises to be a busy but blessed month. Here are some of the dates to keep in mind:
February 2-4 — Our Annual Women’s Retreat (at the Oceanfront) February 8-10— Our Annual Diocesan Southeast Regional Retreat, Greensboro NC (you can find all the details on our diocesan web site—www.adhope.org) February 14—Ash Wednesday begins our Lenten season (yes, and coincides with Valentine’s Day!) – which reminds us all it is now time tobring in any palms from last year to be used in our Ash Wednesday service. February 16-18—We will be convening our ‘Congregational Meeting’ we spoke about in December at our Annual General Meeting. Details as to the day and time will be sent out early next week.
Finally, Pastoral News: I have some good pastoral news to report. Charlie Watkins’ cancer treatments continue, but the mid-term results are most encouraging. Charlie and Blythe head to Boston next week to consult with doctors. Please continue to keep them in your prayers and give thanks for the healing that is taking place even now. Also, for those who haven’t yet heard, Charles Kello’s mother, Sybil, went home to heaven Saturday, January 13. Her memorial service will be held 2:00p.m. Thursday, January 25 at Kempsville Baptist Church (5204 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach). We mourn her loss even as we rejoice that she is truly home.
I look forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.
Now that our annual snow storm has come and gone, we can begin to set our sights on living into this new year! Here are some of the ways you can make a significant new beginning in your life and family:
First, Commit to a way of life that – by the grace of God – leads to transformation: A life of faithful WORSHIP (weekly and daily), a life of faithful COMMUNITY (deepening your connection with the Body of Christ), and a life of faithful DISCIPLESHIP (opening yourself to the Word of God), a life of faithful LIVING (finding your place in the Story of God within the “world” He has given you). These are the practices that open us to the transforming presence and grace of God. Renew your commitment to them and awaken your expectations for the new year.
Second, Commit specifically to participate in our “Discipleship Hour” this year.
We begin this Sunday at 9:00 am our “Walking Through the Catechism” of the Anglican Church of North America. This will not only strengthen our own “walk with God,” but give us the resources and confidence to help others do the same. I especially encourage parents of young children to participate in the class; the future faithfulness of your children depends in part upon your ability to nurture them in their own faith.
Third, Take advantage of these other opportunities for growth and involvement:
February promises to be a busy but fruitful month:
February 2-4 – Our Women’s Retreat takes place at the Oceanfront (contact Janie Atwood for more details). The deadline for payment of all fees is this Sunday, January 14.
February 8-10 – Our Diocese hosts our Annual Regional Retreat in Raleigh, North Carolina. This weekend is open to all and offers multiple opportunities for learning, training and networking. More details to follow shortly.
February 16 or 17 – We will host our “Congregational Meeting” we spoke of at our Annual General Meeting in December. This evening (day and time to be determined shortly) will give the Leadership Council the opportunity to share with you all that God has been stirring up within us this past year. Together, we seek to respond to all that God has in store for us. Look for an “Evite” to the event soon, but plan now on participating in the event.
I look forward to studying and worshiping with you on Sunday.
I trust that you are all well and enduring the aftermath of the storm. While some of the main arteries are passable, most of the side streets are not yet safe. With this in mind, we are cancelling our Epiphany Evening Prayer Service and Children’s Pageant for tomorrow night (Saturday, January 6) and rescheduling it for Saturday January 20 (during Epiphanytide if not on Epiphany itself).
As for Sunday, for those who are able to safely travel to church, we are planning on worshiping together at the same time. Ironically, exactly a year ago we had a similar storm and over 45 hardy folks gathered for worship (always a blessed time for those able to come).
I trust that by early next week the snow and ice will be gone, and we can begin to share our stories about how we all weathered the storm. Keep safe and warm, and give thanks to God for his incomparable gifts so freely given to us and to all.