Life at Littlefield - March 2015
LITTLEFIELD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
7560 Littlefield Boulevard
Dearborn, Michigan 48126-1699
MINISTER - FRAN HAYES
We are on our journey through Lent. This holy season is our annual invitation to grow closer to God and to open ourselves more fully to God's love. On Sunday mornings in Lent, we continue our journey together, listening for God's word to us in the scripture texts, as we follow Jesus on the way of the cross. Our Lenten hymns, like 'What Wondrous Love Is This?' and 'O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High', invite us to ponder the mystery of divine love that is 'so amazing, so divine' that it 'demands our souls, our lives, our all.'
In the Tuesday evening Lenten series, we share a simple soup-and-salad meal together and discuss the book The Unexpected Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It's always amazing to discover the connections in our conversations, as we did Tuesday. As Harold hears that someone who had been important to him is dying, he heads out to mail a letter to her and keeps going. He's driven forward on an unlikely pilgrimage, walking across England on a journey on which he has encounters with a series of people. The book tells a story of a journey that is transformative. Someone remembered the gospel lesson from Sunday, in which the Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness to be tested by Satan, and how the angels ministered to him there. In the scripture stories and in our novel discussions, we are challenged to find ourselves and to open ourselves to being transformed by our Lenten journey.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are on a lifelong journey of discipleship, as we continually seek to become our truest, most loving and generous selves. My hope and prayer for us this Lent is that we will learn to be more consistent in setting aside time in our busy lives to nurture our spiritual life, and that we will grow as disciples, and as a community of faith.
This has been a cold, hard winter for many of us, and, as a congregation we face many challenges. Sometimes we get discouraged and have a hard time seeing the hope. So I pray that this holy season of Lent will be a truly blessed time, when we are ministered to by angels, and that we will experience real growth. Just as bulbs planted and fed in the fall are getting ready to bloom as the soil warms in the spring, may our spirits be fed and our hearts be warmed by our Lenten disciplines, so that we will be ready to bloom as God's Easter people. Looking out at the dirty piles of snow, may we be reminded by this hopeful verse by Natalie Sleeth:
In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
William G. Gepford, American-Arab Relations
'Lent, A Vaccination of the Soul'
Like a vaccination, Lent is often looked upon as something that can be exempted for all kinds of reasons if it doesn't fit one's personal or group 'beliefs.'
As a child growing up I was told that Lent should never be forgotten as it was a time of cleansing of the soul. A time of spiritual emphasis, a time of turning to the abundant ways of life given to us by God through Jesus, life in the spirit. It also can mean reaching out to others, especially those with different religious views. I learned that not everyone accepted the fact that the life of the Spirit could be experienced in a variety of ways.
As we know, at this time, diseases we thought had been eradicated (like measles, mumps and whooping cough) have returned and are beginning to spread. There are people who don't want their children vaccinated. All but two states allow parents to cite faith or philosophy as reasons to be exempt from vaccine requirements established by lawmakers.
'Proponents of vaccine waivers argue that the nation's values of personal liberty should outweigh a government's mandate to parents.' (Bloomberg Business Week, February 2015, p.27).
This is very similar to the thinking of those who kill others they don't like for religious, ethnic or ideological reasons. They will always find justifications for doing what they do (and this has happened throughout history in every clime and place).
Simply setting laws to control such behavior isn't enough. Societies need to work on the hearts of people, especially those of religious belief. This is the role of Lent. It is a time to lift up the life of the spirit regardless of its origins, or its geography.
It is now a time to return to the abundant way of life (not death) given to us by God through life in the Spirit. To say that God is a spirit is to live into the various religious manifestations of God's creation.
We are seeing an abundance of the taking of life in our time that results in some concluding that 'my' way is right while everyone else is wrong. Killing others is not the life God intended. Is this the reign (kingdom) of God? Hardly! People of the Spirit are people who lift up the Truth, who seek just social systems, who work to find where God is already at work in the world.
When this happens we will have been 'vaccinated' by the practices and spirit of Lent, we will turn from death to life, from despair to hope. We will be able to distinguish between what is life-giving and what only leads to death.
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)
O.T. Lesson-Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Epistle Lesson-Romans 4:13-25
Gospel Lesson-Mark 8:31-38
O.T. Lesson-Exodus 20:1-17
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Gospel Lesson-John 2:13-22
O.T. Lesson-Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Epistle Lesson-Ephesians 2:1-10
Gospel Lesson-John 3:14-21
O.T. Lesson-Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:1-12 or 119:9-16
Epistle Lesson-Hebrews 5:5-10
Gospel Lesson-John 12:20-33
March 29 – Palm/Passion Sunday
O.T. Lesson-Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 or 31:9-16
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 2:5-11
Gospel Lesson-Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16 or Mark 14:1-15:47
WORDS OF WISDOM
The best witness is simply following Christ's magnificent example.
- A Woman's Daily Prayer Book
So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
- Matthew 28:8
- A Woman's Daily Prayer Book
Lord, how beautiful indeed are the feet that bring good news!
I can't read the account of the women who visited your empty tomb without my heart beating a bit faster.
As terrifying as the events preceding that first Easter morning were, how quickly utter grief turned into complete joy!
Fill me with that joy, Lord.
May it emanate from me and spread to others. Amen.
- A Woman's Daily Prayer Book
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
God grades on the cross, not on the curve.
EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
First, a reminder that the Lenten devotional 'A Wondrous Love' is available and can be found on the table in the library. I encourage you to take one and spend this season of reflection with Henri Nouwen and C. S. Lewis.
March 22 has been set for our Annual Feather Bowling Event at the Cadiuex Cafe. We will bowl from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. followed by dinner. As in the past, we expect to have great fun. If you plan to go, please sign the 'Feather Bowing Sign Up Sheet' located in the library.
Our Lenten Book Study is under way. As of this writing seventeen people have indicated that they plan to read the book. Below is the schedule for discussion of 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.'
Soup and Salad Dinner at 6:15 p.m.
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Book Discussion Chapters for discussion: Chapters 1-12 Theme: Stepping Out - Searching Within
Soup and Salad Dinner at 6:15 p.m.
Taize Worship Service at 7:00 p.m.
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Book Discussion Chapters for discussion: Chapters 13-24 Theme: Bed, Bath, and Beyond: Living Simply and Authentically
Soup and Salad Dinner at 6:15 p.m.
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Book Discussion Chapters for discussion: Chapters 25-28 The Dark Night of the Soul: Dealing with Loss and Transition
Soup and Salad Dinner at 6:15 p.m.
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Book Discussion Chapters for discussion: Chapters 29-32 Theme: Reunion and Reconciliation: The Power of Forgiveness
MARY CIRCLE - MARCH 2
This month's Mary Circle is meeting March 2. Call the church office for more information.
TAIZE WORSHIP SERVICE - TUESDAY, MARCH 3 @ 7:00 p.m.
Light, prayer and music are woven together in a contemplative prayer service. Short, simple songs, repeated again and again, help one enter into a meditative state. Thus, this meditative singing becomes a way of listening to God. All are invited, regardless of faith background and age, to come and renew your spirit. You are invited to dress comfortably and casually. Invite a friend!
CHURCH & SOCIETY COMMITTEE
Our next 2 cents-a-meal collection will be Sunday, March 8. At that time it will have been 105 days (since November 23) since our last collection. At $.06 / day for 105 days our total is $6.30. Since many of us have snacks between our 3 meals / day please consider adding those into your calculations. We are blessed with abundant food choices and rarely are hungry so let us remember those less fortunate and give from our hearts. The money collected will be given to the Presbytery Hunger Program.
'Hospitality of the Heart: Welcoming and Surrendering to the Holy Spirit' ... is the theme of the PWPD's annual Women's Retreat which will be held on Saturday, March 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak. The purpose of this retreat is to provide an opportunity to identify the ways in which the Holy Spirit is working in our lives. The keynote speaker will be Pat Johnson, a spiritual director and chaplain. There will be a broad selection of topics in the mini- sessions held during this day to inspire us to look at places in which the Holy Spirit has already been at work, and to also welcome what the Holy Spirit desires to do in our lives.
Registration is $30.00 (including lunch). If you are interested, there are registration forms in the Library, and they must be turned in by March 5. All women are invited to attend ... so ask your family, friends, and neighbors!
CALLING ALL FEATHER BOWLERS - SUNDAY, MARCH 22
It is time to sign up for our annual Feather Bowling outing. The big event is scheduled for Sunday, March 22, at the Cadieux CafÈ. We will begin at 4:00 p.m. with two hours of feather bowling followed by dinner. We hope you will add your name to the sign-up sheet in the library, and as always, we encourage you to extend the invitation to those outside the Littlefield congregation.
As we enter the season of Lent, we look toward Easter and the coming of spring. We will again adorn the cross with both spring plants and lilies. If you would like to purchase plants for Easter, the cost will be $10.50, and you may take them with you following worship on Easter. The deadline for orders will be Monday, March 23. This is a wonderful way to express your gratitude for someone or something, remember special people or a loved one. What glorious things God has done for us!
MEN'S STUDY GROUP - MARCH 23
The Men's Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. for dinner followed by their study. The men will continue their study on 'Seeking Social Justice,' Lesson Six, Living with Authenticity, Integrity, and Faith. All men are invited for the dinner and study.
ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING
'I was hungry and you gave me food'
(Matthew 25:35) is the theme for this year's One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. This is the first of four special offerings collected by the national Presbyterian Church. Our gifts to this offering support ministries of disaster response, refugee assistance and resettlement, and community development that help people find safe refuge, start new lives, and work together to strengthen their families and communities. The Presbyterian Hunger Program receives 36% of the money collected. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Self-Development of People each receive 32% of the revenue. When you give to One Great Hour of Sharing you are assisting in the empowerment of others as they move past emotional, physical, and spiritual misfortune. Your help gives hope.
This offering is received during Lent through Easter Sunday. There are envelopes in the pew racks and we also have boxes that can be placed on your dining table for a daily collection.
The most important week of the Christian year is approachingÖ inviting us to 'survey the wondrous cross'Öto reflect on God's amazing love and how we are called to respond. For many of us, the Holy Week services are the most meaningful and powerful services of the year. We hope that you will set apart time to be with us and invite a friend as we move through the events of Holy Week and prepare our hearts to receive the good news of Easter.
Sunday, March 29 Palm/Passion Sunday
Join us at 10:30 a.m. as we wave our palm branches in the service and as we remember Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Follow Jesus to the cross on Calvary as we hear the Passion story from the Gospel according to Mark.
Thursday, April 2 Maundy Thursday
This reflective service begins at 7:00 p.m. and will include the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper around the table. Then we will follow Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane and to the cross as we hear the story of Christ's Passion in a Tenebrae service, a service of darkness in which candles are gradually extinguished.
Sunday, April 5 Resurrection Sunday
This festive service, which begins at 10:30 a.m., is the most joyous in the Christian year. Come and hear the good news, enjoy the beautiful music and leave with a 'Hallelujah' in your heart. Invite your friends to worship with you and celebrate Christ's resurrection. Childcare will be available.
SILENT AUCTION 2015
Our Presbyterian Women are ready to accept donations for the Silent Auction to be held at our Annual Spring Tea on April 18. This year our Silent Auction will have a new twist. We hope to feature handmade goods such as doll clothes, handmade greeting cards, hand sewn items, etc. Further, if you can donate gift cards, tickets to sporting events, plays, concerts, even subscriptions to restaurants and theatres, etc. - we would be happy to receive them. All monies from this event will be donated to missions. To donate your items, please make arrangements with the church office by April 1.
WORSHIP & CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The season of Lent culminates in Holy Week and our committee has been planning the services for Holy Week at Littlefield. This year we will try something new: combining our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services into one service on Thursday evening, April 2. Since the Iglesia de Jesucriso congregation, our new tenants, will be holding their service as usual on Friday evening in the Fellowship Hall, we decided to not overlap our evening Good Friday service with theirs. We will instead have a somewhat longer Thursday evening service incorporating parts of both the traditional Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. On Maundy Thursday, we will celebrate the Lord's Supper around the table. Then we will follow Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane and to the cross as we hear the story of Christ's Passion in a Tenebrae service, a service of darkness in which candles are gradually extinguished. We hope you will make an extra effort to attend this year's combined service, and then join us for our Easter Sunday Resurrection service on April 5.
THE PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN'S SPRING TEA
Spring ~ it brings so many things: flowers, robins, warmer weather and the Presbyterian Women's Annual Spring Tea! This year we will gather in our Victorian Tea Room (otherwise known as the Church Lounge) on Saturday, April 18 at 2:00 p.m. Surrounded by flowers, fine china and linens, we will enjoy select sweets and savories and assorted teas brewed to order. Wear your best chapeau if you like, or borrow one of ours. Plan to be waited on and entertained. We will also feature our popular Silent Auction which may contain the perfect Mother's Day Gift or treasure for yourself. All net proceeds will benefit the Mission Fund of PW. Tickets remain at $12.00 and will be available from the church office beginning March 8. Don't miss this fun, fundraising event. Save the date and watch for more information in our next edition of LIFE. Celebrate spring in style!
SAVE THE DATE: GLEANERS FOOD BANK VOLUNTEER MORNING - MAY 2
9:00 a.m. - 12 noon
SAVE THE DATE: MAY 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Music Concert Fundraiser
with Henry Ford College Chorus
directed by Kevin Dewey
SAVE THE DATES: PEACE CAMP - JULY 28, 29 & 30
Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday
NEW TENANT: IGLESIA DE JESUCRISCO PALABRA MIEL
For many months, the Session has been working with a rental agent to look into the possibilities of finding a new tenant or two to improve our income picture and to better utilize our facilities. At the beginning of 2015, the Session signed a six month rental agreement with Iglesia De Jesucriso Palabra Miel. Prior to coming to Littlefield, this congregation had been worshipping in a school gymnasium; they were excited to be able to use a sanctuary and to come to Littlefield. Iglesia De Jesucriso Palabra Miel is a young, energetic group of about 100 members.
Iglesia De Jesucriso Palabra Miel is reaching people for Jesus Christ and ministering to them ñ people we aren't equipped to reach. They worship in Spanish and are oriented to the culture of their people.
CHURCH MISSION STATEMENT
Who we are:
We are a community of ordinary people
committed to growing together as disciples of Jesus Christ
through worship, fellowship, learning, prayer, and mission.
Why we exist:
To love God, one another, and all people.
To show God's love in our work for peace and justice.