MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

For some of us, it feels like we just celebrated Christmas. But because Easter is early this year, weíre almost in Lent. As one of my pastor friends commented recently, itís enough to give us "liturgical whiplash." I love the scripture readings and themes of Epiphany, with their emphasis on our calling to carry out Christís mission in the world. Weíre near the end of a shorter-than-usual Epiphany season and approaching Lent.

Even if we donít feel ready for Lent, I hope we will welcome the season and enjoy the time as an opportunity for rest and spiritual refreshment and growth. For many of us, there always seems to be so much to do. Sometimes in the midst of all the busyness, we might forget that we were created as "human beings", and not as "human do-ings."

The gospel stories make it clear that Jesus struggled with busyness too. The crowds kept coming, making demands on Jesusí time and energy. Yet throughout the time of his earthly ministry, Jesus was very intentional in setting time apart for prayer and to have his spirit refreshed and renewed.

I think Jesusí first followers must have followed his example, because historians tell us that in the earliest centuries of the movement, people would look at the Christian community and marvel, "See how they love one another! See how joyful they are!" Followers of the risen Christ were living as joyful Easter people and tending to their relationships with God and one another, and people outside the church could see it.

Over the centuries, Christiansí passionate devotion and joy seemed to fade. So in response, the church announced a season of Lent. The roots of the word used to describe the season of preparation for Easter are related to "spring," which suggests that Lent is an invitation to a spring time for our souls. The season of Lent can be a gift to us, when we see it as an opportunity to pay attention to our spiritual hungers, a time to find hope in the story of Godís saving love for us.

If we commit ourselves to the spiritual disciplines of Lent, they can teach, sustain, and refresh us, so that we will be empowered to live more fully as Godís Easter people. During the forty days of Lent, I encourage you to make a commitment to one or more Lenten disciplines that will nurture your spirit. You could make it a priority to attend worship, including 1st Tuesday Taize prayer. You could sign up for the Lenten supper and book discussion on A World Worth Saving.

For those of us who use our computers and other electronic devices daily, there are other tools available to help us form holy habits. We can download the Daily Prayer app from the Presbyterian Church on our phones or tablets, which gives us a structured outline for scriptures and prayers each day. We can sign up to have the Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study arrive in our email every day.

I hope that you will join us on Ash Wednesday, as we mark the beginning of Lent together, and that you will discover or re-discover a Lenten discipline that will bless and renew you. May it be so for each of us this holy season.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

February 7
Hebrew Scripture-Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
Epistle Lesson-2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Gospel Lesson-Luke 9:28-43

February 10 (Ash Wednesday)
Hebrew Scripture-Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
Epistle Lesson-2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

February 14
Hebrew Scripture-Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Epistle Lesson-Romans 10:8b-13
Gospel Lesson-Luke 4:1-13

February 21
Hebrew Scripture-Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 3:17-4:1
Gospel Lesson-Luke 13:31-35

February 28
Hebrew Scripture-Isaiah 55:1-9
Psalm 63:1-8
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Gospel Lesson-Luke 13:1-9

PRAYER MINISTRY

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Church is the one place you can go just as
you are and leave just as God sees you.

PRAYER
Lord, today my heart is full of gratitude for your church.
Thank you for asking us to meet together to honor you.
What power there is in voicing our thanks and petitions together!
What comfort in the outstretched arms of friends!
Protect us, Lord.
Keep us strong – now and in the days to come.
Amen.

SCRIPTURE VERSE
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
– Psalm 84:4

TAIZE WORSHIP
FEBRUARY 2 @ 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!

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

To celebrate Black History Month, the PWPD will meet at the Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit on Saturday, February 6, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Liberation Film Series will present "Idlewild: A Place in the Sun" with speaker, Dr. Ronald Stephens of Purdue University. Come as early as you wish to explore the museum for the regular admission fee of $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for children and seniors or come at 1:30 p.m. and go straight to the theater for this FREE event. No reservations are needed.

The next event will be our annual PWPD retreat which will be held on Saturday, March 5, at the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham. The keynote speaker will be Rev. Beth Delaney. Details will follow.

ASH WEDNESDAY POTLUCK & WORSHIP SERVICE - FEBRUARY 10

Our Presbyterian Women will be hosting our annual potluck at 6:00 p.m. with a Worship Service to follow at 7:00 p.m. A sign-up sheet will be in the library for those of you who would like to enjoy some home cooking!

ANNUAL MEETING

On Sunday, February 14, we will have our Annual Ecclesiastical and Corporate meeting as required in our by-laws. Please plan to attend.

CENTS-ABILITY OFFERING

Our next collection will be Sunday, February 28. It will be 168 days since our last collection on September 13. At 3 meals/day x $.02/meal we should have collected $10.08 in our containers. Realizing that many of us eat more than 3 times/day and that food prices have increased, donations of any size are always welcome. Our portion of this offering will be given to the Detroit Presbytery Hunger Program. Please give generously!

SAVE THE DATE
FEATHER BOWLING AT THE CADIEUX CAFE

SUNDAY, MARCH 20

Bowling at 4:00 p.m.
Dinner at 6:00 p.m.

SAVE THE DATE - SATURDAY, MAY 14

Time for Faithful Imagination – Part 2

Saturday, May 14
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
(includes lunch)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
PEACE CAMP: JULY 26 - 28, 2016

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

How quickly time passes! We are into the new year and heading towards Lent. This year our Lenten Book Study will focus on George Hovaness Donigianís book entitled, A World Worth Saving: Lenten Spiritual Practices For Action.

The following is a short review from Amazon.com: "George Donigian guides you to grow in your prayer life by praying about daily news reports, discovering the needs around you, and responding with love and compassion. You will discover ways to serve others, feed the hungry, seek justice and fight injustice, offer healing, extend friendship."

This six week Lenten Study will meet in the Church lounge on the following Tuesday evenings: February 16 and 23, March 1, 8, 15, and 22. We will meet for a soup and salad dinner at 6:15 p.m. followed by our discussion groups. We will be finished by 8:00 p.m. Please note, Tuesday, March 1, is our time for Taize Worship. Therefore, on March 1, we will meet at 6:15 p.m. for a light dinner, then go to Taize. After Taize, we will meet in our discussion groups. The book can be purchased through Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. There are also Kindle or Nook versions of the book. If you would like us to order the book for you, you need to sign-up on the sheet in the library or call the office by February 3 or you may do your own ordering. The paperback costs $12.00.

Something new for a new year! This year, after our Lenten Book Study, we will be starting a new book study group called Engage! The purpose of this group is to meet throughout the year in order to engage in fiction and non-fiction works which challenge us to be Godís witnesses in a world worth saving. We are calling the group Engage! (with the exclamation mark) to remind us that we are to be engaged in the text, engaged in the times, and in each otherís concerns, and engaged in making Godís presence known and felt in the world. You will hear more about Engage! in the future.

Our annual trip to the Cadieux Cafe has been scheduled for Sunday, March 20. We have reserved the 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. time slot for our feather bowling. As we get closer to March, we will have a sign-up sheet placed in the Library. If you have never tried feather bowling, we encourage you to come and join the fun. For those who can stay after the bowling is over, we will be enjoying a good meal at the Cadieux Cafe.

The new directory is close to completion and may be ready by the time you receive this newsletter. We are doing the final editing as of this writing and we will start printing soon. It has taken a few months to produce the directory, but it has been time well spent. I appreciate all those who have had a hand in its production.

WORSHIP & CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE

We are pleased to have Lonnie Luzod continue as our primary musician with the help of many talented volunteers. If you have some musical talent, or know someone that does, please speak to Lonnie or Pastor Fran for an opportunity to share your gifts in our Worship Service. We have always had a strong music program at Littlefield and have encouraged everyone to share their gifts. Perhaps you can provide that special prelude, postlude or offertory selection. If you like to sing and want to join our choir, we welcome you. We meet for rehearsal from noon to 1:00 p.m. after worship on Sundays and warm up each Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. before worship.

If you know anyone who would appreciate hearing our entire service on CD, let the office know, or one of our Deacons, and they can arrange to have the CDís delivered. The sermons are posted on the Littlefield Church website, usually within a day, so if you arenít able to be present at the service, you can still listen to Pastor Franís message.

We have had a number of visitors to our Worship service in recent months and, as always, we encourage our regular attendees to practice the hospitality that Littlefield has always been known for. Everyone is welcome at Littlefield!

CHURCH & SOCIETY COMMITTEE
ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING

"Serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received" (I Peter 4:10) is the theme for this yearís 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 helps 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. Three examples of the impact supported by your gifts are 220,000 people received food, water, shelter, and medical care in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquakes; over 308,000 people in over 30 countries now have increased food security and livelihoods through international development work; more than 10,000 children and their families in five bateyes in the Dominican Republic have access to clean water, helping to prevent water-related diseases. Your help gives hope.

This offering is received during Lent through Easter Sunday. There will be envelopes in the pew racks and we also have boxes that can be placed on your dining table for a daily collection.

THE 2016 FLOWER CALENDAR!

Would you like to decorate the church on Sunday? The 2016 Flower Chart has been placed in the refreshment area for your convenience or you may call the church office. The cost for two arrangements is $46.00, but if you wish to purchase one arrangement and no one else is signed up that week, the cost is $28.00. However, if two families purchase the two arrangements, then the cost is $23.00 per family. We will use silk arrangements for the open Sundays.

FIRST-AID KITS

Several new first-aid kits have recently been purchased and distributed at Littlefield. They are located:

  • On the wall above the drinking fountain on the first floor of the Education Bldg.
  • On the wall above the drinking fountain on the second floor of the Education Bldg.
  • On the wall in the small kitchen across the hall from the Coffee Hour Room/Library in the Sanctuary Bldg.
  • On the wall in the Fellowship Hall kitchen in the basement of the Sanctuary Bldg.

These are well equipped for all types of minor injuries such as cuts, burns and sprains.

A WARM FUZZY THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who donated hats, gloves and scarves to our baskets in December. They were split between Vista Maria and Fort Street Open Door Program. The total value came to approximately $337. As we experience the cold days of winter, we can know that our gifts are keeping someone else a little bit warmer. Thank you!

ABUNDANT LIFE – by EVA STIMSON

In late summer, the garden in our backyard overflows with tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and six or eight varieties of peppers. There's always plenty to share with neighbors and friends.

By autumn, all that remains of our bountiful harvest are a few green tomatoes scattered among the dead leaves. And yet, the barren soil contains the prospect of next year's abundance.

Life tends to alternate between abundance and scarcity. The calendar fills up and we worry about not having enough time. Then deadlines get extended and meetings canceled, and suddenly one glorious day stretches ahead empty of commitments. Or the savings account takes a dive and we cut back on charitable gifts- and then a raise comes through at work or a check arrives in the mail.

The challenge for Christians is to live abundantly in times of scarcity. Jesus told his disciples, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). As Paul exhorted the Corinthian church: "God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).

God pours out blessings-even in the dead of winter when gardens appear brown and empty. Let's share that abundance with others.

(Taken from the Presbyterian Foundationís Stewardship Ministry E-Newsletter of September 2015. Ruling Elder Eva Stimson lives in Louisville, KY and is the former editor of Presbyterians Today.)

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.