MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
– Matt. 6:10

A hymn in the Glory to God hymnal asks, "What is the world like when God's will is done?" That's something I've been thinking about a lot over the past few years. When we look around, we see so much pain and brokenness and fear in the world. Sometimes it's hard not to feel cynical or hopeless about all the bad news, and to feel there's nothing we can do that would make a difference. And yet we have heard the good news: God loves the world, and God thinks the world is worth saving. God calls us to work as partners, to work together to bring in the kingdom of God.

Those of us who have been reading A World Worth Saving: Lenten Spiritual Practices for Action this Lent have been invited to "fast from apathy", to love the world as Jesus Christ loves the world. Our Lenten discipline encourages us to put our inner faith and spiritual practice into action that embodies God's love and mercy for the world. One of the practices we have taken on is to read or watch the local/national/global news and to make a list of news stories, and then to pray that we will recognize God's presence in these situations.

The holy season of Lent invites us to grow closer to God and to open ourselves more fully to God's love. In worship, we listen for God's word to us in the scripture texts and in Lenten hymns, like "What Wondrous Love Is This". We ponder the mystery of God's love that is "so amazing, so divine" that it "demands our souls, our lives, our all." In his teachings, Jesus give us glimpses of God's dream for the world. Each time we pray the prayer our Savior taught us, we pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." So we need to ponder the news of what's going on in this world God loves and pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven." We need to keep asking, "What is the world like when God's will is done?"

My hope and prayer for us this Lent is that it will be a truly blessed time, and that we will grow as disciples and as a community of faith. May we grow in our vision of what the world is like when God's will is done, and may we live more and more fully into "a new world where God's will is done." May it be so!

What is the world like when God's will is done?
Mustard seeds grow more than we can conceive;
Roots thread the soil; branches reach for the sun.
This is how God moves us each to believe.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

March 6
Hebrew Scripture–Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32
Epistle Lesson-2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Gospel Lesson-Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

March 13
Hebrew Scripture–Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126
Epistle Lesson–Philippians 3:4b-14
Gospel Lesson-John 12:1-8

March 20 Palm/Passion Sunday
Hebrew Scripture–Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 or 31:9-16
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 2:5-11
Gospel Lesson-Luke 19:28-40 or Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49

March 27 Resurrection/Easter Sunday
Hebrew Scripture–Isaiah 65:17-25 or Acts 10:34-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Epistle Lesson–1 Corinthians 15:19-26
Gospel Lesson-John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12

PRAYER MINISTRY

SCRIPTURE
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

PRAYER
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
The best witness is simply following Christ's magnificent example.
— From A Woman's Daily Prayer Book

TAIZE WORSHIP
Tuesday March 1 @ 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

The PWPD (Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit) will hold its annual retreat on Saturday, March 5. It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham. The theme of this year's retreat is "Seasons of the Soul", and the keynote speaker will be Rev. Beth Delaney who is the pastor of the Filipino-American Presbyterian Fellowship in Southfield, Michigan. It will be a time to explore the current season of our own lives both physically and spiritually; to notice the wisdom of each season; and to notice that God is present in all seasons. A variety of workshops will be offered which will be beneficial in making the day personal for you. The registration fee is $30 (which includes lunch), and reservations are to be made by February 26. If you are interested, please call the church office for a registration form.

If you haven't already done so, please consider making a pledge to the Presbyterian Women. This Mission Pledge touches every aspect of PW at all levels ñ leadership development training, justice and peace advocacy, mission projects and partnerships, and publishing ministries that make possible Bible Study materials that we use each month.

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE HYGIENE KITS

The Presbyterian Women are collecting Hygiene Kits for Church World Service (CWS). We have an opportunity to get these kits to the collection point with an individual this time, rather than by paying shipping costs. CWS Hygiene Kits are collected in the US and stored until needed for victims of natural disasters, war, poverty or other causes all around the world. Kits must be returned to the church and placed in the Library no later than Sunday March 6. If you are unable to shop and make kits, you can donate money for their shipment. Please make your checks out to "Church World Service Kit Program." For more information, visit www.cwskits.org.

All items need to fit inside a one-gallon plastic zipper closure bag. The Hygiene Kit contents include:

  • One hand towel measuring approximately 15" x 28" to 16" x 32" (no fingertip, bath, dish towel or micro-fiber)
  • One washcloth
  • One wide-tooth comb removed from the package
  • One fingernail or toenail clipper removed from the package
  • One bath-size bar of soap in the wrapper
  • One toothbrush in the package
  • Six standard size Band-Aids

MARY CIRCLE - MARCH 7

This month's Mary Circle is on March 7. Please call the church office for details.

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 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 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.

CALLING ALL FEATHER BOWLERS - SUNDAY, MARCH 20

It is time to sign up for our annual Feather Bowling outing. The big event is scheduled for Sunday, March 20, at the Cadieux Cafe. 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.

HOLY WEEK

The most important week of the Christian year is approaching–inviting us to "survey the wondrous cross"–to 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 20 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, March 24 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, March 27 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.

EASTER FLOWERS

As we enter the season of Lent, we look toward Easter and the coming of spring. We will adorn the cross with both spring plants and lilies. If you would like to purchase plants for Easter, the cost will be $12.00 each for lilies and plants. You may take them with you following worship on Easter. The deadline for orders will be Monday, March 21. 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 28

The Men's Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. for dinner followed by their study. Dinner will be provided, then the men will begin a new study called, Islam and Christianity. The study uses a dialogue method between Muslims and a Christian, as an introductory understanding of Muslim beliefs. All men are invited for the dinner and study.

SILENT AUCTION 2016

Our Presbyterian Women are ready to accept donations for the Silent Auction to be held at the Annual Spring Tea on April 23.

We plan 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 contact the church office by April 10. Thank you!

THE PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN'S SPRING TEA

"LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!" they said, and she did.

Queen Elizabeth II will turn 90 on April 21 and we are celebrating in style with our own British Afternoon Tea on Saturday, April 23!

We will transform our church lounge into a British Tea Room and gather there at 2:00 p.m. to enjoy some sweet and savory treats with our tea, prepared and served by our friends from "flour, sugar, salt."

Following our tea, we will be entertained and enlightened by tea enthusiast and historian, Phyllis Barkey, who will present a biographical account of the life of Queen Elizabeth II, sharing little known facts from her childhood to the present time. Come and discover what Her Majesty had tucked inside her honeymoon carriage, what she always carries inside her ever present handbag. Learn about her favorite teas and more.

Ms. Barkey retired from office work in 2004 to pursue her interest in tea both here and in England. Through her tea adventures Phyllis has been invited to speak at various tea events on numerous topics and personalities. We are very fortunate to have her coming to Littlefield for our Mission Fundraising Event.

Our event will also include a Silent Auction. Items will include gift cards, tickets, subscriptions and fine china as well as handmade items.

Tickets are $12 and will be available beginning March 6. Seating is limited so get your tickets early. Come and celebrate the birthday of the longest reigning monarch of our time and help spread joy and support at home and abroad at the same time.

SAVE THE DATE: PEACE CAMP - JULY 26, 27 & 28
Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday

STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT DIVERSITY

Littlefield had a bus load of 7th grade students from the Dearborn Public Schools visit us on Tuesday, February 9. This was part of a religious diversity day organized by ACCESS. The students visited the Islamic Center of America and the University of Michigan-Dearborn in the morning. After eating their bag lunches, we gathered in the sanctuary. Pastor Hayes gave an interactive talk about the Christian faith and interfaith respect and unity. The students and their leaders asked excellent questions. This is how we grow in understanding.

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

"Take Time To Be Holy" is an old hymn that reminds us that we need to spend time with the Spirit of God. This Lenten season we have chosen a Presbyterians Today publication called "Be Holy" as our Lenten devotional. Each day from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday we are challenged with a scripture passage, a short devotional written by Brian Coulter and a breath prayer (an ancient form of prayer). The text is augmented by some beautiful illustrations by Bess Reynolds. We encourage you to spend some time with this devotional. As of this writing we have a few copies remaining if you need one.

On Tuesday, February 22, we started our Lenten Book Study. After our soup and salad dinner we discussed "Fasting from Apathy", the first chapter of George Hovaness Donigian's book entitled, A World Worth Saving: Lenten Spiritual Practices For Action. The time was well spent as we discussed the reasons for fasting, the things that make us apathetic, and how we can abstain from apathy. We all sang the hymn "What Wondrous Love Is This," and then we shared how the hymn sheds light on God's love and God's involvement in our world. We hope that you can join us as we gather each Tuesday evening from now until March 22. The soup and salad dinner begins at 6:15 p.m. in the lounge. Our study session follows dinner. Please note on March 1, we will go to the Taize service after dinner. Our study session will follow Taize.

Our annual trip to the Cadieux Cafe has been scheduled for Sunday March 20th. We have reserved the 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. time slot for our feather bowling. A sign-up sheet has been placed in the Library. Please sign up if you plan to attend. If you have never gone 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.

We are currently in the planning stage for 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 God's 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, engaged in each other's concerns, and engaged in making God's presence known and felt in the world.

One last note: As of this writing, the new directory is getting ready for printing. Once it is printed and placed in the binders, the Deacons will be distributing them. It is exciting to see new faces in this edition.

PILL BOTTLES AND BATTERIES

What do these two items have in common, you may ask? The generous people at Littlefield have donated about 500 used pill bottles over the last few months. Originally, we were collecting them to benefit The Malawi Project. In checking with The Malawi Project before shipping the bottles, it was found they had collected over 1 million bottles and have discontinued the pill bottle collection program! Instead the bottles will be shipped to Matthew 25: Ministries. This organization, headquartered in Cincinnati Ohio, provides humanitarian aid and disaster relief to the poor throughout the US and around the world. Matthew 25: Ministries collects excess products from corporations and manufacturers as well as the general public and ships these donations to those in need. If you are interested in more information, it can be found at m25m.org. We will no longer be collecting pill bottles.

Instead of collecting pill bottles (which can be recycled in Dearborn) we will instead begin collecting household batteries. Dearborn and many other communities do not take batteries in their curbside recycling programs. We will put a basket on the table in the library where you can deposit your batteries and we will see that they are appropriately recycled.

Thank you,
Your "Caring for the Earth" team

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.