MINISTER - FRAN HAYES

In the earliest centuries of the church, people looked at the People of the Way and marveled, “See how they love one another! See how joy shines in their faces!” Followers of the risen Christ were living as joyful Easter people, they were tending to their relationships with God and one another, and people outside the church could see it.

Over the following centuries, it seemed that Christians stopped expecting so much from God or from themselves, and their passionate devotion and joy seemed to fade. In response to this, the church announced a season of Lent to be a time of repentance, refreshment and renewal. The roots of the word are related to “spring,” which alludes to the season before Easter and is also an invitation to springtime for the soul.

We begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, when we gather to remember that we are mortal: that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return.” Rather than being morbid, this can be a time to put things into perspective, to be reminded that we need to let go of the things that keep us from living fully in God's peace and joy.

The season of Lent can be a real gift to us when we see it as an opportunity to pay attention to our spiritual hungers and a time to find hope in the story of God's saving love for us. If we commit ourselves to the spiritual disciplines of Lent, they can teach, sustain, and refresh us, so that we are empowered to live more fully as God's Easter people.

My hope and prayer for us this Lent is that we will make time in our busy lives to nurture our spiritual life, as individuals and as a congregation. May we be refreshed and strengthened, so that our Easter faith will overflow into how we live out our mission, carrying God's love and peace and justice out into the world.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

March 5
Hebrew Scripture-Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Psalm 32
Epistle Lesson-Romans 5:16-19
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 4:1-11

March 12
Hebrew Scripture-Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Epistle Lesson-Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
Gospel Lesson-John 3:1-17

March 19
Hebrew ScriptureñExodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Epistle Lesson-Romans 5:1-11
Gospel Lesson-John 4:5-42

March 26
Hebrew Scripture-1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Epistle Lesson-Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel Lesson-John 9:1-41

PRAYER MINISTRY

I was in a doctor's waiting room when I noticed that the man next to me, reading a magazine, was making some strange noises trying to stifle a laugh. Concerned for his well-being, I began to watch him out of the corner of my eye. First, he stopped up a giggle and then a little bigger laugh. Then he made a noise like zrgggg-ah as the stifling became nearly impossible.

Smiling, I turned to him and said, “You need to laugh out loud or you might explode.” Given permission, he burst out in a loud guffaw. And when he laughed, I laughed, even though I had no idea what was so funny.

“Oh, thanks,” he said. “I just couldn't help it.”

It turned out he was reading an article about how men and women are different, and when I asked him to read some of it to me, we both laughedóthis time out loud.

Laughter is such potent medicine; there's no doubt it's a gift from God. That day showed me how easily it comes, too, if I let it. And like all good gifts, it's so much better when it's shared.


SCRIPTURE
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
— Genesis 21:6


PRAYER
Lord, open my eyes and ears to the laughter that's bubbling up around me today.
— Daily Guideposts


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Encouragement is to a friendship what confetti is to a party.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

Ash Wednesday Potluck: As we look forward to the beginning of Lent, the Littlefield Presbyterian Women would like for you to join us for a potluck supper which will be held on Wednesday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m., just prior to the Ash Wednesday worship service. A sign-up sheet will be on the table in the library so that you can let us know if you'll be bringing a main dish, salad, or vegetable. We will refrain from eating dessert that evening in the spirit of observing the Lenten Season.

PWPD Retreat: The Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit (PWPD) are sponsoring their 2017 annual Women's Retreat on Saturday, March 4, at the Allen Park Presbyterian Church. Daily living our faith within our current social and political context is fraught with challenges. How can we cease casting stones at one another and learn to cast out crowns before the Lord in our daily lives? The purpose of this retreat is to explore in large and small groups what God's Word has to teach us about reconciliation, transformation, and healing the divide in our families and communities. Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Downs will be the keynote speaker. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a fee of $30.00 which includes a catered lunch. The program will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Registration forms are available in our church library. Advanced reservations are highly encouraged by February 24 (by filling out the form and sending it in with the fee).

WORLD DAY OF PRAYER - MARCH 3

MARY CIRCLE - MARCH 6

This month's Mary Circle is on March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Oakwood Common. If you are interested in this circle, please contact the church office. All women of the church are welcome!

SILENT AUCTION 2017

Our Presbyterian Women are ready to accept donations for the Silent Auction to be held at the Annual Spring Tea on April 29.

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. ñ 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 15. Thank you!

TAIZE WORSHIP SERVICE

Tuesday, March 7 @ 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!

MEN'S STUDY GROUP - MARCH 27

The Men's Group will meet in the Lounge at 6:30 p.m. for dinner followed by the study. The men will continue the study on The Church and Politics. All men are invited for the dinner and study. If interested, please contact the church office for more information.

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 deadline for orders will be Tuesday, March 28. Watch for bulletin announcement for pricing details. 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!

CALLING ALL FEATHER BOWLERS - SUNDAY, APRIL 2

It is time to sign up for our annual Feather Bowling outing. The big event is scheduled for Sunday, April 2, 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.

ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING

“Is this not the fast I chose?” is the theme for this year's One Great Hour of Sharing offering. This offering is the first of four special yearly offerings collected by the Presbyterian Church. It is collected during Lent through Easter Sunday. The Presbyterian Hunger Program receives 36% of the money collected, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Self-Development of People each receive 32% of the revenue.

The Christian season of Lent is historically marked with fasting, a traditional practice of giving up food and devoting yourself to prayer. This isn't the only type of fasting the Bible talks about. Isaiah 58 calls us to “loose the bonds of injustice,” to “let the oppressed go free,” to “share bread with the hungry,” and to “invite the homeless and poor into our homes.” One way we can answer this call is through our gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

When you give to this offering you are supporting the Self-Development of people by helping those looking for jobs after a prison sentence, and investing in communities responding to experiences of racism, oppression, and injustice. The Presbyterian Hunger program is part of our response to environmental degradation and climate change. The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program has provided education for refugee children, emergency supplies for refugees traveling to new lands, and assistance for U.S. congregations receiving refugees into their communities.

There will be envelopes in the pew racks for your offering and we also have boxes that can be placed in your home for a daily collection.

    Your help gives hope!

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

The Engage! Book Group will meet in the evening of Wednesday, April 19 to discuss America's Original Sin by Rev. Jim Wallis. “In America's Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians--particularly white Christians-- urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing.” (quote from Amazon's review). We will meet at 6:15 p.m. for a pizza and salad dinner followed by the book discussion beginning at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome!

After the Taize Worship Service on February 7, we did a labyrinth walk. Twelve people from the worship service gathered in our Fellowship Hall and did the meditative walk. For some it was their first experience with a labyrinth. Many thanks to Beth Delaney for allowing us to use her large handmade labyrinth and who also joined us in our walk.

On Sunday, February 19, about forty people turned out for our scheduled tour of the Islamic Center of America here in Dearborn. We are very thankful to Eide Alawan for being our host. We spent well over an hour with Eide who graciously answered our many questions about the mosque and Islam. Several of the participants told me that they always wanted to visit the mosque but never had the opportunity. Following the tour, twenty of us met at Al Ameer Restaurant near Littlefield for a time of food and fellowship. It was good to see so many who wanted to learn more about our Islamic neighbors.

For our Lenten Study, we will be using materials published by The Thoughtful Christian. Specifically, we will be exploring the series, Seeing Ourselves in Those Confronted by Jesus, by Marianne Blickenstaff. During this study, we will explore the groups that were active during the life of Jesus. These groups include the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots. We will look not only at who they were, but also, as the publisher states, we will “be challenged to consider who in the twenty-first-century church is like the members of these groups.” There are no book fees for this study. Participant handouts will be provided at each session. This five-week Lenten Study will meet in the Church Lounge on the following Tuesday evenings: March 7, 14, 21, 28 and April 4. 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 that Tuesday, March 7, and Tuesday, April 4, is our time for Taize. Therefore, on March 7 and April 4 we will meet at 6:15 p.m. for our dinner, then go to Taize. After Taize, we will meet in our discussion groups.

Our Lenten Devotional Booklet this year is Moving Toward the Cross by Martin E. Marty. “Each day of Lent, thought-provoking quotes from [Frederick] Beuchner's beloved works are paired with insightful reflections by preeminent religious commentator and biblical scholar Martin E. Marty, accompanied by Bible readings and prayers. Let this depth of wisdom draw you ever closer to the very heart of Christ the crucified.” (quote from the publisher, Creative Communications)

We will be making our Annual Feather Bowling Trip to the Cadieux Cafe in Detroit on Sunday, April 2. We will feather bowl from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and then gather for dinner in the cafe. All are welcome. Feather bowling is a uniquely Detroit experience and great fun.

It has been a year since we issued our new Church directory. During the past year, we have had some changes and additions to the directory. We are currently working on an update.

Have you noticed our showcase in the foyer? We have Littlefield's Core Values on display. As we enter the building, we are reminded of the values that we as a Church cherish.

THE PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN'S SPRING TEA

tea (tee):
1. an evergreen Asian plant with white flowers
2. prepared leaves of this plant, or an infusion of them used as a beverage
3. (Britain) a light afternoon or evening meal
4. a social gathering at which tea is served

We invite you to enjoy all of the above with us on Saturday, April 29, at 2:00 p.m. in our Victorian Tea Room ~ also known as the church lounge. Come and enjoy a fare of finger sandwiches, scones, sweets and a variety of teas. All of which, will be served to you on fine china and linens by our wait staff.

This year's Presbyterian Women's Spring Tea will feature the musical stylings of Mr. Alonzo Luzod at the piano and a visit from some characters of the past who will enlighten us on the history and evolution of “tea.”

Tickets are $15.00, payable to Presbyterian Women, and the proceeds will benefit the PW Mission Fund. Additionally, we will once again have a silent auction (just in time for Mother's Day) featuring gift cards for dining and entertainment, art items, handmade and antique items.

Tickets will be available March 12 from several Presbyterian Women members. We recommend purchasing early as this is a popular event and we only have seating for 40. Bring a friend and step back into a simpler time when ëtaking tea' was a means of restoration and refreshment.

SAVE THE DATE:
PEACE CAMP - JULY 18, 19, & 20
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY

Littlefield's Prayer Shawl Ministry is still at work, however, we will not be meeting at the church on 4th Thursdays anymore. There is yarn available and instructions for shawls, if anyone would like to join this ministry. There are several people who are knitting and praying at home and we can bless a shawl at any time with prayer. We currently have a few shawls available if you know of anyone who may need to be wrapped in prayer. For more information, contact the church office.

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.