MINISTER – FRAN HAYES

A lot of the time, it feels like we live in a Good Friday world. A world where the very rich keep getting richer and most people have less, and the poor have less than they need. A world torn by warfare and violence and racism. A world where the environment is exploited. A world where loved ones battle cancer and struggle with dementia; where we grieve the loss of precious loved ones. We live in a world in which we desperately need some good news.

We are making our journey through the last days of Lent. During Holy Week, we will journey with Jesus on the way of the cross. I pray that our Holy Week pilgrimage will be a truly blessed one that we will share with anyone we know who longs to know God's love and life. On Maundy Thursday, may we be filled with a sense of wonder at Christ's sacrificial love and be renewed in our commitment to Christ's commandment to love. As we walk the Via Dolorosa with Jesus, may we ponder the great gift we have been given and what it means to us and to our broken and hurting world.

By the time our Holy Week pilgrimage takes us to the empty tomb, may our hearts be prepared to hear the joyous good news. I pray that we will be ready to see afresh the small, slow signs of God's newness and transformation in our lives, in the life of the church, and in the world. 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, so that we will be ready to bloom as God's Easter people.

When we celebrate the resurrection on Easter and throughout Eastertide, we hear the promise that the risen Christ goes on ahead of us and that he will be with us always. The Easter message of the angel is a message to us, a promise that we see Jesus wherever grief and despair are transformed into hope, wherever broken relationships are healed. We see resurrection in the world where someone stands up for righteousness and justice and peace. In these and countless other places, the Lord is risen indeed!

SCRIPTURE READINGS

April 2
Hebrew Scripture-Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Epistle Lesson-Romans 8:6-11
Gospel Lesson-John 11:1-45

April 9 Palm/Passion Sunday
Hebrew Scripture-Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 or Psalm 31:9-16
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 2:5-11
Gospel Lesson-Matthew 21:1-11 or Matthew
26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54

April 16 Resurrection/Easter Sunday
First Lesson-Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Epistle Lesson-Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel Lesson-John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

April 23
First Lesson-Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Psalm 16
Epistle Lesson-1 Peter 1:3-9
Gospel Lesson-John 20:19-31

April 30
First Lesson-Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
Epistle Lesson-1 Peter 1:17-23
Gospel Lesson-Luke 24:13-35

PRAYER MINISTRY

PALM SUNDAY

On Palm Sunday, many of us will receive palm branches as reminders of the branches that were waved as the people cried out, “Hosanna!” The fan-shaped palm branch is a symbol of kingship. Its many points are like the points of a crown as they are held high to welcome the King of kings. Each branch is made up of many sections that are often separated and passed out to churches. Each section can represent a person, for each individual is a jewel in Christ's crown of glory.

On the palm crown, each person stands alone as a jewel of God. But it takes everyone working together to make real the kingdom of God that is symbolized by the crown. With our heart, soul, and being, we proclaim Christ as King of our lives. We do this by loving our neighbor as ourselves, by working for justice and peace, by respecting the dignity of each human being, by reaching out to others in love, and by sharing the gospel in word and deed.

The palm is a reminder of God's love for each of us. It can also remind us that we are called to support each other and to witness to the gospel in the world.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

When you can't sleep, don't count the sheep; talk to the shepherd.


SCRIPTURE

The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the lord!
   — Luke 19:37-38


PRAYER

Lord, make us shining jewels reflecting your light into the world. Amen

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.

REMINDER: MARY CIRCLE APRIL 3

This month's Mary Circle is meeting April 3. All who are interested in this group, please contact the church office.

TAIZE WORSHIP SERVICE

Our next service is Tuesday, April 4, @ 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. All people regardless of faith background and age are welcome. You are invited to dress comfortably and casually. Invite a friend!

EVANGELISM AND MEMBERSHIP

Each Tuesday evening in the month of March, a small group met to explore the groups that were active during the life of Christ. During this time, we discovered what role the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots played in the society that Jesus lived in. On the evening that we explored the Essenes, Pastor Fran shared with us photos of Qumran (near the Dead Sea). During her trip to the Middle East several years ago, she visited the ruins of this community that is believed to have been an Essene commune. It is this commune that stored scrolls in the caves surrounding Qumran. These scrolls were discovered in 1947 and are now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. As a guide for our discussions, we are using the series Seeing Ourselves in Those Confronted by Jesus by Marianne Blickenstaff. Our last Lenten Study night will be on April 4. We will have a soup and salad dinner at 6:15 p.m. followed by the Taize Worship Service at 7:00 p.m. After Taize, we will meet in the lounge and discuss the role of the Apostles as well as the role of the women who followed Jesus in his ministry. Please note that even if you missed the previous gatherings, you are welcome to join us.

The Engage! Book Group will meet 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.com's review). We will be meeting 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!

We will be making our Annual Feather Bowling Trip to the Cadieux Cafe in Detroit on 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 over a year since we issued our new Church directory. During the past year, we have had some changes and additions to the directory. The update has been printed and we are now in the process of distributing it.

Here comes the sun! Summer is just around the corner which means it won't be long before we have our Annual Picnic & Worship in the Park. Mark your calendars for Sunday, August 6. You are welcome to invite family and friends to join us for this special service.

Have you noticed? We have Littlefield's Core Values on display in the showcase. As we enter the building, we are reminded of the values that we as a Church cherish: Compassion, Joyful Faith, Peacemaking, Openness, and Inclusiveness.

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, April 4. The cost is the same as last year, $12. 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!

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

The Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Detroit (PWPD) will meet on Wednesday, April 5, from 9:45 a.m. — lunch , at the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor. The program for the day will include an overview of the Horizon Bible Study for 2017 — 2018. The cost of lunch is $8.00 and reservations should be made to the church office by Friday, March 31.

ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING – APRIL 9

“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!

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, April 9 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 13 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 16 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.

CHILDREN IN WORSHIP: HOLY WEEK

Children and youth learn to worship by being in worship. Even when they don't understand everything that goes on, even when they don't seem to be paying close attention, they are learning. Sitting with a parent, grandparent or other nurturing adult, they deepen their relationship with the congregation, they begin to understand themselves as part of a faith community, and with the faith tradition.

Holy Week is a great opportunity for children and youth to participate in worship. On Palm/Passion Sunday, we begin worship with a “parade” as we re-enact Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. We encourage parents and kids and everyone who is physically able to gather in the rear of the sanctuary before worship to join the procession. We will shout “Hosanna!” and wave our palm branches as we enter the sanctuary. The younger children will leave to go to childcare after the anthem.

Our celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday is very festive, and children need to experience the joyful hymns and responses. There will be a special time with children, with a simple Easter gift, before younger children leave to go to childcare. Worship ends with very festive “Hallelujahs,” and we encourage childcare workers to bring the children back to worship in time to enjoy it.

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.

Our plans are to feature handmade goods, antique items, and art items. Further, if you can donate gift cards for restaurants and movie theatres or tickets for entertainment events — 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!

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN
BIRTHDAY OFFERING

Though the Birthday offering was begun to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the auxiliary (now Presbyterian Women), the idea of giving to a specific mission project each year caught on. Since then, the Birthday Offering has helped launch nearly 100 major mission projects that continue to improve the lives of women and children around the world today. The 2017 Birthday Offering Recipients are the following:

  • First-Hand Aid's Rural Clinic Development Initiative, which provides health care to people living in rural communities in Cuba
  • Family Justice Center of Georgetown and Horry Counties' Safe Haven for Victims of Domestic Violence (South Carolina), which will provide shelter for victims of domestic violence
  • Paper for Water's Navajo Water Project, which will install water systems for households without running water in New Mexico.

The scripture chosen to help in understanding the birthday offering is this: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” –Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV). The actual grant amounts will depend on gifts contributed during 2017. Please give as you have been blessed, generously and as led by the Holy Spirit to support these life-changing projects.

Littlefield will be collecting for this offering on a Sunday in April during the worship service.

MEN'S STUDY GROUP

The Men's Group will meet on Monday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m. for dinner, followed by the study. The group will continue their study from the Being Reformed series, The Church and Politics, Session Three, “Politics American Style.” All men are invited to join the men for dinner and the study.

WYCLIFFE BANQUET

Would you like to learn more about Bible translation? If so, please plan on attending the Wycliffe Associates banquet on Thursday, April 27 . It will be at the Management Education Center, Michigan State University, 811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. with dinner at 7:00 p.m. Opportunities will be available to make a one-time offering and/or recurring gift which supports the special projects presented at the banquet. For reservations, contact the church office by Sunday, April 23.

THE PW 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.

HEALTHY WOMEN HEALTHY
FAMILIES MOTHER'S DAY
PROJECT 2017

The Healthy Women Healthy Families Mother's Day Project is a mission activity that Presbyterians have generously supported since 2001. The Mother's Day project has expanded beyond the four African countries that were originally supported to include a range of partners around the world. Your donations to Healthy Women Healthy Families through the Mother's Day Project will empower women and protect children by supporting vital programs and services such as prenatal care, primary education, food security initiatives and trauma healing.

Special Mother's Day cards will be available again this year in exchange for donations to the Healthy Women Healthy Families Mother's Day Project. This year's cards feature a photo of an Iraqi refugee mother and daughter as they approach the border crossing into Croatia. Cards will be available at the PW Spring Tea on April 29 and in the library during Coffee Hour on April 16, 23, 30 and May 1, or by contacting the church office.

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14.

CENTS-ABILITY OFFERING

We will be collecting our second Cents- Ability (Two Cents/Meal) offering for 2017 on Sunday, May 14. It will have been 91 days since our last collection, and at 2 cents/meal for three meals/day the total amount per person will be $5.46. Realizing that many of us eat more than 3 times/day and that food prices have increased, donations of any amount are welcome. Our portion of this offering will go to the summer food program at the Second Mile Center.

SAVE THE DATE:

Music Fundraiser Concert
Wednesday, May 24 @ 7:00 p.m.

There will be more details in the May edition of the newsletter.

CHURCH LIBRARY WORK DAY

The Worship and Christian Education Committee, with our church librarian, are planning to do some updating in our library. If you would like to help us, we are planning a work day in the library for some time after Easter. Please let the church office know if you are interested and we'll plan a date convenient for those who wish to come. We hope to go through the shelves and discard some out-of-date books to make room for some new ones.

DID YOU KNOW…?

Some people who have missed a Sunday or just like to ponder some idea they heard in the sermon have shared they enjoy listening to it again or reading it. You can listen to Littlefield sermons at www.littlefieldchurch.org/sermons.html. While you're there, you may want to check out the rest of the website. If you prefer to read Fran's sermons, you can find them at the blog, at revfranmusings.blogspot.com/2016/03/ idle-talk-or-gospel-truth-sermon.html. A link to the most recent sermon is posted at the Littlefield Facebook page. Or you can sign up to follow the blog and have posts emailed to you.

FORWARD IN MISSION

Some of us have been talking about new mission possibilities, focused on ways to address hunger. So, we have been working on gathering information on where the greatest needs are and thinking about ways we could make a difference. A concern some of us have had is making sure that we ask community leaders what they see as the greatest needs and to learn what we can from groups that have food programs. We also are concerned that we have enough people and resources for whatever we do to be sustainable.

With this in mind, we visited the Helping Hands food pantry at Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church March 29. They distribute bags of nonperishable food items every Wednesday. They have support from several other west Dearborn congregations, and they have around 20 volunteers.

We have also had a conversation with the principal of McDonald Elementary School, which is a block from Littlefield. We have had a relationship with McDonald School for many years. We learned that they have a very high poverty rate at McDonald School, with 91% of the students in the poverty range. They have a number of families who came as refugees but no longer receive assistance through refugee programs and are struggling.

We have people who would like to visit Zaman International, ACCESS, and possibly Focus Hope, to learn more about their missions. We are also gathering information about the “Blessings in a Backpack” weekend food program. If you would like to be a part of these near future visits, please contact the church office to let us know.

Following our visit to Cherry Hill, we were enthusiastically talking about possible partners who could work with us to help those in need. When we have gathered enough information, we will have a meeting to discern what God is calling us to do.

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.