MINISTER – FRAN HAYES

There's a hymn in our Glory to God hymnal that asks, “What is the world like when God's will is done?” That's something I've been thinking and praying 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 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 us. God loves the world. God calls us to work as partners, to work together to bring in the kingdom of God.

Our Lenten disciplines encourage us to put our inner faith and spiritual practice into action that embodies God's love and mercy for the world. As part of our Lenten discipline, I hope we will all commit ourselves to read or watch the news, to keep a list of the news stories that touch our hearts, and then to pray that we will recognize God's presence and challenge in these situations.

Since Ash Wednesday, I've been grieving the loss of seventeen lives in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I believe these acts of violence break God's heart, and I believe it's heartbreaking how we continue to let these massacres happen. When I meditate on the stories of how some of those who died laid down their lives to save others, I am reminded of what Jesus said to his disciples: “Greater love has no one than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). I give thanks for their sacrifice. I give thanks for how young survivors of the shooting in Parkland and young people around the nation are finding their voice, insisting on the right to be safe from gun violence, and committing to work for change.

2017 was the deadliest year of mass shootings in the United States--so far. And it will happen again and again unless we repent and commit ourselves to change. As individuals and as a nation, we need to repent of our ways. We need to turn away from sin, including the idolatry of trusting in false gods like money, power, or in weapons we hope will keep us safe. I hope that we will repent of offering “thoughts and prayers” that cost us nothing, and that we will commit ourselves to seeking real answers to the fears that lead to violence.

The season of Lent invites us to 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 gives 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 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 all grow as disciples and as a community of faith. May we live more and more fully into “a new world where God's will is done.”

Peace…Shalom…Salam.

SCRIPTURE READINGS
(Based on Revised Common Lectionary)

March 4
Hebrew Scripture-Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
Epistle Lesson-1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Gospel Lesson-John 2:13-22

March 11
Hebrew Scripture-Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Epistle Lesson-Ephesians 2:1-10
Gospel Lesson-John 3:14-21

March 18
Hebrew Scripture–Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:1-12 or Psalm 119:9-16
Epistle Lesson-Hebrews 5:5-10
Gospel Lesson-John 12:20-33

March 25 Palm Sunday
Hebrew Scripture-Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16 or 118:1-2, 19-29
Epistle Lesson-Philippians 2:5-11
Gospel Lesson- Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16
  or Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-47

PRAYER MINISTRY

PASS IT ON
My father served in the army during World War II and came home when I was seven. He passed away of a sudden heart attack when I was 15. I never knew him well. I lived in a family largely made up of women. While of good heart and intentions, they were unable to provide male guidance for a teenage boy.

I was fortunate to have a scoutmaster who recognized the problem and stepped in. He invited me to spend weekends with his family at their lake home, and he was always available if I had a question or a problem to discuss. I suspect that the reason he recognized my situation so well was that his father also had died young. He knew the problems I faced. He never preached to me, but he set an example that I could choose to follow.

Years later, I realized what he had done for me and asked what I could do to repay him. He replied simply, “Pass it on.” Since then, I have served as a scout leader, and a coach, and in other activities in which I could offer young people a positive, loving example.

I believe that this is part of the message of Christ. We can't pay him back for what he has done for us, but we can show our gratitude by passing on Christ's love and doing good for others.
— Kenneth E. Hill


PRAYER
God, show us how to love as you have loved us in Jesus Christ. Amen.
—Kenneth E. Hill


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
How can I pass on the love of Jesus Christ?
—Kenneth E. Hill

TOUR & SERVICE DAY AT ZAMAN INTERNATIONAL
26091 Trowbridge
Inkster, MI 48141

Saturday, March 3
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Mission & Outreach Team invites you to join us as we put God's word into action. We'll get a tour of Zaman International and learn about all the services they provide locally and globally. Then we'll have the opportunity to lend a hand either in their food pantry or warehouse. Families welcome. Please rsvp to the church office.

MARY CIRCLE - MARCH 5

This month's Mary Circle is March 5 at 7:30 p.m. The study will cover Lesson 6 from the Cloud of Witnesses study. If you are interested in this circle, please contact the church office. All women of the church are welcome!

TAIZE WORSHIP SERVICE
Tuesday, March 6 @ 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!

EVANGELISM & MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE

On Wednesday, February 7, the Engage! Book Group met to discuss Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor. During the hour-long discussion time, our group of twelve people explored issues focusing on racism and incarceration in America.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, April 18. We will discuss Octavia Butler's work of fiction, Kindred. In Kindred, the main character, a black woman named Dana, is transported back in time to an ante-bellum plantation in the South. In a creative play between present and past, the reality of the slave condition is brought to life. Reviewing Kindred, Sam Frank of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner states: "One cannot finish Kindred without feeling changed. It is a shattering work of art with much to say about love, hate, slavery, and racial dilemmas, then and now."

Due to heavy snow and raining ice, we cancelled our February 11 trip to the Arab- American National Museum in Dearborn. However, we have rescheduled it for Sunday, March 11, at 3:00 p.m. March 11 is the last day the museum will offer the special exhibit entitled “Them: Objects of Separation, Hatred and Violence.” As described by the museum: “This temporary exhibition explores artifacts and images from the early 20th century to present day that reflect and encourage separation, hate and violence. These items, even those sometimes excused as “harmless fun,” foster prejudice and discrimination. Created by the Jim Crow Museum for Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University and expanded in conjunction with AANM, this exhibition exposes the prevalence of stereotyping in our society and helps visitors resist these messages.” The museum is located on Michigan Avenue one block west of Schaefer Rd. We will meet at the museum at 3:00 p.m. Afterwards, we will gather for dinner at a local restaurant.

Our Lenten Book Study began on Tuesday, February 20, and will continue each Tuesday until March 20. We begin with a simple soup and salad meal at 6:15 p.m. followed by the book discussion at 7:00 p.m. This year we are reading Always with Us? What Jesus Really Said about the Poor by Liz Theoharis, an ordained PC(USA) minister. In light of the fact that this is the 50th anniversary of the Poor People's Campaign, our PC(USA) Moderators are recommending the whole church should read this book in 2018. Even if you have missed the early weeks of this study, we encourage you to come and join the discussion about poverty and our call to be present for the poor amongst us.

We are continuing to work on updating our Church directory. Our goal is to have this project completed by Easter.

Feather Bowlersómark your calendars! We will be making our Annual Feather Bowling Trip to the Cadieux Cafe in Detroit on Sunday, April 15. 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.

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 13. The price is still $12.00. 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 in the Presbytery of Detroit will gather for their annual retreat on Saturday, March 24, from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Dearborn. This year's theme is “I am His” and the keynote speaker will be Renee Warman. Some of you may remember Renee leading us in devotions and interactive exercises at past Cluster Gatherings. The cost of the all-day retreat is $30.00 and includes morning coffee, a hymn sing, keynote speaker, lunch and small group activities. Always a time of fun, sisterhood and spiritual renewal. There are more details and registration forms on the Library table or in the February issue of the PRISM.

ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING

In 1946, in an effort to provide aid and relief from the devastation of World War II, Presiding Bishop Henry Knox Sherrill of the Episcopal Church set a goal for Protestant churches to raise one million dollars a year for World Relief. He got on national radio and urged members to raise "one million dollars in one hour." Well, I'm not sure how close he actually got to that ambitious goal in that hour, but Episcopalians did raise $3.8 million in the first three years.

The annual offering ended up taking on the name "One Great Hour of Sharing," and it is supported by anywhere from eight to twenty-nine different denominations, including Presbyterian Church (USA). Its collection of $20 million a year is a testament to the great work Christians can do when we unite for a common goal.

The 3 goals of this offering are: 1) Restoring Hope, 2) Reducing Hunger and 3) Partnering in Progress. Your contributions help people in over 100 countries (including the US and Canada) who are recovering from natural or human-caused disasters. Your contributions help initiate and support sustainable food systems to bring people out of poverty. Your contributions provide education and resources to the oppressed and disadvantaged, empowering them to overcome injustices.

We are collecting this offering now and until April 1, Easter Sunday. Thank you for your contributions to Restore Hope, Reduce Hunger and Partner in Progress.

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 25 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 29 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 1 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.

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE HYGIENE KITS

The Presbyterian Women will be collecting Hygiene Kits for Church World Service (CWS) this spring. 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. In 2017, more than 132,000 Hygiene Kits were shipped to Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Cuba in response to the hurricanes. Kit collection will begin on March 11 and kits must be returned to the church and placed in the library no later than Sunday, April 15. If you are unable to shop and prepare kits, you can donate money for their shipment overseas ($2 processing fee per kit). Please make your checks out to “Church World Service Kit Program.” For more information visit www.cwskits.org.

Hygiene Kit contents:

  • 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 (available at beauty supply stores)
  • One fingernail or toenail clipper removed from the package
  • One bath-size bar of soap in the original package
  • One toothbrush in the original package
  • Ten standard size Band-Aids

All items need to fit inside a one-gallon plastic zipper closure bag. We will provide bags and a list of kit contents on the display table in the library. Last year we collected 29 kits. Can we increase that number this year?

CALLING ALL FEATHER BOWLERS
SUNDAY, APRIL 15

Save the date for our annual Feather Bowling outing. The big event is scheduled for Sunday, April 15, 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.

THE PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN'S SPRING TEA

Although we are just beginning Lent, spring is around the corner and you know what that means…The Presbyterian Women's Annual Spring Tea! This has been a favorite fund-raiser for our mission giving for many years now. This year we will transform our church lounge into a warm and inviting Victorian Tea Room on Saturday, May 12. Details for our program are still being firmed up, but you will want to save the date since we have only limited seating for our guests. Everyone will enjoy a variety of teas, scones, sweets and the opportunity to be entertained. Tickets will still be $15.00 and available in April.

Our Silent Auction is being replaced by a marketplace for the discerning shopper. So, we will still need some goods donated. If you think you may have a season ticket or two for the symphony, theatre, or any special event, we might be interested. And, if you have handmade items such as soaps, cards, jewelry or fabric items, we might be interested. Think about it and we will be supplying more details about how and to whom you may make these donations.

We will have some retail vendors donating some lovely items of textiles, teas and such.

Save the date, May 12, talk to your friends and plan to come and take a trip through time while supporting the important mission work of our Presbyterian Women.

HUNGER MINISTRY

Littlefield Church has acted out its call to Mission Outreach in many ways. One of those ways is to provide food to those that are in need, and the church uses a variety of avenues to try to accomplish this never- ending task.

Through the Mission Outreach Team (formerly Church and Society), $400 is allocated directly to Hunger Ministry. Through our budget process, $3,500 was given through the Shared Giving Mission Commitment line items to support the Church of the Presbytery, Synod, and the General Assembly. Also, we budget $600 for Community Mission, which was given in 2017 to support: SOCH (South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless); Fort Street Open Door; Littlefield In As Much Fund; and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. These organizations provide food, clothing, shelter, clean-up services, etc. to those in need.

Littlefield has other opportunities, for those that feel called, that can be seen through our financial statements. The lines directly related to hunger ministry are: Blessings in a Backpack ($1,575); Cents- Ability offering ($729); Bread for the World ($105); and Presbyterian Hunger Program ($100). Other line items that include multiple services given to those in need are: One Great Hour of Sharing ($600); Pentecost Offering ($220); Presbyterian Disaster Assistance ($820); and the Men's Group and Minister's Discretionary (Honorarium) Fund (combined=$516).

Also, a small food pantry is maintained in the building that is stocked with volunteer donations of ready-to-eat foods; about $300 was donated for the Thanksgiving Dinner at Westminster Presbyterian Church by various church members; volunteer hours were given to Westminster, Fort Street Open Door, Gleaners, and Zaman International; and all the various programs and events that the Presbyterian Women organize.

Hunger is an ongoing need and we welcome all ideas to help us further assist in this outreach.

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.

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.