Mardi Gras Party on March 3
The saints will go marching in again on March 3, this year’s Mardi Gras Sunday! Plan to stay after worship on that day to celebrate Mardi Gras with a lunch (including the ever-popular King Cake), Mardi Gras bingo, and our traditional game of Hot Potato that determines this year’s Mardi Gras king or queen. This is a family-friendly celebration, and everyone is welcome!
Lenten Worship Services
Lent is a time to examine our lives and pray for the transformation that is only possible through Christ; and Pastor Lynn’s sermon each week will focus on someone who came to Jesus for help.
Weekly topics during Lent will be:
- March 10 – from guilt to freedom; the Sacrament of Holy Communion will be observed
- March 17 – from selfishness to generosity
- March 24 – from legalism to compassion
- March 31 – from brokenness to health: a service of healing
- April 7 – from isolation to fellowship
- April 14 (Palm Sunday) – from fear to courage
This year’s service of healing will be held on Sunday, March 31. On that day, Pastor
Lynn’s message will focus on health, and a service of anointing will be held so that anyone can receive healing oil on their own behalf or on behalf of someone else.
Ash Wednesday Service at Polk Grove UCC
This year’s Ash Wednesday service will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 at Polk Grove UCC where Pastor Lynn will be preaching on “Spring Cleaning.” An imposition of ashes will be observed. If you are not able to join us in worship that evening, Pastor Janice will be offering ashes during the day upon request. (See her article elsewhere in the newsletter.)
Our Next Study: Minor letters of the New Testament
The Tuesday afternoon Bible study is finishing their study of how to discuss difficult issues. Their next study will center on the minor letters of the New Testament: I and II Peter, I – 3 John, and Jude. This is a great time to join the group which meets at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons at the church! Everyone is welcome to attend.
One Great Hour of Sharing offering
On Sunday, March 24, we will receive the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. This is one of the Five for Five UCC offerings, and the oldest one of the five. It was begun in 1950 to help with relief efforts after the Second World War. It was an ecumenical project from its beginning. Currently, eight denominations join in global relief efforts through their donations: American Baptist Churches USA, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Church of the Brethren, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ, and Church World Service. 62% of UCC donations support international humanitarian and development needs around the world, while the remaining donations are used here in the U.S. Of every dollar given to OGHS, 95 cents go directly to mission work, while only 5 cents are used for interpretive materials. This year’s theme is “More than we can imagine!” Your donations help make life better than they ever imagined it could be for people in underdeveloped countries, survivors of disasters, and refugees. Your donations really do make a difference!
A NOTE FROM PASTOR JAN
On Ash Wednesday, March 6, I will be offering imposition of ashes for those who are homebound or who otherwise cannot attend the evening Ash Wednesday service. If you wish for me to come to your home during the day on Ash Wednesday so that you can receive ashes as a way to begin your Lenten journey, please call me no later than Sunday, March 3 to get on the list. I will create an itinerary and get back to you with an approximate time of arrival. Nashville UCC offered this home service for the first time last year. I went to four different locations to provide ashes to six people. Recipients appreciated being able to share in this special part of our walk in faith that joins us with Christians around the globe and through the ages as we begin Lent. They found it to be powerful and moving. So did I. If you have questions or want to sign up for this year, please contact me.
Pastor Janice Kemp
Fellowship & Support Groups considered
The Congregational Support Team has been thinking about starting a few small groups within the church for fellowship and mutual support. Each group would include 6-8 people, and would meet where and when they choose. The group could be for the purpose of prayer, Bible study, or just to be social. After Easter, we will hold an informal meeting to find out whether or not folks are interested in doing this. Be thinking about it between now and then! Specific plans will be announced later.
Sharing the Message of God’s Love
On Saturday, April 20, the day before Easter, the Congregational Support Team will be taking Easter baskets to our home-bound members. They will also be taking a little bit of Easter worship to them by singing Easter songs interspersed with scripture readings by Pastor Lynn. They will meet at 10 a.m. at the church and visit the folks in the Troy area in the morning. Then after a light soup and sandwich lunch at the church, they will visit the folks in the Dayton area. They would love to have a large group to visit all of our home-bound folks, so consider joining in! Come in the morning, the afternoon, or both. I guarantee that it will be a memorable experience for you, as well as for those we visit. Put it on your calendar now!
Why do we use ashes on Ash Wednesday?
For that matter, why is the day called “Ash Wednesday” instead of “the beginning of Lent Wednesday”? Ashes bring to mind at least three things as the season of Lent begins. (1) Ashes symbolize our own mortal limits. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” are the traditional words that are said when human remains are interred. There is an immortal God, and it isn’t us! (2) Ashes are a traditional symbol of repentance. During Lent, we recognize again our need to repent, confess our sins, and return to God. (3) Ashes also symbolize cleansing and renewal, since they were used in the ancient world when soap was not available. Lent is the time for Christians to be intentional about renewing their lives through Christ. Traditionally, the ashes that are used on Ash Wednesday come from burning the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration.
Applications are now being accepted for the Nashville UCC Scholarship. Guidelines and application forms are available in the church office. Applications need to be completed and returned to the church office by May 1.