VOLUME 2, NUMBER 17, MARCH 20, 2011
For a while I've felt that our choice of which feasts to celebrate is slightly (just slightly) out of balance. As an Anglo-Catholic I am especially aware of our neglect of those feasts that give us opportunity to honor the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in God's plan of salvation. The Annunciation is one of those feasts. Though certainly a Feast of Our Lord as the Prayer Book calls it, the Annunciation also celebrates our Blessed Mother's response to God's call through the angel Gabriel—a very different response from a very different young woman to the call of a very different angel than we read about in Genesis 3.
One day I would love to celebrate feasts like the Annunciation (and the Visitation and the feast day of Saint Mary the Virgin—traditionally called the Assumption or the Dormition—and a few others) on their actual days with a Solemn Mass. We're not at a place to do that yet. BUT, we have a priest and we have scripture and we have bread and wine and we have Prayer Books, and we love God, so we can have at least a simple celebration of this feast. This Friday Grace Church will offer a Said Mass at 9am to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. I know many of you work and so can't make it (though if you are in the city, you can probably find a noonday Mass on Friday), but those of you who can, consider letting go of the Lenten abstinence and celebrating this great feast in a simple way with me this Friday, worshiping God and honoring Mary.
No flowers during lent... This is just a reminder that, in keeping with the austerity of the season, there are no flowers at the altar or the shrine during Lent, except for the fourth Sunday (Laetare or Rejoice or Rose Sunday). For those of you who really miss them, have no fear—weíll more than make up for it at Easter.
WAY OF THE CROSS... On each of the Fridays in Lent (except this Friday, March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation) Grace Church will walk the Way of the Cross at 6 PM. The Way (or Stations) of the Cross is a Lenten devotion that has roots all the way back to pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the early centuries of the Church and evolved over the centuries, only reached its current form in about the 18th century. We will use our stations and the liturgical text provide in the Episcopal Churchís Book of Occasional Services. Those whoíve walked the Way of the Cross know its simple power and we invite you to walk it again. If you havenít, consider adding this devotion to your Lenten devotions this year.
WESTWOOD HERITAGE DAY... Grace Church will be participating in Westwood Heritage Day on Sunday May 22nd. This is a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community.WE NEED VOLUNTEERS. Please talk to debbi about volunteering for set-up, clean-up, and/or manning the table for some period of time. WE ALSO NEED DONATIONS. Please bring new items we can sell at the table to raise money. You can bring your donations in at any time from now until May 21st and give them to debbi. Any questions, please email or call Debbi. THANKS!!!
ADULT FORUM... The Rector continues a multipart series on Islam—one of the three great religions (along with Judaism and Christianity) of the descendents of Abraham.
LENTEN SERIES... The Lenten Series continues this Thursday evening at 6pm. This year Grace Church will pray Evening Prayer followed by a time of contemplative prayer. Then a simple Lenten supper will be served with discussion about the everyday spiritual practices of Listening, Praising, Eating, Working, Hoping.
ANNUNCIATION MASS... This Friday, March 25, is nine months before Christmas and on that day the Church celebrates the Annunciation of Our Lord—the day when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son and should name him Jesus. This major feast is the one day the Prayer Book dispenses the Lenten abstinence. On that day Grace Church will offer a simple said Mass at 9am. If you are able, come and celebrate the feast, dispense with the fast and anticipate even in Lent the coming of the Lord in the flesh on Christmas Day.
DONATING TO FOOD FOR FRIENDS AS A LENTEN DISCIPLINE... Almsgiving is a traditional Christian penitential practice and Food for Friends provides a way one can throughout Lent participate in that practice. During the week, buy some canned or packaged food and bring it to church on Sunday to leave in the food barrel. Perhaps you have given up some item for Lent you bought regularly. Why not use the money you would have spent, or a part of it, to purchase your alms for the food barrel? We all know that these are hard times, but here are some statistics from the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York City. In January they reported that they are serving an average of 1,250 meals each weekday, with operating costs of approximately $50,000 each week. In addition, they report that the New York City Coalition Against Hunger reports demand at NYC soup kitchens and food pantries has increased by 29% since 2008. We may expect that St. Paulís Community Development Corporation Food Pantry in Paterson, which receives our donations, has seen a comparable increase. St. Paulís especially welcomes high protein items, such as beans and canned meats. Otherwise, their wish list asks specifically for tuna, cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may be drawn in favor of St. Paul's Community Development Corporation and marked Food Pantry. Please send checks directly to St. Paulís at 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501. Please consider including this ministry as part of your Lenten discipline. Thank you.
SONGS FOR HOPE... On April 3, at 2 pm, the Friends of peace4paws will be singing in Songs of Hope, here at Grace Church. A group a Broadway singers, professional local musicians (including Living Tree), and some very talented student performers will perform in the church, followed by a reception in the Large Parish Hall. See www.peace4paws.org for more information. This fun event will help the animals of research and related fields find sanctuary. The beneficiaries are the Kindness Ranch (a sponsor of the event) and Mylestone Equine Rescue. Tickets are $20 for adults 18 or over and $15 for students and seniors ($10 for reception only) and may be purchased in advance through Westwood Pets (201 666-7111) or Watch Out Jewelers (201 358-1806).
Lent 2011 at Grace Church
Ash Wednesday—March 9
Sundays in Lent
Thursdays in Lent—March 17, 24, 31 and April 7, 14
Fridays in Lent—March 18 and April 1, 8, 15
Ministers of the Assembly
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