Grace Notes

VOLUME 3, NUMBER 17, MARCH 18, 2012

New Life in Easter?
From the Liturgy for Ash Wednesday in The Book of Common Prayer:

This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

Lent is the season in which we prepare for Easter and for Baptism and/or the renewal of our Baptismal vows. But since we've all gone through Lent before (many times) and we've all celebrated Easter before (many times) and most everyone reading this has been baptized, we might find ourselves wondering what that actually means, or even pretty confident about who we are in our life as the Baptized.

But Lent is a time in which we can pay special attention to the kinds of questions we might be asking ourselves all of the time, like:

  • Do I actually build my life around the fact that in baptism I have died and been raised in Christ?
  • Am I defined more by my national or political or cultural or family identity, or even my allegiance to things like sports or the arts, than I am by the reality of my baptism?
  • Am I even aware that the new life of baptism frees me from the limitations and enslavement of the powers of the fallen world, including the basic assumptions and ideologies of xxx (like the idea that almost everything and everyone can be divided into categories like conservative or liberal, for example)?
  • Do I live as a baptized parishioner in good standing and yet at the same time, live Monday through Saturday by rules, standards, philosophies of life that have nothing to do with and may even be in contradiction to the new life Christ has given me?
  • Am I aware that in Baptism I have taken off the old Adam and put on the new Adam, i.e. Christ? Taken off the old man, who has died in me, and put on the new man who has come to life in me? That Christ himself actually lives in me (Galatians 2:20)? What does this really mean?
  • Is it the case that I am aware that I was baptized, but more as a historical fact than as a living reality that demands, but also makes it possible, for me to live in and see the world in a completely different way than I otherwise would?

As we move through Lent on our way to the renewal of our baptismal vows at the Great Vigil of Easter (and really, throughout our life as Christians), these are the kinds of questions we might ask ourselves—questions about identity and our faith and life in Jesus Christ.

--Father Rhodes

ADULT FORUM... The Adult Forum this week ispostponed until the Rector's return.

BLESSING OF SIMNELCAKES... Todayis Refreshment (Laetare) or Mothering Sunday—the traditional day for blessingsimnel cakes. Bring your cakes to the altar at the time of the offering so thatthey may receive the traditional blessing that day.

EASTERFLOWER MEMORIALS... Envelopes are in thenarthex for the donation of Easter Flowers. Checks may be made out the Grace Church altar Guild. The deadline for submitting names is Sunday,April 1st.

DONATING TO FOOD FOR FRIENDS AS A LENTEN DISCIPLINE... Almsgiving is a traditionalChristian penitential practice and Food for Friends provides a way one canparticipate in that practice throughout Lent. Buy some canned or packaged foodand bring it to church on Sunday. Perhaps you have given up some item for Lent.Why not use the money you would have spent, or a part of it, to purchase alms? St. Paul's Community Development Corporation Food Pantryin Paterson,which receives our donations, especially needs high protein items, such asbeans and canned meats. Otherwise, their wish list asks specifically for tuna,cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may bedrawn in favor of St. Paul'sCommunity Development Corporation and marked Food Pantry. Please send checksdirectly to St. Paul'sat 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501.Please consider including this ministry as part of your Lenten discipline.Thank you.

INTERFAITH EVENT IN HOLY WEEK... Throughoutmost of the world, the holiday we in the United States call Easter is referredto as Pascha, derived from the word "Passover," an homage to theJewish roots and history of the Easter story. The alignment of Passover andEaster in the calendar cycle, in history, and, to some extent, in theirmessages presents a unique opportunity for interfaith dialogue and learning.All are invited to attend a joint class including members and guests ofCongregation B'nai Israel in Emerson and Grace Episcopal Church in Westwood.The spiritual leaders of those communities, Rabbi Debra Orenstein and FatherRob Rhodes, will offer insights and lead a participatory discussion on Tuesday,April 3 at 7:30pm.

The Season of Lent at Grace Church

Morning Prayer 7:45 a.m.
The Holy Eucharist (Said Mass with hymns) 8:00 a.m.
The Holy Eucharist (Sung Mass with hymns) 10:00 a.m.
Coffee and Fellowship follows 10:00 a.m. Mass

Morning Prayer 9:00 a.m.
The Holy Eucharist with Holy Unction (Said Mass) ca 9:15 a.m.

March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29

Solemn Evensong and Benediction 7 p.m.
Simple Supper and Fellowship: ca 7:45 p.m.

March 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30

Way (Stations) of the Cross 6 p.m.

Ministers of the Assembly

March 18March 25
MP Officiant and LEM (8 am)Charles KeilAndy Smethurst
Lay EucharisticTom BisdaleTheresa Peter
Ministers (10 am)John SchneiderDebbi Geller
LectorChris ScottJohn Martin
Intercessor (Prayers)Liza MartinDaisy Toppin
Chief ServerDebbi GellerDebbi Geller
AcolytesWarren Hirstius Emily Thomas
Justin HirstiusLeslie Bisdale
ThuriferLeslie BisdaleBen Martin
UshersLarry ToppinMickey Hafemann
Daisy ToppinBill Hafemann
CountersAki OkunlolaJanet Delaney
Larry SundenCookie Smethurst
Altar GuildLeslie BisdaleTheresa Peter
Daisy ToppinJil Bucceroni
Coffee HourMickey HafemannDaisy Toppin
Billie EvansTheresa Okunlola