St. Julian's 2021 Lenten Offerings:
Dear St. Julian's Community:
Ash Wednesday, our annual call to the Observance of a Holy Lent, is Feb 17 this year. I want to mention specifically the special offerings we will be providing for this season of special devotion and preparation for entering into the joys of Easter. Though we are, indeed, making adjustments due to COVID, our intention is to offer a robust Lenten program that provides as many opportunities for spiritual growth as at anytime before. To begin, I would like to call your attention to our community's Rule of Life, which is intended to be a shared covenant for how we live together as a family of faith. These are spiritual commitments, if you will, that we ideally choose to live together to order our common life and lead us personally toward spiritual growth. The entire Rule of Life can be found at our website by clicking here.
As you note, one of the rules is that we will take advantage of the special seasons in our Church Year, Advent and Lent, to tend to our spiritual lives in an intentional way, to grow closer to God in Christ and become more and more the people and community God has created us to be. Like all relationships, if we desire to grow closer and more intimate with God, we must set time aside to be together. Lent, in particular, provides this space and exists for: a deeper relationship with God, greater awareness of ourselves, deeper friendship with each other, and to encounter and know, in a more personal way, the hope and promise of resurrection.
With this in mind, I ask that you consider taking advantage of one or more of the special offerings we will provide during this Holy Season. Please let me know if you have any questions, by clicking here, and I look forward, once again, to our shared journey to the cross...and then on to the empty tomb.
1. Lenten Swag/Supplies Drive-Thru Pick-Up, Sunday, Feb 14, 11:30 AM-12:15 PM (or during the in-person Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday, Feb 17): Please plan to pick up one of our gift bags of Lenten goodies full of tools to help your family engage more deeply in the season. Bags will include supplies for our Wednesday Evening Adult Lenten Formation Program "The Way of Love"; a box of pancake mix (since we can't gather for our annual Pancake Supper!); a fundraising opportunity for Escuelita, which serves asylum seekers on the boarder; and other activities and resources for youth and children. If you need to have your back dropped off or mailed, please email Jonathan as soon as possible.
2. Ash Wednesday, Feb 17, In-Person Imposition of Ashes, 12-1 PM, 3-4 PM, and 5:30-6:30 PM and the Ash Wednesday Liturgy on Zoom at 7 PM: We will have 3 opportunity during the day for you to come in-person to receive ashes (imposed on forehead or sprinkled over head) or a socially distanced blessing. Please park behind the church entrance and then approach an available priest under our covered parking. Then, at 7 PM, we will be offering the Ash Wednesday Liturgy with sermon and music at our regular Sunday morning service Zoom link (click here).
3. "Listening with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind" Living Compass Wellness Circle for Lent beginning Tuesday, Feb 23 (3-week Small Group): All adults are invited to join our Lenten wellness circle for sharing, growth and mutual support. The gathering will be offered twice each Tuesday for 3-weeks at 12 PM or 8 PM (Feb 23, Mar 2, and Mar 9). You are welcome to sign up for one or the other time slot as best fits your schedule. Deadline to register is Feb 19. To reserve a place (space is limited), email Erica Anderson.
4. Daily Devotional Readings for Lent: This year we will, once again, be reading together daily devotions by the Living Compass titled, "Listening with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind". Though we cannot distribute booklets, you can sign up to receive the devotions daily via email by visiting this link. You will find at that link many other Lenten resources provided by Living Compass.
5. "The Way of Love in Lent" a Parish Spiritual Formation Program, Wednesday Evenings, beginning Feb 24 at 6:30 PM: We warmly invite adults and interested teens to join us on Wednesday evenings during Lent for a 75 minute program that includes teaching, conversation and worship. The topic is "The Way of Love" developed by our National Church and our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry. The program is a way of life rooted in Christian practices and teaching with a focus on these themes: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest. The gathering will be on Zoom at our regular Wednesday Evening Christian Ed link (click here, Meeting ID 818 5681 3187). We will meet 4 Wednesdays, Feb 24-March 24 (taking off March 17 for Spring Break). Our Student and Children's Ministries will be joining us in their own exploration of "The Way of Love" at their regular weekly gatherings: Sunday mornings at 9 AM for Children and 5 PM Sunday evenings for Students grades 6 and up. Email our Children's Minister, Jennifer Cowles, for a link to our children's gathering and Jennifer Garen, our Student Minister, for a link to our gathering for our grades 6 and up. We see this Lent as an opportunity for our whole parish and all ages to work through the same themes as we "grow in relationship" and "seek intimacy with Christ" together. For questions, email Miles.
6. The Rite of Reconciliation: The Rite of Reconciliation, commonly called Confession, is a service in our Book of Common Prayer that exists for those interested in intentionally naming before God and the Church (as represented in the office of priest) our sins and receiving absolution and assurance of God's forgiveness. This service is done individually with one of our priests, at a time and place convenient for you. It will be done completely in private and please know the seal of confession is absolute. Anything mentioned during the rite will be held in complete confidence forever, and matters brought up will not ever be mentioned again unless you desire further counsel or conversation. Due to COVID, we will be offering this rite via a private Zoom this year. To schedule a time for this, please contact either of our clergy Miles or Jonathan.
7. Holy Week Services, March 28-April 4: Palm Sunday (March 28), 9 AM (in-person) and 11 AM (fully online) with the Liturgy of the Palms, a dramatic reading of Jesus' Passion, sermon, special music, and Holy Communion (at 9 AM only). Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday (March 29-31), 6:30 PM with reflections and Holy Communion (in-person and streamed online). Maundy Thursday (April 1), 6:30 PM with Foot-Washing, sermon, special music, and the Stripping of the Altar (fully online). Good Friday (April 2), 12:00 PM with the Good Friday Liturgy, sermon, and the Veneration of the Cross (one service in-person and streamed online). Easter Sunday (April 4), 7 and 9 AM (in-person) and 11 AM (fully online), with the Flowering of the Cross, special music, sermon, and Holy Communion (at 7 and 9 AM only). Please note, the schedule above is based on assumptions about the COVID situation in our community and is all subject to change. We will be communicating Holy Week and Easter plans as they evolve throughout Lent. This includes our annual Easter Celebration and Egg Hunt on Holy Saturday (April 3). All online service will be at our regular Sunday morning service Zoom link (here).
8. Home Communions and Baptisms in the Easter Season: As during the Advent and Christmas Seasons, we are committed to providing the sacraments to all who desire them, whether or not we have resumed limited size, in-person worship between now and Easter. If you are interested in exploring Baptism for yourself or one of your children or scheduling an outdoor Communion service at your home (10 or fewer people present and masks required), please email Jonathan to schedule or begin a conversation about either.
And a final word about fasting during Lent, there are two fast days in the Episcopal Church: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This traditionally means abstaining from food or food and drink from sun-up to sun-down on these two days. Other expressions of fasting during Lent take the form of "giving something up" from Facebook, to sodas, to just about anything. I think fasting is a wonderful spiritual discipline but want to perhaps give the tradition some context. If you choose to fast from something this Lent, it is to name God as the center of our lives rather than the other things we enjoy, use and consume. We fast to make space for something else that grows us closer to God and other people. We fast because the hunger or desire experienced call us into prayer. Lastly, we fast because when we are missing something from food to things, we are reminded of those who truly do not have enough...and are perhaps moved to do something about it.
As you can see, despite the continuing challenges caused by the pandemic, there are many offerings to deepen our walk with God in Christ during this Holy Season of growth and preparation. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in making this a meaningful experience for you, and I look forward to our shared journey. It continues to be a tremendous blessing to share ministry with each of you.
Peace and Warm Friendship,
Vicar, St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church