"Living Well Through Lent", St. Julian's 2019 Lenten Offerings:
Dear St. Julian's Community:
Ash Wednesday, our annual call to the Observance of a Holy Lent, is March 6 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. 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. Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, March 5 at 6:30 PM: Join us for our Shrove or Fat Tuesday Feast before beginning our Lenten fasts. Friends of all ages are warmly welcome. All proceeds will benefit our Journey to Adulthood Youth Program (Student Ministry). Suggested donation is $5 per person or $10 for a family of 2 or more.
2. Ash Wednesday Service, March 6 at 6:30 PM: The service will include special music, the Imposition of Ashes, sermon, and Holy Communion. This is an important occasion preparing us for Lent through confession and absolution, and it marks the beginning of our Lenten journey. Children's Chapel and childcare will be available.
3. A Lenten Service of Quiet Contemplation, Candlelight, and Music from Taize on the First Sunday of Lent, March 10 at 6 PM: Join us as we center ourselves for the spiritual growth and wellness we seek in the Season of Lent with this special service rooted in meditative Taize music, scripture readings, and quiet prayer. All ages are welcome and childcare will be provided.
4. Daily Devotional Readings for Lent: This year we will be providing booklets produced by the Living Compass titled, "Practicing Forgiveness With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind". The booklets provide readings for each day in Lent. Books will be available free of charge beginning the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. You can also request to receive the reflections electronically each day in Lent via email by clicking here.
5. Journey to Adulthood (grades 6 and up) Teen Wellness Circle, Sunday Evenings, 5-7 PM, Beginning March 3: This special program for our Student Ministry will meet during the regular Journey to Adulthood time and will be led by adult facilitators who are Living Compass trained and certified as Community Wellness Advocates. This six session course focuses on: Discussion of interrelatedness of eight areas of wellness; completion of a self-assessment of current wellness and balance; reflection on the valuable lessons of healthy changes; and motivation and organization for change. For questions or to reserve a space for your teen, email Jennifer Garen, St. Julian's Student Minister.
6. "The Episcopal Church's Lenten Bible Study on Race and Reconciliation", between services each Sunday morning during Lent, March 10-April 7 at 10:10 AM: This is a special Adult Lenten Christian Education Program/Bible Study on Sunday mornings lead by our Theologian in Residence, Dr. Tony Baker. As always, programs for youth, children and nursery care will coincide each Sunday morning at their regular times and rooms.
7. "Enhancing Your Well-Being with Spiritual Practices", a Wednesday Evening Lenten Program for all ages, 6:30-8 PM, March 13, March 27, April 3, and April 10 (not meeting March 20 due to Spring Break): Each evening will begin with a simple supper of soup, bread and salad followed by a 45 min teaching based on the Living Compass model for spiritual wellness. Children and youth (grades 6 and up) will have their own corresponding/age appropriate programs. Each evening will end with Compline by 8 PM sharp.
8. YogaMass™ with the Rev. Gena Davis, Sunday, March 31 at 5 PM: YogaMass™ is a unique worship experience engaging and integrating all of our dimensions -- physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. It reconnects us, through sacred ritual, practices and Holy Communion, to the divine presence among us and within us, as we seek to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. All ages are welcome and childcare will be available. No previous experience with yoga is required to participate. Gena Davis is an Episcopal priest, yoga educator, and founder of YogaMass™. She, also, is a spiritual director, meditation facilitator, retreat leader, author, and a Benedictine Oblate. For more information, email Scott, Chair of our Soul Care Ministry.
9. Contemplative Prayer, each Sunday at 3:30 PM in the Blue Room: Contemplative Prayer is describe as resting in stillness and quiet in the presence and awareness of God. Scott Beachy, Chair of our Soul Care Ministry, leads the gathering and no previous experience in contemplative prayer is needed to participate. Both the practice of contemplative prayer and the tools for entering into God's faithful presence will be taught as a part of the experience. To let us know you are coming or if you have questions, email Scott.
10. 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 forgiveness. This service is done one on one 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. For many, this experience has been described as transformative and freeing. To schedule a time for this, please contact Miles.
11. Holy Week Services, April 14-21: Palm Sunday (April 14), 9 and 11 AM with the Liturgy of the Palms, a dramatic reading of Jesus' Passion, sermon, special music, and Holy Communion. Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday (April 15-17), 6:30 PM with reflections and Holy Communion. Maundy Thursday (April 18), 6:30 PM with Foot-Washing, sermon, special music, Holy Communion, and the Stripping of the Altar. Good Friday (April 19), 12:00 PM with the Good Friday Liturgy, sermon, and the Veneration of the Cross. Holy Saturday (April 20), Easter Egg Hunt and Celebration at Cat Hollow Park, 10-11 AM (8600 O'Connor Drive, 78681). Easter Sunday (April 21), 9 and 11 AM, with the Flowering of the Cross, special music, sermon, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion.
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 or 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, 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