The Messenger

February 1997

From the Rector.....

Dear Friends,

Lent is a time to look again, look at and participate in God's saving grace, look intentionally at the profusion of means God uses to call us into a right relationship with God. The church has great traditions to help us

Prayer: Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, these are traditions we will all participate in. But there are others which we may choose to contemplate individually. I suggest that for each Sunday Eucharist we enter the church fifteen minutes early, and refraining from any talking. We take our seat for a period of silent meditation. Use this time as preparation for entering into The Great Thanksgiving, the Eucharist. Each Thursday evening we will pray Evening Prayer. On Maundy Thursday evening I ask you to watch one hour with Jesus in a night-long prayer vigil. Confession -- taking a serious inventory of your Christian life and receiving absolution and spiritual counsel. And, most importantly, daily prayer. Use the "Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families" in the prayer book or on the cards which I will be happy to provide for you. Offer up to God your thanksgivings and your personal needs as well as the needs of the world. Pray for the people of Rwanda, the Middle East, Bosnia, and our own country.

Study: Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find a listing of the Thursday evening Lenten series. In addition to this series, the Sunday morning adult education hour during Lent will explore the biblical foundations of Handel's Messiah. All are welcome to come.

Fasting: The time-honored tradition of fasting during Lent is as valid today as it has ever been. Fasting is the act of putting nothing -- not even food -- between yourself and God. You may eat simpler meals on Thursdays and Fridays during Lent, and families could instruct children about the reasons for the simpler food. The hunger we may feel will remind us of those millions throughout the world who go hungry every day. The money we save by fasting may be collected and given to a worthy outreach effort like the SICM food pantry, the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief, or the United Thank Offering. This hunger also reminds us of our hunger for God.

These are only three of the traditions of the Church. There are many others that you may wish to pause and contemplate. They can show us many things about life. They can work many changes in our understanding and vision if we allow them to. Lent is a time to look again at the works of God's saving Grace, and in that looking, be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Wishing you a holy Lent,

James

TRANSEPT TRIVIA FOR LENT

1. There are only two fast days in our Church Calendar. What are they?

2. Why do we call Sundays following Ash Wednesday Sundays in Lent rather than Sundays of Lent?

3. In addition to replacing the Gloria in excelsis with the Kyrie during Lent, there is a word noticeably absent from hymns and the liturgy during Lent. What is it?

4. Satan presents Our Lord with three temptations in the wilderness. What are they?

5. What did the word Lent originally mean?

6. The Prayer Book forbids the celebration of the Eucharist on what days?

7. How many churches in our diocese are named for the "red-letter" saint whose feast day falls in March?

(answers found at the end of this page)

Sunday Morning Adult Education

HALLELUJAH: The Bible and Handel's Messiah

As a sequel to our Advent study Richey Woodzell and Allison De Kanel will lead the Sunday Morning Adult Education hour in a biblical study that explores the Scriptural texts of Handel's Messiah and includes musical commentary. The classes will meet on Sunday morning beginning at 9:00 am and last until 10:00 am in the parish hall. Participants are asked to bring their Bibles to each class.

The schedule is as follows:

Feb. 16 - Behold the Lamb of God

Feb. 23 - He Trusted in God

Mar. 2 - Who is the King of Glory?

Mar. 9 - I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

Mar. 16 - Who Do the Nations Rage?

Mar. 23 - Hallelujah, Worthy Is the Lamb, Amen.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN LENT

Thursday Evenings: We begin the evening with Evening Prayer in the church at 5:30. After the service we gather in the parish hall for a light supper: hot soup and beverages will be provided and can be supplemented with a sandwich from home. Finally, at around 6:45 we gather in the library for our lenten study series.

Lenten Study Series: Our study this year deals with temptation as an invitation to spiritual development.

Many of us who have recognized Christ's call to follow him do not feel that we are making much progress in the religious life. This course will explore the possibility that temptations, faced rather than feared, can be the starting point for spiritual growth and changed lives. Each session will begin with a video of Princeton Seminary Professor Diogenes Allen exploring the temptations which constantly challenge us. The second half of each session will be a discussion of the concrete ways to sustain our spiritual journeys as we struggle with life's profound, seductive temptations.

Thursday Mornings: For many, the season of Lent is a period of healing - -spiritually, emotionally, relationally and physically. The Sacrament of Healing is offered as a part of the Eucharist at 10 am. Persons wishing to receive this Sacrament are invited to stay at the altar rail after receiving the wine. It involves the Laying on of Hands and Anointing with Holy Oil of Unction.

After the service we will gather in the rector's study for a bible study based on the following Sunday's scripture readings.

Sunday Eucharists in Lent: The prayerbook gives many liturgical observances that are especially appropriate for Lent. Each Sunday in Lent will begin with the "Penitential Order" (p. 319) which includes a confession of sin.

Fridays in Lent: Stations of the Cross: a 'Station' is any place in the church where, during a solemn procession, there is pause for a prayer. During Lent there is a practice in which fourteen 'stations' are visited in turn, with a pause for a reading, a versicle and response, a prayer, and a time for meditation. In this case, the 'stations' are fourteen pictures depicting incidents in the narrative of Christ's passion, from Pilate's house to the entombment. These pictures will be placed around the church on Fridays and booklets which lead the participant through each station can be found on the table in the back of the church. The church and chapel will be open each Friday from 9 am to 9 pm.

Lent affords us a good opportunity to explore areas of our liturgical tradition that are not widely used in our church.

SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE SUPPER

Don't miss the traditional Pancake Supper at St. Stephen's marking the last time for festivities before Lent begins, on Tuesday, February 11th!

Menu includes pancakes, sausages and a beverage. The price includes all you can eat!

Bring your family, your friends and your appetite! Volunteers are needed to help cook, serve and clean up.

BRING YOUR PALMS FROM 1996 PALM SUNDAY TO BE BURNED FOR ASH WEDNESDAY. THANK YOU......

THANK YOU.....
THANK YOU.....

....to Martha Nicholson for making the baptismal smocks for our newest member on January 5th

....to ICHTHUS who made over 100 sub sandwiches for their fundraiser on January 26

....to all who submitted reports for the Annual Meeting

...George Horch and Pauline Northrop who plowed through so many numbers in preparing our Parochial Report for the national church

....to the Adult Choir who not only make beautiful music for us, but also made us proud in representing us at the choir festival at the Cathedral

WHAT A PARISH!

ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES

Ash Wednesday is February 12th with the Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist as follows:

7:00 a.m.
12:30
7:30 p.m.
Services will be held at various times so that each Christian can observe the beginning of this penitential period which leads us into our celebration on Easter Day. Barring illness, every Christian certainly will be in church on Ash Wednesday to begin his/her disciplined preparation for a meaningful celebration of Easter.

CONFESSION

Making a confession in preparation for Easter is a long-standing tradition for many in the Church. This is an individual confession to a priest. The service of Reconciliation of a Penitent in the Book of Common Prayer provides an excellent form for personal self- examination, confession and reception of God's forgiveness. If anyone is interested in participating in this rite as we move toward Easter, please feel free to contact the rector. A short brochure describing this sacrament can be found on the Welcome Table in the parish hall.

Answers for TRANSEPT TRIVIA FOR LENT

1. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (BCP p. 17).

2. All Sundays are celebrations of the Resurrection and cannot be penitential days. They are not part of the "40 Days of Lent".

3. Alleluia

4. To make stones into bread; to throw Himself from the pinnacle of the temple and be saved by angels; and to rule over the kingdoms of this world.

5. Spring; the verb 'lengthen' also comes from the same root, since in Spring, the days lengthen once again.

6. Good Friday and Holy Saturday (BCP pp. 275, 282, 283).

7. None; there are no churches named after 'Saint Joseph' in the Diocese of Albany.