March Apostle

“You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts, and prepare with joy the Paschal feast; that, fervent in prayer and in works of mercy, and renewed by your Word and Sacraments, prepared for those who love you.” (BCP p.379)
   
Gracious God, humble us through the violence of your love so we are able to know and confess our sins.  We want our sins to be interesting, but, God forgive us, they are so ordinary:  envy, hatred, meanness, pride, self-centeredness, laziness, boredom, lying, lust, stinginess and so on.  You have saved us from “and so on” to be a royal people able to witness to the world that the powers that make us such ordinary sinners have been defeated.  So capture our attention with the beauty of your life that the ugliness of sin may be seen as just that-ugly.  God, how wonderful it is to be captivated by you.  Amen.  (Stanley Hauerwas)

The prayer above by Stanley Hauerwas speaks towards forgiveness and reconciliation.  Through Christ our Lord, we are a forgiven people but how are we coming to our Lord as a forgiven people?  Are we coming out of sheer desperation and for survival as the prodigal son went to his father?  Are we coming to our Lord, longing to be loved despite our known ugly sins?   Are we coming to our Lord, desiring to be renewed out of our love for each other and our love for God?   No matter how we are coming to our loving and crucified Lord, the most important part is simply the showing up.  A faithful monk and priest once was asked how he prays.  He said, “I simply go into my cell, close the door, drop to my knees, and hope for the best!”  God will always meet us where we are, ugly in sin that we are.  God’s love and forgiveness makes us beautiful.

March 1st marks the beginning of our Lenten journey together.  Lent is a particularly sacred time in our church calendar.  It is a time of self-examination, repentance, and preparation for the coming of our Risen Lord at Easter.    Whether we engage in fasting of some sort, adding a spiritual discipline, or both, I would like to invite all of us to, as Dame Julian of Norwich would put it, to come to God “naked, plainly, and homely.”  For it is in our vulnerability that we can attain divine intimacy.   It is my deep joy to walk with all of you during this season of Lent.
In the Name of our Crucified Lord,
Sarah+

DATES TO REMEMBER
 
March 19
March 25
Bishop Alan Visitation to St. Paul’s!
Chili Cook-off followed by Evensong

While Bishop Alan is here we will be celebrating and welcoming those who have been preparing to be received and confirmed from our congregation.  Please hold the following persons in prayer as they prepare to be received and confirmed:
Traci Adam
Sue Dunigan
Christine MacNally
Michelle Hardcastle
Amel Nobel
Samantha Dinatale
Theresa Regan
Bailey Regan
Seamus Regan
Caden Regan

 
The next vestry meeting is March 12th & March 19.  In between vestry meetings, feel free to contact any member of the vestry with any concerns.  (see list at the end of this newsletter.)

The Women’s Book Group will meet again on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 7PM in the French Memorial.
February book selection is A Fall of Marigolds  by Susan Meissner.
The rest of our book year will include the following:
Meeting Date
Title
Author(s)
PP
Fiction/NonFiction
Thurs. Feb 9, 2017
The Rosie Project
Graeme Simpson
295
Fiction
Tues, Mar 14, 2017
A Fall of Marigolds
Susan Meissner
370
Fiction
Thurs, Apr 20, 2017
The Train to Crystal City
Jan Jarboe Russell
303
NonFiction
Thurs, May 11, 2017
The Boston Girl
Anita Diamante
320
Fiction
 
EPISCOPAL CHURCH WOMEN
Please join us at the ECW meeting on Monday, March 6 at 6:30. After a short business meeting, our guest, Julia Steer, will present a program on self-compassion. Julia has a wealth of experience leading workshops for women.
Image result for easter lily
EASTER PLANT ORDER FORM
Order a lily, tulip, daffodil or hyacinth plant to beautify our sanctuary for
Easter worship.
Return this form to the church office, ATTN: Altar Guild, with a check by
Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017.
If you have any questions, please contact Chris Herrmann at herrmanncc@aol.comor 978-687-3982.
     ____  Easter Lily                  ____  Tulip                        ____  Daffodil          ____  Hyacinth
TOTAL number of plants:  ___________
TOTAL donation:  __________________
(Please make check payable to: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Note Easter plants on the memo line.)
Wording in the bulletin: “In loving memory of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” or other wording.
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Given by: _________________________________
Please make a choice of the following:
     ____  I will pick up my plant(s) immediately after the 10:00 a.m. Easter service.
     ____  My plant(s) can be delivered to someone in our church family.
Your Name: _____________________________________  Phone: __________________________

Undie Sundays through Lent
The Undie Sunday drive for Communities Together begins this Sunday, March 5th,  and continues through Lent.  Please consider donating diapers, pull ups, undies, and socks.  There will be a marked collection box in the narthex.

The Cor Unum Meal Center welcomes hungry visitors for breakfast and dinner every day.  To date, it has provided over 1 million free meals to thousands of men, women and children who suffer from hunger in Lawrence and the surrounding area.  Additionally, it offers a warm, safe place for people to socialize.
The facility has only two employees yet typically serves about 700 meals a day.  Therefore, it relies on “an army of generous volunteers” to fulfill its mission.    People help by serving meals, bussing tables or cleaning in the kitchen.
Our next volunteer opportunity is scheduled for Friday, March 17 from 4-7 pm.
Sign-up to help us at the Cor Unum meal center:
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to our Outreach Ministry~
Cheryl Means, chair

Manos Felices~Happy Hands at Hancock; Birthday in a Box
Most of us have happy memories of our childhood birthdays, but many of the children attending Manos Felices had never had a birthday party or cake until Communities Together started Birthday in a Box. Imagine a child having to watch his or her birthday come and go, with no celebration to mark the day?
St. Paul’s is the proud, annual March supporter for Birthday-in-a-Box!  If you would like to donate one or more of the following items for their Birthday Box, please contact Cheryl Means, Outreach & Mission Committee Chair, who will collect the items for delivery to their party at the end of March. We thank you for your support of this important program.
(Please note that we plan on 20 children in attendance at the party)
*sheet cake or cupcakes
*Hoodsie ice cream cups
*paper plates, napkins, plastic forks
*juice boxes
*one box of birthday candles
*one bag of balloons (not inflated)
*one plastic table cover (6 foot table)
*two large garbage bags
*boys birthday cards
*girls birthday cards
*one small party favor (not to exceed $1. per child)

Big Friends Little Friends, one of the 20 community programs of Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, makes a positive difference in the lives of children by matching them with volunteer mentors who provide friendship, guidance and support. We match each child with a “Big Friend “who believes in them and makes them feel empowered, while offering our “Bigs” the opportunity to experience the magic that comes with exposing a child to new perspectives and possibilities. We currently support over 100 “matches” but have 80 children – boys and girls ages 6-14- waiting for a mentor and we are searching for adults who want to be matched with a child. These are boys and girls who live in our service area, which consists of 15 towns from Salisbury to Andover.
To learn how YOU can make a lasting impact in your community in only 5-6 hours a month, contact Karen Sheehan 978.387.9705 or via email: ksheehan@fsmv.org

Partner with us to give a family new hope – Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity builds homes, shares hope and changes lives by moving hardworking families from overcrowded, dispiriting living conditions to safe, decent and affordable homes, providing them with the stability and foundation they need to build a better life. It is a partnership of hope and of a helping hand up, not a hand out. Our families buy their homes at zero interest (we have an addendum on the mortgage that makes it impossible to flip the homes).
There are many ways faith communities partner and help us to continue the mission. You can volunteer time and energy to help us build homes by painting, laying flooring, landscaping and more (no experience necessary). We also have the ReStore, a retail outlet that sells new and used appliances, and other home goods. You can volunteer there as a cashier, help stock shelves, and other retail work. And we are always grateful for any financial contributions.
Other volunteer opportunities include sitting on committees, partnering with families as an advocate, holding housewarming parties for families as they move into their new homes. Visit our web site http://www.merrimackvalleyhabitat.org/  to learn more or to sign-up to volunteer in construction or at the ReStore.  Contact us at: 978-681-8858 ext.13, or through email thea@merrimackvalleyhabitat.org.
Blessing, Thea Shapiro, Faith relations Coordinator, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity

Dear St. Paul’s Parishioners:
THANK YOU so much for your generous outpouring of support for the toiletry drive for the People’s Pantry. Today we dropped off about 35 bags of soap, shampoo, deodorant, and shampoo. Your speedy action to our request for donations was much appreciated and the pantry staff was overwhelmed with our generosity. There truly will be quite a selection for all of the guests when they arrive.
Stacey Cameron

Finance Committee News
The Vestry and parish have adopted a challenging budget for 2017. We will continue to look for ways to maximize our revenue and limit our expenses while maintaining all the programs we care about. Thank you to all of you who have “stretched” your pledge a bit to help fill the gap. Finance Committee welcomes all your suggestions to make ends meet.

Copy Machine
 
In order of being better stewards of office materials, there is now an admin. code on the copy machine.  If you have a copy request, please fill out a copy request form here: http://www.stpaulsnorthandover.org/copy-request-form/Thank you!

 Spare Change Sunday 

The first Sunday of every month is SPARE CHANGE SUNDAY.

The loose change given in the plate benefits our Church School youth’s Heifer Project ministry.

                       

 

                          
                

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