Lent has begun….and for some, this season is related to memories or references of provoking guilt or guilty pleasures, rigid practices of sorriness for our sins, giving things up for 40 days to replicate a desert experience, and being mindful of needed changes in our lives so that we can attain conversion.
I remember often feeling like a package of blunders entering Lent, because of these 40-day focuses, which center on striving to be better.
What if we were to continue Lent with a posture of reassurance and consolation? How about simply admitting that we are just another broken member of the human race, feeling hurt and often hurting others, and we often have issues facing truths about ourselves, because we think that if we do, people will love us way less.
God does not expect us to be polished, a star on social media or in others' lives, even for the all the days of Lent. And….there is never a good season in the church year or time to consciously, or unconsciously, suppose that we are better than others.
SO during this season of Lent, let us together surrender to God’s most gentle reassurance and consolation ,and gaze tenderly at our Creator, Savior and Sustainer, because God waits lovingly for us to turn, so we can be consoled where God is always with us.
Last Sunday, I encouraged you to take time with Christ, and make an honest list of things you have lost in this past year of the pandemic. My sister wrote and asked, “I’ve made my list now what?” What a great question!
The Episcopal Relief and Development daily Lenten meditations are excellent guides for us this year, because their focus is on the steps of lament! The first step they suggest is to Rest. Follow Christ’s example and “withdraw to deserted places and pray” (Lk. 5:16). Take your list with you to Christ and be with Christ, without striving or expectation. Sitting in silence without a plan is one of the most challenging tasks for us. As Marya said at the end of the service, sorrow has the power to break open your heart. Allow your heart to break without rushing to mend it. Perhaps set a timer for ten or fifteen minutes. and sit quietly, allowing your mind to roam wherever it chooses. I would suggest you tuck your lament loss list away for a few days. If you like, when some time has passed, bring it out again, and talk with Christ. Where are the places you need healing? What on your list needs forgiveness? Are there any items that you can release as part of your life, pre-pandemic, that are now unessential in your current life? The most important thing is your friendship with Christ. God already knows your loss, and sits there with you, loving you deeply.
Sung Great Litany available throughout Lent
Brett Johnson, our seminarian and professional musician, and Allen Hill, new parishioner and the director of the Protestant Choir at Brooksby Village, have partnered to offer us a way to pray, by singing us through the Great Litany, which is the first prayer composed in the English language for use in public worship. In many churches, it is chanted in procession around the perimeter of the worship space. Brett and Allen will be singing without procession! The Sung Great Litany is available here: https://youtu.be/a82tFHFbvnY
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; God has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise of the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
- Isaiah 61:1-3
We believe that God is a Healer. God’s heart is, and always has been, to HEAL, RESTORE, AND RECONCILE us to new life. During Advent, after our Zoom worship concluded, usually before 11:00 am, worshippers were invited to join folks in Zoom break-out rooms for confidential healing prayer. We will resume this special prayer time again each Sunday in Lent. Please join us.
LENTEN SERIES on Pilgrimage Bethany House of Prayer Lenten Invitations: Join us Friday mornings for our upcoming series
Friday Mornings in Lent (on Zoom) 11 am - Noon EST
Feb. 26, March 5, March 12, and March 19
Pilgrimage has long been a customary Lenten practice—to embark with intention and a deep unknowing, to a holy site far away, or familiar pathways of our daily lives. For centuries, pilgrims have walked the way of Jesus in Jerusalem, or if such travel was not possible, then a near labyrinth.
This year, most of us will not venture to sacred roads far off. Yet we can practice an attentive openness to the cares of the present time on seemingly familiar paths. Be with us, as companions on the way, open to the mystery and transformation that pilgrimage yields, both around us and within us, as we turn toward our gaze toward Easter.
Join us for one hour, as part of your Lenten observance. Each Friday morning provides spaciousness for prayer, a meditation offered by a colleague, silence, and contemplative sharing.
Our series draws upon four Ignatian aspects: Pilgrimage presents itself and we decide to go or stay --February 26 Meditation: The Rev. Karen B. Montagno Facilitation: Julia Slayton
The pilgrim path never goes in a straight line-- March 5 Meditation: The Rev. Dr. Maureen Kemeza Facilitation: The Rev. Cathy Venkatesh
God uses our mistakes, our lack of knowledge and our weaknesses along the way -- March 12 Meditation: Kimberly Green Facilitation: The Rev. Susan Richmond
We learn by walking--March 19 Meditation: Kathleen Hirsch Facilitation: Christi Humphrey
Solvitur ambulando—It is solved by walking.
Registration required by Feb. 25, or the Wednesday prior to each Friday, to receive the Zoom link and readings. Suggested fee: $50 for the series, or $15 for one individual date.
Register here and pay online or mail to:
Bethany House of Prayer, 181 Appleton St., Arlington, MA 02476 www.BethanyHouseArlington.org Additional offerings for your Lenten observances include:
Thursday Morning Contemplative Prayer 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST
Listen to ancient and contemporary writings, be in silence with others and share in contemplative dialogue.
Facilitated by Bethany Leaders.
Evening Contemplative Practice 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 7 pm
Guided contemplative meditation, with time for silence and sharing. Led by Bethany Colleague, Christi Humphrey, and Christina Leano, leading on March 9.
Evening Chapel 3rd Weds. evenings 7:30 pm EST
silent meditation offered from 7:15 - 7:30 pm
A contemplative service of chant, readings, prayers, images and an examen practice. Led by Bethany Colleagues.
Respecting public health recommendations, all these offerings are online (if you've received Zoom invitations for these previously, you do not need to register again)
TO RECEIVE A ZOOM INVITATION FOR ANY OF THESE OFFERINGS ABOVE, Register here
A Dog's Life Reading
Missed our first All Saints/Perfect Paws sponsored Author’s Reading last Sunday, February 21st? No worries. The entire, delightful presentation by author Peter Bogyo reading from his sweet, funny, poignant and acclaimed book A Dog’s Life is now available for viewing on YouTube at https://youtu.be/yCKTZZsWdcM Woof!
Are you ready for our fabulous All Saints’ auction? If you are, read on—if you are not, read on!!
Did you miss our bi-annual Gifts Auction last April, just when the pandemic was beginning?
We are determined that not even COVID-19 will stop us this year, so we are offering a HUGE 10-day online auction October 31st through November 10th. It is our hope that this online auction will provide a rich avenue of fellowship and relationship-building for our faith community. It will also be a way for our community members, and our friends and neighbors near and far, to invest in All Saints' still thriving ministries, and including our outreach projects in this time of continued exceptional need.
You can help us to make this a HUGE success! We are asking all parishioners to celebrate the unique gifts with which God has blessed us, with the hope of getting 100% participation, with folks providing items and services to auction, and bidding on items and services as well. We know all of you have something to offer!! It could be that once-treasured crystal candelabra that now gathers dust, or the painting you loved and hung over the mantel until you redesigned the room and removed the mantel! We want to offer more than 100 items of value, and as many services as possible.
Here are some examples of possible gifts and services: hospitality, cooking/baking, crafting, quilting, woodworking, home repair, computer/technology expertise, voice lessons, car detailing, bill paying, yard work, hosting outdoor dinners, visit Santa on Zoom, crystal, prints, gardening, memberships to local organizations, fireside dinners, prepared picnics, canoe rides, walk along the beaches or trails, with a pause for refreshments, antiques, wall hangings, notecards, flower arrangements, museum visits, antique tools, vases, perennials, holiday arrangements, jewelry, gift cards, a week's use of a vacation home/condo, 12 months of cookies, 4 months of soups and “you name it!”
If you have an idea for an auction item, please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call or drop off the information to Michelle at the parish office, 978 774-1150: Date: Description of auction item: Donated by: Name and phone# and email Market value: approximate Any special comments about the gift?
OK, get ready to auction! And thank you!
Important Worship Update Our vestry voted to change in-person worship to 8:30 am going forward, which began on January 17th.
The Town of Danvers is seeking people who might be willing to help seniors with snow shoveling and/or plowing. They are inundated with requests for assistance in this area, especially with the frequency of snowstorms as of late. Any questions can be directed to Cathy Andre, Volunteer Coordinator at 978-762-0208.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Need help scheduling your vaccines? Olivia Adams, an Arlington, MA software engineer has created a website showing open vaccine slots in your area. It's easy to use and is updated every 5 minutes: https://www.macovidvaccines.com/
She has also started a GoFundMe campaign in order to help facilitate the vaccine campaign on a national level.
If you would like to join one or more people over 75 years of age in obtaining a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, by arranging an appointment for them and yourself online, and providing transportation to and from the vaccination site, please call or email the office (978-774-1150), and we will contact you so you can be paired with someone over 75 who is in need of support. Please note that companion vaccines are not available at town-run vaccine sites, only the state-run sites.
If you know a young adult that might benefit from guided reflections during Lent….. 40Form: A Digital Approach to Purpose-Finding
Offered free to young adults...unlock insights to shape your most authentic life.
This Lent, the Young Adult Network is hosting a 47-day discernment program called 40Form to guide participants to better understand their purpose. Grounded in lived experience, 40Form guides reflection on personal experiences, values, inherent nature, current realities, faith, and aspirational growth to unlock insights about individual purpose.
Those who register will receive daily emails to their inbox with suggested journal activities to help them reflect on the stories they tell themselves, the influences in their lives, their strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats that enable their purpose, and how they approach decision-making.
In addition to receiving the daily emails, participants looking for greater connection with peers can choose to sign up to join a weekly on-line discussion group to share with others their reflections, questions, ponderings, and prayers.
The program is being offered free to participants. Simply sign up using the link below. (For community, use "EDOM Young Adult Network".)
Adult Formation: Lenten Resources 2021 Living Compass: Living Well Through Lent 2021: Listening With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind. Booklets are available at no cost and the booklet is also available as a download. More information is here and a flier is available here. Episcopal Relief & Development: “As Lent approaches this year, we lament.” Lenten meditations booklet and more information available here. Virginia Theological Seminary Stations of the Cross, a 30-minute video production of the liturgy with music, and paired with new images of the stations by artist Margaret Parker. More information here.
“Lent and the Longing for God” – an online retreat facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas on March 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Registration and more information are found here. There is no cost for the retreat. It is being made available to the people of the dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts.
This Lent, the annual preaching series at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston aims to lift up the voices of leaders who are fairly new to the greater Boston area, or who have come to see the area anew.
The series takes place online via Zoom on Thursdays, February 18-March 25, at 12 p.m., featuring a brief service of noonday prayer with guest sermon, followed by conversation with the preacher and other attendees.
All are welcome and registration is required here.
Feb. 18: The Rev. Morgan S. Allen--Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston
Feb. 25: The Rev. Gregory G. Perez--Priest-in-Charge, St. Stephen's Memorial Episcopal Church, Lynn
March 4: Ms. Omalara Fatiregun-Cheng--Fellow and doctoral student, Harvard Graduate School of Education (invited)
March 11: Mr. James Rutenbeck--Filmmaker, Lost Nation Pictures, "A Reckoning in Boston"
March 18: The Rev. Kate Bast--Rector, Trinity Episcopal Parish, Melrose
March 25: Dr. Sujin Pak--Dean of the Boston University School of Theology
This online retreat is co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and open to the people of both.