NEWS  CORNER

Social Ministry

Souperbowl of Caring
$20 and 113 pounds of food was collected by church members, Make Way For Ducklings collected 113 cans of food to celebrate 100 days of school, and those who use our building filled the container in the lobby.  The grad total of what was given to the Open Pantry was 270 pounds of food..



Mitten Tree
47 hats, 29 pairs of gloves, 10 scarves, 6 pairs of mittens, 5 pairs of socks, one pair of slippers, and a muff.


Thanksgiving Bags
39 Thanksgiving dinners collected!  In addition, $70 in cash was also donated.  Thanks to everyone who helped provide a Thanksgiving meal to folks who are struggling to put food on the table.

Crop Walk
We raised $864 to feed the hungry through the work of Church World Service.   It is through our collective giving that we helped feed the hungry globally and money is also donated to the fuel assistance program and food pantries/soup kitchens locally.

Community Garden
Our garden produced wonderful vegetables for the Open Pantry.

Quilting
The quilting group completed 34 quilts! 

Health Kits
42 health kits were prepared for disaster areas.

Easter Food Bags
17 Easter dinner bags and $225 and 211 pounds of food were donated.  Thank you for sharing your Easter joy with those who would not have a dinner without our help.

Heifer

$150 was raised to purchase seedlings, chicks, ducks, geese, and honeybees to support a family.  Make Way for Ducklings raised $225 so our combined total was $375.


Action Centered Tutoring Services (
ACTS)

Is a free one-to-one program that combines mentoring with tutoring for the children of Springfield, grades kindergarten through fifth grade.  Tutor/mentors are required to commit for two hours a week for the school year. Orientation and training is provided. Please contact Pastor Lauren if interested in this program.

Meals at Friends of the Homeless
We serve a lunch and a dinner each month at Friends of the Homeless.


The Beacon Messenger
Download a copy of our March Newsletter here

From the Pastor

Epiphany: The Glory of God Revealed

This year we had a wonderfully long Epiphany season.  Seven Sundays after Epiphany to continue to have Jesus’ identity revealed to us in many wonderful ways.  And when we see Jesus, we see God.  The season can be as short as three Sundays or as long as eight.  Some years we barely have time to put away our Christmas decorations before we enter Lent.  The seventh Sunday after Epiphany in year C only occurs four times in the last 50 years.  The last time it happened was eighteen years ago.  I am so grateful that we have had this time to linger in the light of Epiphany. 

We begin on Epiphany, when Jesus is revealed to all nations with the arrival of the Magi.  They followed the light of a star to see the King of kings.  They basked in the glory of God’s own Son.  Next we have the baptism of our Lord.  Where God declares for all to hear, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”  We are baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection.  We die to sin and rise to eternal life all because of Jesus.  The light of his love shines on all.

Jesus begins his ministry changing water into fine wine, a sign of his kingdom.  Each week in Holy Communion we receive a foretaste of the feast that is to come where we shall see God face to face.  The best wine is saved for last.  Come, taste and see.

Jesus teaches in the synagogue in Nazareth.  God’s plan is revealed in God’s Son reading the prophet Isaiah.  Jesus declares, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Then he said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-19, 21)  People have been waiting for Isaiah’s prophesy to be fulfilled, but not through their hometown boy.

The glory of God is often revealed when and where it is least expected.  God uses Jesus, water, the word, and bread and wine, to reveal God’s glory where and when God chooses.  God’s glory continues to be revealed through our words and deeds. 

God is revealed to Isaiah, the hem of God’s robe fills the temple.  God asks whom shall I send?  Isaiah answers, “Here I am.  Send me.”  Then Jesus takes the disciples who were just called to follow him fishing.  They haul in a great catch!  Peter realizes that Jesus is God’s own Son.  Recognizing his own sinfulness he tells Jesus to go away from him.  Jesus remains knowing he has a mission to accomplish, our salvation.  He tells the disciples that from now on they will be catching people.  We as disciples today continue to draw people to God by how we live our lives and through our invitation and welcome.

Jesus teaches the disciples and the crowds that surround them about how God wants us to live together.  Many people are poor; some are rich, often at the expense of the poor.  He tells the poor that the kingdom is yours!  Many are hungry; some are full.  This will be reversed.  Those who weep will laugh.  And, those who are treated badly for Jesus’ sake have a reward waiting for them.  After assuring those who are in need of blessing that they will indeed be blest, Jesus gives warnings that will hopefully lead to repentance so that all may be welcomed into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus teaches us the critical importance of forgiving others as God has forgiven us.  Jesus reveals that God is merciful and we are to show mercy to others.  We have God’s own Spirit helping us forgive and live as God intended.  In baptism we put on Christ, and through the help of the Holy Spirit we show love and mercy reflecting the glory of God revealed in the Christ.

Finally, Jesus is transfigured before the disciples revealing the glory of God.  Glory to God in the highest.

In Christ, Pastor Lauren

Daylight Savings Time returns March 10th
Be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour so you are not late for worship.

Thank You!!!!!

  • Auditors: Evelyn Morris, Art Semle, Jay Cleaveland for auditing our financial records.
  • Carol Haglund who sends faith-based messages to members from birth to age 3 when they enter LOL (Sunday School).
  • Marybeth Lewison for her vocal leadership during worship. We’re lost without you.
  • Art and Norma Semle for bringing all the food to the Open Pantry.
  • Shirley Flanders for baking communion bread.

 Our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper has evolved into “Fat Sunday” pancake brunch.
On Transfiguration Sunday March 3rd we will have a pancake brunch right after church.  Afterwards we will burn palms in preparation for Ash Wednesday. 

Ash Wednesday worship
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th.  Worship will be at 12noon.  Our worship contains a time of self-examination and a full confession of sin.  This is followed by ashes being imposed on our forehead with these words “You are dust, and to dust you will return.”  This is a reminder of our mortality and our sinfulness.  Although we repent in dust and ashes it is critical to remember that the ashes are made in the shape of the cross; that changes everything!  Jesus overcame sin and death and we receive his victory in our baptism. 

Lent is a time of renewal, a time for growth and learning, a time for increased attention to prayer, scripture, worship and service.  Each day offers opportunities to make God first in our lives.  During Lent we can establish new patterns and experience new growth in Christ.  When we return to worship on Maundy Thursday our ashes will be washed away with baptismal water and we will finally hear the words of absolution, “In the name of Jesus, your sins are forgiven.”  Amen.  Thanks be to God.  Please join us.

Lenten Folders
Following Jesus’ example to serve others we are pleased to provide a folder that contains a slot for each day of the Lenten Season to hold your daily offering.  You may either place a coin in each day or make one contribution at the end of the season. 

Midweek Bible study during Lent – Rejoice – even during Lent!
Lent is often thought of as a season of self-sacrifice and discipline that sounds to many Christians like a list of spiritual chores.  Lenten disciplines become the spiritual equivalent of New Year's resolutions to lose weight, be healthier, or practice better money management.  These promises are easily made and often quickly broken, leaving us feeling like we do not measure up to what we should be.

In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul joyfully turns to spiritual practices that draw him closer to God amid persecution and imprisonment.  These practices keep Paul connected to a sense of God's power and presence.  Joy flows from Paul and becomes a vital part of his relationship with the Philippians.

Because of This I Rejoice is a 6-week study of Philippians that explores what Paul teaches about joyfully practicing spiritual disciplines.  The intent of these disciplines is to help us focus less on ourselves and more on God.  This Lenten study invites us to engage in the same spiritual practices as a way to grow closer to God and allow joy to flow through our lives.

Take this journey on your own or invite a friend to join you.  We will meet on Wednesdays (March 13th, 20th 27th, April 3rd, 10th, and 17th.  We gather at 11:30 for Soup, 12 for Study, and 12:30 for Worship.

Sunday Bible Study – Luke
We are studying The Gospel according to Luke and will continue on March 3rd, 10th, and 17th.  Luke invites us to explore the story of Jesus and his mission as God's Chosen One (Messiah).  From the joyous accounts of Jesus' birth in a manger in Bethlehem to the stark images of Golgotha to the eye-opening meal at Emmaus, we are invited into a remarkable story.  This course invites participants into rich discovery as they explore key stories and events of this Gospel.  This 8-session course explores selected passages from the Gospel of Luke.

1. Why Must Jesus Die? (Luke 9:18-36)
2. And Grace Will Lead Me Home (Luke 15:1-32)
3. Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended? (Luke 23:26-49)
4. How Did Jesus’ Resurrection Change the World? (Luke 24:13-35)
Join us Sunday’s at 9am behind the organ.  Bring your coffee and perhaps a friend. 

Sunday Bible Study – Lent
March 24th,31st, and April 7th we will compare the passion stories from all four gospels.
Join us Sunday’s at 9am behind the organ.  Bring your coffee and perhaps a friend. 

    Social Ministry

    What we just completed

    Souperbowl of Caring 113 pounds of food plus $20

    What we are doing now
    Heifer

    What is coming next

    Easter Dinner bags

    Souperbowl of Caring
    We collected $20 and 113.5 pounds, combined with the donations in the lobby and the 113 cans Make Way for Ducklings collected to mark the 100th day of school we delivered 230 Pounds of food to the Open Pantry.  Thank you everyone.

    Heifer Project
    During Lent this year we hope to collect enough money to purchase the following: Seedling - $60, Chicks - $20, Ducks - $20, Geese - $20, honeybees are $30 – a total of $150

    Easter Food Bags
    We are called to share God’s love and bountiful blessings.  Bring in a bag of food to share with families in need.  Shopping bags, with a list of items for an Easter dinner, will be available on March 24th.  Envelopes will also be available for monetary donations.  We will collect bags on Palm Sunday April 14th

    Save the Date – Dinner Sunday May 19th 12:30pm.
    Our favorite caterer is back and we are pleased to host another dinner.  Invite your friends, fill a table, enjoy a delicious meal and great fellowship.  Tickets will be available in the near future, but for now, save the date.

    A word from our Worship and Music Team
    Our worship and music team decided to return to a liturgy we have used in the past, “Now the Feast” for the season of Epiphany.  During Lent we will return to Setting 8 in the ELW.  At this time we plan to return to “Now the Feast” during Easter.  A change now and then helps keep things fresh.  We would love to hear what you think.

    Remembering in Prayer
    We all share in the ministry of intercessory prayer.  We are called individually to pray each day and as a gathered community of faith in worship.  If you have someone we need to include in our prayers please notify our church office.

    Council Elects Officers
    The Congregation Council met on February 20th and elected officers for 2019.  Judy Johnson will serve as President, Mary Hunter continues as Treasurer, Shirley Flanders will continue as Vice President, and Marybeth Lewison will serve as Secretary.  Thank you all for your willingness to serve.


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    Bethesda Lutheran Church      East Church, Congregational      Address: 455 Island Pond Rd.  Springfield, MA 01118      Ph: 413-733-4494      Email: Admin@BethesdaSpringfield.org