Happy Last Day of Lent! Happy? Not quite. I'm not happy about the weather but that is another story.
Today is not a happy day in the Christian calendar. It is the day of sorrow and endings. Jesus is dead. The tomb is shut. God is in the ground. The Jesus movement as the disciples and friends of Jesus had known it is over. It's time to go home, go back to fishing, tax collecting, tending house, whatever. It's over.
They didn't go home... just yet. The scripture says that they gathered at least one more time in the same room, around the same table, where they shared their last meal with Jesus. Perhaps to grieve together, to do what we all do when someone we love dies - eat, cry, laugh, remember.
The friends of Jesus had no idea what was coming next. But as sad and afraid as they were, they were not without resources. They were already grounded in two great traditions. The first was the natural world, the cycle of life and death. As sure as there are ashes to ashes, dust to dust, there would be new life growing out of that dust. It happens every Spring. It happens with the birth of every child. They knew that.
The second great tradition was their faith tradition. From Adam and Eve to Abraham and Sarah to Noah to Moses to the prophets to Job, the people of Israel had known suffering, persecution, slavery and death as a part of their life and history. But however awful their experience, they would eventually come to see that God was there in the midst of it all, with them, waiting with them, suffering with them, patiently willing them forward to a new, different, but better way of life.
On holy Saturday the friends of Jesus were probably not thinking about this. There is a time for being silent, for grief. But they were together. They were grounded. And whether they knew it or not at that moment they had been getting ready for just such a time as this.
Some of you will be joining us in person tomorrow; some online. The choir will be singing tomorrow! If you are coming to the building please feel free to bring an Easter flower of some kind to share for our service. If you do please cover it well for transport as it will be cold in the morning. Also, if you are coming and it makes you feel more comfortable feel free to wear a mask. We certainly are not out of the woods yet with this virus. Masks are welcome but not required.
Where I see you tomorrow or not have a joyous Easter celebration! I will send out the service link in the morning. Here is the weekly update:
Men’s Retiree Group – 8:30am
Sunday Service – 10:00am
Children’s Story Schedule
4/17 – Janet Westenberg
4/24: Linda Hoskins
5/1: Vicky Goplin
April 17 – Feel free to bring Easter flowers to help decorate the sanctuary!
We are looking for book ideas for our next gathering. Feel free to send your ideas of books you have enjoyed or books you think might be interesting to read and discuss.
Meet and Greet at the church
Date is being rescheduled.
We are inviting our community gardeners, neighbors and OCC folks to come share some coffee and treats as we listen to a Master Gardener talk about some aspect of gardening. We would like to encourage you to put this date on your calendar as we work at getting the word out to others.
New Community Project Keep ‘em Safe Campaign
Thanks to everyone who has contributed money for the New Community Project Keep 'em Safe campaign. We have received over a thousand dollars of contributions toward building the wall around the shelter in Nepal to protect young girls who have been forced into sex work from the trafficers who are still threatening their lives. We will keep this campaign active here for one more week then send off the check. If you still wish to contribute please let Linda Hoskins know.
Open Circle Volunteer Opportunities
Your time and energy is needed for Open Circle Church to thrive and continue its mission. Whether you can commit an hour a week or a one-time effort, you will make a difference in our continued success. Opportunities continue to be available in Open Circle management and growth, earth stewardship, community outreach, grounds and building management and beautification, adult and youth education, child care, and congregation community life. For more information talk to Jay.
While we are in pandemic time and not meeting at the church, we have two ongoing volunteer opportunities. Each week we have a children’s story as part of our worship. Rhonda Gingrich manages this list. If you would like to take a turn reading a story from your home, you can send an email to Rhonda. You can volunteer for one time, occasionally, or be part of the regular rotation. Let Rhonda know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also have a garbage detail, which involves taking the garbage can to the street on a Thursday for Friday pickup, then taking the can back up the driveway on Saturday. We are trying to keep the garbage trucks off our driveway as their weight can cause damage to our new pavement. Bruce Johnson has been managing this volunteer list, but it is now set up on Signup Genius and you can volunteer online here.
Caregiving Response Team
From time to time we have a member in the hospital or recuperating at home from surgery or illness, or someone with another need like moving from one home to another. If we know about the need, we would like to notify our community and ask for help. It could be a meal, a card, a visit, or getting a group of people together to perform a task. If you know of someone who has a need, please feel free to contact Katy Kelly at email@example.com 612-750-0263 or Jay Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you shop at Amazon? You can shop as you always do but also generate donations to Open Circle through the Amazon Smile app. Click here to find out more.
Brethren Bucks - OCC Scrip Program
Participating in our scrip program has never been easier! Visit the Brethren Bucks link on the church website for more information and to sign up for this great program that pays Open Circle to shop. Kristin Standafer is our scrip coordinator and can be reached at 952-210-5137 or email@example.com. We offer cash-n-carry gift cards for several retailers on most Sundays
Open Circle Finances
We thank you for your financial contributions; they make possible the mission and ministries of our great congregation. Contributions can now be debited automatically from your checking or savings account Please contact Mark Gingrich (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an electronic funds transfer form.. Contributions can also be made through the website. Click on the "Donate to Open Circle" link on the website home page (www.opencirclechurch.com).
OCC on the web at www.opencirclechurch.com where you can find the most updated volunteer lists, the weekly update, podcasts of Sunday messages, the church calendar, pictures of life at Open Circle, and more.
OCC on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OpenCircleChurch
Peace to all,