CELEBRATE THE LORD’S SUPPER TOGETHER
The Gospels inform us that on the night before Jesus was crucified, he gathered with his disciples to eat the Passover Meal. Scholars also inform us, as does Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, that the early church met on Sunday evenings, the first day of the week, for a common meal. Each individual brought his or her own food, maybe to share, maybe not. Even if the host provided food, it was not expected or required. It was during this common meal that the house church would celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
In like manner, I invite you to join us for a common meal on Maundy Thursday, April 2, at 6pm. This year, instead of having a traditional worship service, I intended to do something different.
We will gather for a meal, provided by the fellowship committee. This will be a simple meal, nothing elaborate. There will be tables set up for eight individuals per table. As Jesus at the last supper, and the early church on their Sunday evening gathering, during the meal, the bread will be broken and shared around the tables, and the cup will be blessed and shared around the tables. Hopefully, we will gain a different perspective of this meal which is so central to our faith, and yet so structured in our practice.
Following the meal, we will have an informal Tenebrae service as we reflect upon the suffering, crucifixion and death of our Lord and Savior.
Because of the newness of this service and the provision of a meal, we ask that if you plan to attend, please call the church office and let us know your plans. Also, if you do not wish to drive at that time of the evening, let the church office know and we will arrange transportation for you.
I look forward to this special time together.
Reflections From the Pastor
WHAT IS EASTER?
For some, it is a spring festival celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of the vacation season. There are those who use it to mark the days for planting flowers or vegetables. It is a time of new shirts and slacks for boys, new ties for dads, new dresses and Easter bonnets for women of all ages. We celebrate the holiday with jellybeans, chocolate rabbits and eggs, Easter egg hunts, and family dinners.
So, what is Easter? Well, unlike Christmas and Thanksgiving, I have very few memories of Easter, apart from the above-mentioned traditions. However, seared into my mind, is one memory from my childhood. It has to do with the Easter Sunrise Service in a faraway land, from a long ago time.
Easter Sunrise in my small hometown consisted of a community choir singing Easter hymns. In that small town, there was a homegrown preacher whose full name I never knew. Everybody just called him Preacher Brady. He was ancient when I was a child. On my bookshelf is the Bible that Preacher Brady gave my father the day he left to join the army during WWII. Now, some thirty years later, Preacher Brady always sought me out when the call for choir participants went out. Thinking back, I wonder, with my wonderful musical abilities, why he sought me out. Who knows, but he did. I was not even a member of his church.
So Easter memories for me consist of rising early in the morning, putting on my new Sunday outfit, getting to the church before sunrise, standing beside that ancient man of faith, and singing to the glory of God.
One song stands out very clearly in my mind. It has become my favorite Easter hymn: Low in the Grave He Lay. It is as fresh and clear to me today as it was so many years ago. In that deep, bass voice, Pastor Brady would begin, ever so gently, ever so softly …
Low in the grave He lay - Jesus my Savior!
Waiting the coming day - Jesus my Lord!
Then with a voice that boomed like thunder, Pastor Brady would lead the rest of the choir …
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
That is Easter! We do not need bunny rabbits, eggs (chocolate or hard-boiled), new clothes or Easter bonnets. All we need is to believe. That which was dead now lives. That which was scorned now reigns victorious.
CHRIST IS RISEN ...HE IS RISEN INDEED!
A unique hands-on mission program of South Plains Presbyterian Church April 19, following 11 a.m. worship Known very formally as South Mission Crafters and Benevolence Society (informally called Mission Crafters), this group meets the third Sunday afternoon of each month during the school year. The group gathers to prepare new projects, continue projects begun at home, and pack items for shipment.
The purpose of Mission Crafters is to create useful items for distribution through Presbyterian Benevolence Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and other mission and charitable programs. The group annually dedicates the many items that have been made during the year.
Mission Crafters Dedication and Mission Focus Sunday will be June 7, 2015. If you have been working on caps, sweaters, blankets, gowns, quilts or other items, please have them at the church by May 31 so they can be included in the dedication. Thanks to all who have been working to provide for this very special mission outreach.
One of the interesting local projects of Mission Crafters is creating a hand-made sampler for each family that moves into a new Habitat for Humanity home. The samplers include the logo for Habitat for Humanity and are stitched with the name of the family. The personalized sampler serves as a housewarming gift from South Plains Presbyterian Church and is presented at the dedication of the home.
In 2014, Mission Crafters added a new project to provide mini-layettes for a clinic/birthing center in Haiti. Each set will include a baby cap, a gown, a flannel blanket, as well as a plastic grocery bag, all in a zip-loc bag. We have learned that plastic bags are scarce and much treasured in Haiti! These kits will be delivered to Haiti by volunteers working with Building Goodness Foundation and other mission projects.
Patterns for knit and crocheted caps and blankets, children’s gowns, and Habitat samplers are available through Mission Crafters. Please let Shirley Chronister, Lyn Johnson, or Pat Valentine know if you are interested in assisting with any of the group’s ongoing projects.
South Plains Mission Crafters has become known for its hands-on ministry in which many other churches and individuals join. You are invited to become a part of Mission Crafters.
Adult Retreat at Massanetta Springs
April 30, 2015
Entertaining Angels Unawares: The Practice of Christian Hospitality
Massanetta Springs Presbyterian Conference Center, near Harrisonburg, VA
Cost: $20, including lunch in the Historic Hotel
Registration Forms available at South Plains (fellowship hall information table) and on the Presbytery of the James website.
For more information see Pat Valentine or Heide Schumann.
The theme: When Abraham and Sarah welcome three strangers into their tent, they receive a surprise blessing. The roles of host and guest were reversed. The practice of hospitality is an honored spiritual discipline in the Christian tradition. In this retreat we will explore how we as Christians may practice it today with family and friends, strangers, and enemies. Like Abraham and Sarah, we may find we are entertaining angels unawares.
Retreat Leader: The Rev. Gordon Lindsey, a retired Presbyterian minister, leads educational programs and retreats for adults. He has studied theology at Oxford University and Yale Divinity School. For the fifth year in a row the Presbytery of the James and the Shenandoah Presbytery are jointly sponsoring the 2015 Retreat. The retreat offers a time for adults to gather for spiritual enrichment, worship, and fellowship over a shared meal. Adults of all religious faiths are welcome to bring an open heart, a willing spirit, and joy to share.
Schedule: 8:45 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Refreshments, welcome, and hymn singing 9:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Morning presentations with break 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch in the historic hotel dining room 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon session, followed by worship and the Lord’s Supper 3:00 p.m. Departure
Schedule of the Lenten Season at South Plains
February 18 Ash Wednesday service held
February 25 Soup & Study began
March 1 Adult Sunday School – part 1 introduction to the art in the Sistine Chapel and ceiling
March 4 Soup & Study, 6pm
March 8 Adult Sunday School – part 2 - ceiling
March 11 Soup & Study, 6pm
March 15 Adult Sunday School – part 3 - ceiling and south wall
March 18 Soup & Study, 6pm
March 22 Adult Sunday School – part 4 - north wall, tapestries, and end walls Easter Lily envelopes available in pews
March 25 Soup & Study, 6pm
March 29 Palm Sunday, Adult Sunday School, part 5 - high-wall portraits and Chapel elections
April 1 Soup & Study, 6pm
April 2 Maundy Thursday service, 6pm
April 3 Good Friday Vigil, noon-3pm
April 5 Easter One Great Hour of Sharing
ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL SPECIAL PROGRAM FOR LENT 2015
A COMPLETE TOUR OF THE ART IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL
During five Sundays, starting February 22
Bob Tracinski has been asked to expand the abbreviated tour of Sistine art he presented at last summer’s Vacation Bible School to include every piece of art in the chapel. Over five Sundays starting on February 22, he will show the artwork and explain its significance in the Adult Sunday School classroom to the left of the Library. Starting at 9:45am, he will speak for about 25 minutes and lead an open discussion for about 20 minutes. These are the topics he will cover.
February 22 - Introduction and Ceiling, Part One
March 1 - Ceiling, Part Two
March 8 - Ceiling, Part Three and South Wall
March 15 - North Wall, Tapestries, and End Walls
March 22 - High-wall portraits and Chapel elections
The Sistine Chapel attracts 25,000 tourists a day who each pay $22 to be rushed through a jam-packed chapel while straining to see the ceiling art 68 feet above them. You can see the art in comfort for free, so plan to attend.
Library Report by Bob Tracinski
Thanks to all those who contribute their books. Recent donations to the Library include many Bibles and the following titles:
• New Testament in Modern English, translated by J. B. Phillips.
• Dartmouth Bible • Layman’s Parallel Bible, published by Zondervan
• With Wings of Eagles by William B. Oglesby Jr.
• Joshua: Man of Fearless Faith by W. Phillip Keller
• What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Christenson
• The Story of Job by Jessie Penn-Lewis
• Chronological Charts of Church History by Robert C. Walton Y
ou can find these publications and more than 375 books . . . In the Church Library.
BITS ‘N PIECES
• New Camp Hanover website: camphanover.org. Information about summer camp 2015 available on the website. Camp Hanover was named the “Best Overnight Camp for Kids” by the Richmond magazine.
• Camp Hanover has a new one year-old Lamancha goat. The goat needs a name! If you have an idea, add your suggestion in the comment section of the website. Next week, they’ll announce the winner. Everyone who offers a suggestion will be entered in a drawing to win a Camp Hanover t-shirt.
• Camp Hanover Lenten Spirituality Adult Retreat March 6 & 7. Leadership: Rev. Patrick Dennis and Rev. Denise Hall.
• New address and phone for Dana and Mike Lee: 257 Jefferson Drive, Palmyra 22963, 434-207-3882.
Worship Bags Available for Church Services
Parents – please note that we now have blue cloth worship bags available in the Narthex of the Sanctuary for your children to bring into the worship service. We hope this will enhance their experience during worship. We appreciate Heide Schumann’s generosity in donating the fabric, Linda Makranczy for sewing the bags, and for Pastor Kevin providing the worship worksheets that follow the liturgy of the day. Please help your child remember to return the bag to the Narthex as they leave the Sanctuary
March News Presbyterian Women at South Plains
In February we will be studying Lesson 7 of Reconciling Paul: A Contemporary Study of 2 Corinthians. Join us to study and consider how we can prepare the way for God’s presence to be made visible in our world.
PW meetings in March:
• PW Meeting and Bible study - Monday, March 9, 9:30 - 11:30am - Kirk Hall
• PW Evening Meeting and Bible study - Monday, March 9, 7-8:30pm - Molly Channell’s home, 2165 Beaverdam Road, Keswick (434-207-3598)
We welcome new members at any time during the year.
Come in out of the cold and warm up with good fellowship and Bible study!
Barbara Shaffer, Moderator
New Program for South Plains
Currently sermons are available on the website, www.southplainspc.org, in both printed and audio form. We realize that everyone does not have access to a computer and that the sermon is only part of the service. Beginning September 7, the entire service will be recorded and then transferred to individual CDs. When we have the technology, we will include video using DVDs. The CDs will be made in the office and distributed to those unable to attend services. If you would like to be included on the list of people to receive the CDs, of if you know someone who would like to receive them, please contact the Church office.