From the Pastor's Desk
Advent is quickly approaching, and I'm very excited. Advent is my favorite season of the church year, not just for the music and traditions associated with it, but for the celebration that it brings. I went on a day-long retreat in the mountains with other clergy to prepare for Advent a few weeks ago. The Rev. Francisco Javier Goitía Padilla, Director for Theological Formation, Seminaries, and Schools, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, shares my love of Advent and compares it to a fiesta or party with singing and dancing. Shouldn't we throw a party to commemorate Jesus Christ's adventus? Absolutely!
Historically, Advent, like Lent, was a penitential season, which is why the color purple (violet) is also associated with the season. When the season first appeared on the liturgical calendar, around 480, the faithful fasted for 40 days. Advent has since shrunk in length, and its focus has shifted from penitential to a mix of penitential and celebratory. This Advent, I'm introducing everyone to Gaudete Sunday, also known as "Rejoice" or "Joy" Sunday, as just that, a Sunday of Joy that prepares us for the love that is about to enter the world, a Sunday where we'll reflect, as Pope Francis suggests, on "all the good things life has given you," rather than on the things that cause us to worry in the run-up to Christmas.
Even though there appear to be so many obstacles in front of us, we have much to celebrate as a faith community. True, we aren't where we want to be, but we are moving in the right direction, which gives me the energy to keep going, thanks to the Holy Spirit. We'll be taking a step forward together into a new church year and a new course for ministry as we gather this week for Reign of Christ (Christ the King) Sunday, the festival that marks the end of the church's liturgical year. The Holy Spirit is present in our faith community and is guiding us in this new direction. Advent, the season of preparation and anticipation for Christ's arrival, I hope gathers each of us into a new day of spiritual focus that reveals how the Spirit is at work not just in this community of faith, but in each of us. We all carry Christ within us, and Christ enters the world through our sharing of His love through acts of service, kindness, and even our faith stories. As a result, my pastoral emphasis for the new liturgical year will be discipleship and evangelism.
Finally, thank you for the prayers and kind messages throughout the last week and a half while Dennis was in the hospital! They provided us with a lot of strength.
‘May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’
In Christ and with Christ's love,
Don't Forget to take the Congregational Survey
There's still time to participate in the congregational survey! Your input will assist the council and Pastor Eric in strategic planning for the coming year as we work together to establish ministry, mission, and programmatic goals.
Pastor Eric will be out of the office from Monday, November 14 to Wednesday, November 16 for the ELCA Region 8 First Call Theological Education (FCTE) conference in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. First call clergy from the synods of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny, Lower Susquehanna, Upper Susquehanna, Delaware-Maryland, West Virginia-Western Maryland and Metropolitan Washington, D.C. will attend the conference. All ELCA ministers of word and sacrament and word and service must complete annual FCTE during their first three years of ministry. During the day, Pastor will have limited access to his cell phone and email. If you require immediate pastoral care during this time, please text Pastor Eric and he will put you in touch with a local clergy member.
Food Pantry Hours
On Saturday, December 3, the food pantry will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The food pantry will return to regular hours on the next distribution day.
Memorial Service for Judy Rudolf
A memorial service for Judy Rudolf will be held on Saturday, December 3 at 10:30 a.m, Peace Lutheran Church, St. Charles, MD. Members of Peace Lutheran Church are invited to bring salads and desserts to the repast in the fellowship hall following the service. Donations in Judy's honor can be made to the food pantry at Peace Lutheran Church.
Confirmation Bootcamp Begins Sunday
Pastor Eric invites all unconfirmed students in grades 6-12 to attend Confirmation Bootcamp on in-person Sunday, November 13, 2022, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Students will accompany Pastor Eric on a journey through the Old Testament and parts of Luther's Small Catechism. Lunch will be provided.
Course materials will be provided to students for each week of class. There are no pre-reading requirements. UPDATED CLASS SCHEDULE:
Session One: Old Testament
11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/04, 12/11, 12/18
Session Two: New Testament
1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5
Session Three: Means of Grace
4/16, 4/23, 4/30, 5/7, 5/21
Pentecost Sunday, May 28
Worship and Music Team Update
There are many moving parts in our worship. Worship Assistants are familiar to us all, as we either function in those roles or benefit from those who do the liturgically supportive work. The parts draw many of us in during the worship time as we go about the work of the people. This week's article focuses one of the roles.
There are three moving parts to the distribution once Pastor gives those communing the consecrated host.
Wine is poured into the disposable communion cup by the first communion assistant.
The second communion assistant gives the grape juice to those communion who do not drink wine.
The third communion assistant follows with a basket into which everyone deposits their used communion cup.
We hope that this description may encourage you to prayerfully consider stepping into one of these three roles by singing up from time to time.
Just email Gretta Williams at email@example.com if you have an interest in this opportunity to add to the worship experience at Peace Lutheran Church.
Our first Reformation Sunday worship service, held in collaboration with Hope Lutheran Church in Clinton, was a huge success. Reverend Faret and Pastor Eric both hope to continue looking for ways for our two faith communities to come together not only in worship but also in sharing Jesus Christ's love in our communities through service projects and other activities. Thank you especially to everyone who contributed their time and talents to worship, as well as those who contributed to the bounty of our post-worship fellowship meal.
Adult Inquiry Sessions (a.k.a. "New Member Classes")
Pastor Eric will be hosting three informal adult inquiry sessions the next three Saturdays (November 12, 19, and 26) for those who are discerning joining Peace Lutheran Church or desiring to learn more about the Lutheran tradition. Classes will meet in-person in the conference room and on Zoom from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Attending these sessions does not commit anyone to joining Peace.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 861 2478 0890
Tentative Holiday Worship Schedule
Sundays of Advent
Worship in-person and online at 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, December 24, 2022
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols with Special Children's Message
Worship in-person and online at 6:00 p.m.
Nativity of Our Lord
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Christmas Morning Worship with Holy Communion
Children are invited to bring one of their gifts for a blessing.
Worship in-person and online at 9:00 a.m.*
*Worship returns to normal time on Sunday, January 1, 2023