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Did you miss February 7, 2021 Grace United Worship Service? Forward to a friend. The direct link is:
 
Grace United Church YouTube Channel (lists all services):
This week I write with an invitation to welcome us to the next season in our church year, inviting us to think about our personal commitments, what will energize us, help us to focus on deepening and strengthening our life with God. Historically people may have “given up” something for Lent. Many have been saying this whole past year has been one of sacrifice, of limits and giving up. As we edge through the tail of winter, appreciating these blessings of bright, sunny days, we move closer to spring, to rebirth, to growing together, to lifting up our hopes and feeling resilient in the possibilities.
I like to follow a daily practice called Pray As You Go. It is about thirteen minutes offering a song, a prayer, a piece of scripture read twice and framed with some reflection and questions. It is offered through the order of Jesuits in the United Kingdom. Their outreach letter this past week said “2020 challenged us, individually and collectively, in ways no-one could have imagined. It has confronted us with the question of whether we want to go back to how things were, or to ‘grow back better’. It has challenged us to reflect on what kind of people we truly desire to become and what kind of world we hope to pass on to future generations.”
 
So let’s move forward to grow back better in this season of Lent! You are invited to a pancake Shrove Tuesday supper on Tues. Feb. 16 at 6:00 P.M. via Zoom. Make your own pancakes and join us via Zoom to share a bit of levity in our week. If you don’t like or want pancakes or don’t have ingredients, just make whatever and join us. Drop in for a few minutes of come hang out for the hour that we can laugh and eat and fellowship together. I have to have a “hard cap” finish at 7:00 as some of us have a Board of Management meeting!
On Wednesday Feb. 17 we will observe Ash Wednesday. The pandemic is making it impossible to share ash made from previously burned palm branches which is what is seasonably done. Ash is traditionally mixed with a bit of oil. So thinking a little outside the box, I encourage you to have a few drops of oil of some kind, a cooking oil, an essential oil or whatever works for you and is safe to contact the skin. You may want to just use oil only. In lieu of ash, consider using a bit of potting soil or earth from your garden. We think of earth, the acknowledgement of the lands, our ancestors, ash to ash and dust to dust, rooted in creation.
 
Also a bit of water, a cloth, a candle, a piece of paper cut into a tear drop shape, or with a tear drop shape drawn on it and a pen or something to write with. If you want to have a photo of loved ones nearby, please have that ready. If that sounds like way to much, a bowl of water is sufficient or don’t bring any extras, just come as you are! Over the next weeks I will be making several Lenten ideas available .
 
Gifts of Grace
We are looking for any kinds of small handcrafts that we can make available for distribution to anyone who wants them (prayer squares - sewn, stitched, knit, crochet, fabric fun, mug rugs, candle mats, prayer mats, wooden crosses, cards, messages, magnets). Whatever your creativity suggests. Call or come to craft and chat Thursday on Zoom at 11.
 
Don’t forget fellowship on Zoom at 11:30 Feb. 14!
 
Watch for an announcement later in the week regarding worship for Sunday February 21. It will be Lent 1 and it will be Communion. Will it be on-line blended service? Back to two services live stream? Something else? We’ll let you know what the Board of Management decides. Don’t forget to plan to participate in worship Feb. 28 for the annual congregational meeting. (Details still to come)The annual reports will be available by Feb. 21.
 
Upcoming:
 
Sun. February 14 Transfiguration Sunday Valentine’s Day Thinking Day/Scouts service Baden-Powell Sunday (worship on-line Susan Sweet Lebeau preaching)
 
Mon. February 15 Family Day Creatively connect with those you love!
 
Tues. February 16 Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) (Grace congregational pancake supper from our homes on Zoom) Join us at 6:00 P.M. on Sharon’s Zoom
 
Wed. February 17 Ash Wednesday. Join us via Zoom for a short service of meditation and reflection at 7:00 P.M. on Sharon’s Zoom
Sun. February 21 Lent 1 Communion (Sharon preaching)
Sun. Feb. 28 Annual Congregation Meeting, A Worship Celebration of Grace United. All teams/committees leading
 
Sun. March 7 Lent 3 Susan Sweet Lebeau preaching
 
This is a struggling time for people. Everyone is carrying concerns and joys. Pray for all you love, for each other, for this community of faith and for needs locally, nationally and globally. Thank-you for all prayers.
 
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