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Tuesday, March 7, 2017


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40 days of Lent: A journey to the Cross
Ash Wednesday on March 1 began the holy journey to the Cross that we call Lent. Lent is a time to put away the cares of the world and to follow our Lord and Savior to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the Tomb. A time to prepare our hearts, minds, bodies and souls to accept the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us. If we keep a Holy Lent, then the true meaning and joy of Easter permeates our life in fullness, because we have journeyed to the death that is Calvary; the sacrifice that is the Cross. We are thus empowered to the new life of the Resurrection.

In the penitential season of Lent, the Church asks the faithful to lay aside our own concerns and to remember what the price of Easter was and is. The Crucifixion of the only Son of God! Many Christians adopt a four-fold discipline of prayer, fasting, study, and almsgiving in Lent. This year, St. Andrew’s is offering several ways to help you along your Lenten journey.

Prayer
It is important that we set aside a few minutes each day to be with our God; to look at our lives and to seek his will for us. You cannot follow Christ unless you take time to ask where he is going. The Daily Office, available here, offers an excellent pattern for daily prayer, including special prayers for Lent. An order for The Daily Office is also found on Page 35 of The Book of Common Prayer.

Stations of the Cross to be offered Fridays
Also this Lent, Fr. Wil Verhoff will offer the Stations of the Cross at 6 p.m. on Fridays in Lent in the Sanctuary. A potluck supper following at 6:30 p.m. in the Gathering Area. If you plan to stay for supper, please bring a dish to share. For further information, please call Fr. Wil at 704-602-8810. A sign up sheet for potluck contributions will be at the Information Desk weekly.

Pray for the Church
Many of you already pray weekly for the Church, including our own parish, using the “Prayers for the Church” taken from the Sunday liturgy’s Prayers of the People, and included in “The Net” each week. If you don’t already do this, Lent would be an excellent time to start praying regularly for the Church, seeking God’s blessing on his people, and also his guidance as we seek to fulfill his mission in this place.

You can also click here to find resources for your Lenten journey, including a variety of online sources for prayers for the season of Lent.

Fasting
Fasting is not a popular concept in our time. Dieting, yes, but not fasting. Perhaps that is because we do not understand why we do it. In Lent, we fast in two ways. The first is known to most of us. We “give something up” for Lent.

Giving up something is another way of saying fasting. We fast from something. We generally give up something that we know we will miss so that the absence of it, the desire for it, will keep in our minds the sacrifice that Christ made for us: His very life. What we give up is not nearly so important as that we do give up something that we will miss. Sundays are feast days in Lent; a time when we can splurge a little and have what we gave up. This is because Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, when our Lord’s life was restored to him.

In addition to this kind of fasting, there are two fast days in the Anglican Church: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days we are asked to abstain from solid food from dawn to dusk. Of course broth, tomato soup, water and beverages are fine. But we abstain from solid food so that at least two days out of a year we understand what it means to be hungry (something most Americans don’t often feel). This helps us to keep in mind the plight of those who don’t have enough to eat, and also focuses our attention on the need to be “hungry” for the Gospel.

Please note: Young children and anyone with special medical problems should not attempt to fast. The rest of us can gain much spiritually by submitting ourselves to this discipline.

Study
Lent is also a time when we make time to learn more about the faith. This Lent, St. Andrew’s is once again offering a five-week parish-wide Lenten Study and Soup Supper Program on Tuesdays from 6:15 to 8 p.m., March 7 through April 4.

Lenten Study Program: Take the ‘Kindness Challenge’ this Lent!
Our 2017 Tuesday Lenten Study Program began Tuesday, March 7, and will continue on Tuesdays in Lent through April 4. Each evening will begin with a simple supper of soup and salad at 6:15 p.m., followed by a teaching by Fr. Ron Baird at around 7 p.m.. Participants will then break into small groups for discussion and reflection. Each evening will conclude with all ages coming together for a brief time of prayer and worship using the service of Compline.

We're focusing this year on how an intentional commitment to kindness during this Lenten season can enhance your relationships with your family and friends, at church, at work, and in other areas of your life. The study is based on the book, “The Kindness Challenge,” by best-selling author and speaker Shaunti Feldhahn, with whom Tally Whitehead,
St. Andrew’s director of christian formation, has worked for years. Shaunti has partnered with several Christian organizations and churches to encourage a movement of kindness in these often less than kind times. Fr. Ron will be highlighting one of the main points from the book on each of the five weeks of the Lenten Study Program. The main idea of the study is that by being intentionally kind for 30 continuous days, your attitude and behavior will become more kind toward another person, a relationship or organization (or even a country). For the purposes of Lent, we will focus on being more kind toward the church in general, and each person will be able to personalize their kindness journey.

The five topics for each week will be: Why Kindness, Nix the Negativity, Practice Praise, Carry out Generosity, and Superpower Kindness: Making it a Habit.

We're once again asking parishioners who are able to contribute to the weekly meals by bringing a soup or salad to share. Individuals and families, or small groups, may want to join together to take an evening to provide the food. Click here to register for the Lenten Study and Soup Supper program and/or to sign up to help provide fooSign-up sheets for these activities are also available in the Gathering Area.

As in past years, we’ll also be offering a younger kids program, with middle and high school youth being invited to help out there or join the adults in the Sanctuary.

There are also a wealth of resources available at Christian book stores and on the web, some of which are listed under Recommended readings for Lent.

Almsgiving
Almsgiving is historically the giving of gifts or money to the poor. There are several opportunities available to the parish this Lenten season to aid us in this discipline.

Mite Boxes for Matthew 25 Initiative to benefit "the least of these"
The Brotherhood of St. Andrew is sponsoring our annual Lenten mite box project, which this year will benefit the Anglican Church in North America's Matthew 25 Initiative, established for the purpose of expanding and developing ministries in North America that are engaged in working, living, and serving on the margins of society.

The Matthew 25 Initiative is currently funded by an anonymous donor, who reached out to Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North American (ACNA) with an offer of a dollar-for-dollar matching gift of up to $1 million if our Province can raise $1 million, to fund programs that reach some of the most vulnerable and under-resourced populations, fulfilling Jesus’ call to love “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:40)

In the spirit of the anonymous donor's generosity, the Brotherhood here at St. Andrew'shas graciously offered to match giving to the Matthew 28 initiative by our parish, up to $1,000!
There is already a lot of good work going on across the ACNA related to ministries of justice and mercy. The national church is finding that the younger generation in particular is energized and engaged around these topics and churches are reaching out to "the least of these" in their varied contexts. In fact, to date, 68 different ministries have applied for matching grants under the Matthew 25 Initiative; about 40 of these met the specific criteria and were awarded a matching grant.

Among them are two in Ohio: Not Wasted, a ministry of Holy Spirit Anglican Church in Akron that is committed to successful community reentry for women who have been incarcerated or in addiction through job skills training; and the St. Lazarus Mission, a nursing home Ministry in Dayton.

The Matthew 25 Initiative (M25i) is a growing movement of workers, leaders, practitioners, and ministries in the ACNA who are committed to expanding ministries of compassion and social justice, lived out in real time with real people. The M25i gathers resources, both human and financial, and multiplies them for the good of the Gospel and the ministry of Christ.

Click here to learn more about the Matthew 25 Initiative, and here to read more about the anonymous donor's story and motivation of this act of grace.

Special collections for the needy and the Common Ground Free Store
We will continue to collect items for the needy each on the following schedule:

• March 5 — Paper plates, cups, bowls; plastic silverware
• March 12 — Lemonade, coffee, sugar, trash bags, hot dog and buns (please place the hot dogs in the refrigerator)
• March 19 — Paper products (Paper towels, toilet paper, napkins & tissues)
• March 26 — Personal items (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, feminine hygiene items, etc.); diapers.
• April 2 — Paper plates, cups, bowls; plastic silverware
• April 9 — Lemonade, coffee, sugar, trash bags, hot dog and buns (please place the hot dogs in the refrigerator)

St. Andrew’s will also serve at the Common Ground Free Store in Delaware on Saturday, March 18. Why not join our amazing crew of volunteers from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day to help staff the store that morning, and serve a hot lunch to patrons. E-mail us for more information.

St. Andrew's Outreach team collecting items for school during cold and flu season
Flu season in Ohio can begin as early as October and run as late as March. Hospitalizations due to flu continue to increase across Ohio, and at least five children have died from flu-related illnesses, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The St. Andrew's Outreach committee, in an effort to help combat the spread of illness among local school children, is now collecting tissues, sanitary hand wipes and hand sanitizers to donate to Olentangy Meadows Elementary, an elementary school in our church community. Items may be placed in the barrel behind the Information Desk in the Narthex, next to the Common Ground collection basket.

Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu can become deadly when it progresses to pneumonia and respiratory failure with both children and the elderly particularly vulnerable. Click here for tips from the Ohio Department of Health about how to protect yourself, your family and others from the flu, including where you can still get the flu vaccine.

Parish Discretionary Fund for those in need in our midst
And, of course, our Parish Discretionary Fund can always use cash donations to help the poor and needy in our midst.

Baskets to collect items are in the Narthex. Contributions to the Discretionary Fund may be placed in the offering basket on Sundays. If you give cash, please place it in an envelope marked “Discretionary Fund”, and if you contribute via check, please mark “Discretionary Fund” in the memo section.

Come join us on this journey that is Lent. Walk with our Lord the steps to Calvary. And join with him in his glorious Resurrection!