FROM PASTOR ANN MARIE WINTERS:
“…to live without him is the real death,…to die with him is the only life.” Frederick Buechner in The Magnificent Defeat.
We do not have to look far to see people living without Christ, do we? How many try to fill their lives with things, excitements, or substances because they do not know what to do with their emptiness? Jesus Christ is the only one able to fill that empty space in the soul, and to bring spiritual life for which so many yearn. Without the presence of Christ, a person is vulnerable to a great many dangerous forces, including sin and death. As Frederick Buechner has written, “to live without him is real death.”
This Lent, the Word of God has called us to pray and fast and “give alms” to the poor. “Do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards the needy. Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:8-11). Sisters and brothers, it costs something of us to open our hands to the poor when we see their suffering. But when suffering pains our hearts, we share in the pain of our Lord himself. He calls us to pick up our cross and to follow him. “To die with him,” says Buechner, “is the only life.”
When you read this letter, if you have not yet made a great effort to carry the cross with the Lord through prayer, fasting, and giving alms – to open your heart to the poor and needy – it is still not too late. The world of poverty and suffering around us is our Good Friday. “…to live without him is the real death,…to die with him is the only life.”
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:25-26.
Pastor Ann Marie Winters
ST. PAUL HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE:
April 13 – Maundy Thursday, 6:00 pm Chicken Dinner, 7:15 pm Worship
April 14 – Good Friday, 8:00 pm Worship
April 15 (Saturday) – Easter Vigil, 8:00 pm Worship
April 16 – Easter Sunday, 10:30 am Worship
MAUNDY THURSDAY CHICKEN DINNER – APRIL 13:
This year we are having our traditional Chicken Dinner on Maundy Thursday, April 13, in support of our youth, who will set up, serve you, and clean up. Of course we have Chef Tom Skoczylas and sous-chef Peggy Skoczylas and a team of catechism parents and other kitchen aids who will prepare our delicious meal of chicken breast, green beans, potatoes, salad, cake, and punch/coffee. Tickets are available after services; adults are $10.00 and children under 12 are $5.00. The Maundy Thursday worship service will begin at 7:15 pm to give a little extra time for eating and cleaning up before worship begins. A big thank you (in advance) goes out to everyone involved in this effort which supports mission work by our youth! This is also a Thrivent Financial action team project.
2017 GRADUATING SENIORS (HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE):
We will honor our graduating seniors at our Worship service on Sunday, June 11. Your St. Paul family would like to know how you are doing and what your future plans might be after graduation. Parents of graduates, please ask your son/daughter to submit a brief bio statement to the parish secretary, Lynn Golen (email@example.com), in the church office by May 1 to be featured in our newsletter and announcements. If more information is needed, please ask Lynn or Debbie Groves. Congratulations!
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE ELCA SYNOD HAPPENINGS?
The Synod Assembly this year is June 9-10 at the Knight Center in Akron. Pastors are always required to attend, and it is recommended that 2 lay people from each congregation also attend. The cost for early registration is $160 before the deadline of May 15. Is anyone willing to attend with Pastor Ann Marie as a delegate from St. Paul? It would be so nice to have your participation! Please contact Pastor Ann Marie prior to the deadline.
FROM PASTOR WILLIAM D. LEITCH:
So much is happening in the greater Warren area that concerns our churches. So much is happening that concerns the Trumbull Area Lutheran Coalition, our twelve ELCA congregations in Trumbull County. There is so much happening that concerns our Shared Ministry with Emmanuel, Living Lord, and St. Paul.
All the churches have been invited to participate in prayer meetings concerning the city of Warren. The mayor initiated the first prayer meeting in February. More meetings are planned. But how is God calling us?
There is concern for the violence, heroin, and poverty in Warren. How is God calling us as the Church to make a difference? It seems obvious to me that God would want the Church to be the leader in caring for the community. Wouldn’t God want us to be the calm in the storm? Wouldn’t God want us to welcome those who are struggling and to walk with them toward something more stable, secure, and hopeful?
Yet we tend to be turned in on ourselves and our survival. Does that cause us to be blind to our neighbor? How do we care for the widow, the orphan, the addict, the convict, the elderly, our children, our neighbors, our families? How do we keep up the maintenance on our buildings and on our every relationship? It can seem overwhelming and one might prefer to just turn in on one’s self and give up. That would be sad because we cannot do what God is calling us to do all by ourselves. Some are ready to follow God’s call, but they cannot do it alone.
There are people who are reaching out to us and offering a hand to help as God would call us to help. Do you see them? Do you hear them?
We have Lutheran churches ready to close their doors. Who will invite and welcome them to a new family of God? I think that Emmanuel, Living Lord, and St. Paul would delight in having more folks join us, but have you invited that neighbor? As I write this, I wonder who even knows what I am talking about.
There are people who are ready to help, but need a space, a home, in which to carry out that ministry. Do you see them? There are people who want to walk through our doors. Will you invite them? There are widows and orphans, addicts, convicts, elderly – all who want a place to call home. Are they welcome? How do we show them? How do we lead them?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
We are called God’s agents. We are the ones who are to be calling people to us as Jesus called.
LIVING LORD HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE:
April 13 – Maundy Thursday, 7:00 pm Worship w/1st Communion
April 14 – Good Friday, 7:00 pm Worship
April 16 – Easter Sunday, 8:00 & 10:30 am Worship; 9:00 am Easter Brunch
CAMP FREDERICK DINNER DANCE FUNDRAISER:
Camp Frederick will hold a Dinner Dance Fundraiser on Saturday, April, 1, beginning at 6:00 pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 3300 Canfield Road, Youngstown, OH 44511. The Roaring Twenties Dinner Dance will be an evening of food, dancing, auctions, and fun! Funds raised will go to support the sending of kids to Camp. The Dinner Dance will start at 6:00 pm with hors d’oeuvres and time to peruse the silent auction and basket raffle items. Dinner will begin at 7:00 pm followed by the silent auction winners, raffle, and dancing. There are many different ways to support Camp Frederick through the Dinner Dance. You can attend the dance, be a sponsor, or donate items for the auctions. We are also going to have a “wine pull”. Donations of bottles of wine may be dropped off anytime at Camp Frederick or given to a board member. Please consider helping with the ministry of Camp Frederick by participating in one of the ways listed above. For more information, call 330-227-3633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in attending the Dinner Dance, tickets are $35.00; please see Pastor Bill to purchase your tickets.