March 27, 2016 is Easter Sunday, the third of the 4 major annual Christian festivals (the others being Christmas, Epiphany, and Pentecost). Easter is the joyful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24.1-53, and parallels). On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the power and love of God, which triumphed over the forces of evil and death, reversing the tragic events of Good Friday. We also re-live the joy of Jesus’ first disciples, as they learned that Jesus was indeed alive again. As well, we celebrate the promise that all who believe in Jesus will themselves be raised from death to eternal life, just as he was.
Easter is the oldest and greatest of our Christian festivals. The date of Easter Sunday is “movable”, which means that it changes every year. However, the season of Easter is of fixed length, comprising 50 days (8 Sundays), beginning on Easter Sunday and ending on Pentecost, the festival celebrating the giving of the Holy Spirit.
The symbolic color for Easter is white, signifying joy and celebration.
The final week of the Season of Lent, is called Holy Week. During this week, we commemorate the events of Jesus’ Passion (suffering) in Jerusalem. The significant days in Holy Week are:
- Palm/Passion Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem (Luke 19.28-44 and parallels)
- Maundy (or Holy) Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, his institution of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and his arrest in Gethsemane (Luke 22.7-65 and parallels)
- Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus’ interrogations by the Sanhedrin (the Jewish religious council), Pontius Pilate (the Roman governor), and Herod Antipas (the ruler of Galilee); his crucifixion and death; and his burial (Luke 22.66 – 23.56 and parallels)
The symbolic color for Holy Week is red, signifying blood, which reminds us of Jesus’ suffering and death — the sacrifice that allows our sin to be forgiven, making it possible for us to be reconciled to God
Regarding the Guild – With the recent dissolution of the Ladies’ Evening Guild, the continuation of its activities is yet to be decided. Because of this, the Easter Bake Sale and the congregational noon meal (announced in the March Newsletter) have been canceled. Funds raised from these two events were to be used to sponsor the Guild’s Ethiopian foster daughter, Mahlat. There is enough money remaining in the Guild’s bank account to sponsor her for one more year. At the Guild’s final meeting, the remaining members decided to use this money to continue sponsoring Mahlat for this year. The members of the Guild thank the congregation for all its past help and support.
Mission and Outreach Committee – In response to the suggestion made at the Annual Meeting last Sunday, the Session has decided to establish a new “Mission and Outreach Committee”. It will be a committee of the Session, and will be responsible for promoting mission and outreach in the congregation, and for giving leadership in undertaking various mission and outreach projects. The details of the committee’s work will depend on the interests of the people who choose to be involved. Anyone in the congregation who’s interested in this part of the congregation’s life and work is invited to join the committee. A sign-up sheet has been set out on the music stand at the south entrance. You will be contacted within the next week regarding the committee’s first meeting. Eventually, the committee will propose its own terms of reference; but, for the time being, it is understood that people will serve on the committee for a year at a time (that is, a one-year term), from summer to summer (as is also the case with the Worship Committee
March 8 is International Women’s Day
Simiona, Santa, Isaura and Leona are Maya-Mam women living in Guatemala. Unfortunately, like many other indigenous women striving to provide for their families, they are faced with discrimination, unequal treatment and the unrelenting cycle of poverty. Through the local Presbyterian World Service & Development-supported group called United for Development, however, their lives have transformed. They are learning how to properly raise livestock, produce organic fertilizers and diversify crops to increase their yields. After receiving training in small business development, they are also empowered to use their household income to support their families and community. Through the program, Simiona, Santa, Isaura and Leona are inspired to claim their rights and make a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of those around them.
PWS&D supports women’s empowerment