(Yes, we still have snow!!!)

Saint Andrew's-in-the-Valley
Thursday MEMO
March 24, 2011

Services for this coming Sunday, March 27th and the third Sunday of Lent, will be at 8 and 10 AM, with Coffee Hour following both services and Child Care available at 10:00. We hope you will join us.

Our Lenten series, Holy Dying: Preparing for a "Good" Death, continues this week with session 3 on Wednesday, March 30, at 10:30 in the Prince Room. Joanne Rainville, Tamworth's community nurse, will be with us as guest and resource person as we explore Advanced Directions (living wills and health care proxies). We will close with a simple eucharist at noon, followed by brown bag lunch for anyone who would like to stay. All are welcome, regardless of whether you attended the previous sessions.

Update from the Treasurer: Thank you to all parishioners who have pledged to support St. Andrew's-in-the-Valley for 2011. We depend on your pledges to pay our bills on a weekly basis. Although money has been coming in each week, pledge income is currently about $3,800 less than where our budget needs it to be and our checking account is dangerously low on funds. If you have fallen behind with your pledge payments, please catch up now so that we can continue to pay our bills.
Pledges as of March 20
Budgeted Received Difference
$27,930 $24,145 ($3,785)
When we established the budget for 2011, we agreed to a projected $6,000+ deficit, believing that, through our combined generosity, gradually we would be able to retire that deficit over the course of the year through special gifts to the operating budget. Now would be a good time to step up to the plate. No matter the size, every gift is important and helps our church operate financially, which in turn supports our mission and work as Christ's heart and hands in the world. Thank you!

We continue to be profoundly mindful of the situation in Japan.
Episcopal Relief and Development has opened the "Japan Earthquake Response Fund" to collect donations for emergency relief to be provided through local partners in Japan. If you would like to contribute to the response efforts through ERD, checks may be made payable to Saint Andrew’s with Japan in the memo line. There are special envelopes available where you pick up your bulletin.

And this Sunday afternoon (March 27th)...an opportunity for a delicious meal in support of the Bearcamp Valley School and Children’s Center: The 19th Annual Taste of the Valley Food festival, at which the area’s most popular restaurants donate items from their menus. The first sitting is at 4.30-6pm, second sitting 6-7.30pm, at the Whittier House Restaurant. Cost: adults: $12.00 in advance; $13.50 at the door; children $5.00 in advance, $6.00 at the door. Families $30.00 in advance ; $35.00 at the door. Tickets are available at The Bearcamp Valley School and Children’s Center, or the Whittier House Restaurant, or call 323- 8300.

Looking ahead to next weekend...

On Saturday, April 2nd from 9 to 1, join us for a Lenten Quiet Day, Becoming Bread, a morning of prayer and reflection focused around the baking of bread. Please sign up on the sheet on the Parish Hall table or call or email the church office. Questions? Talk to Heidi or Gretchen. We do need to know how many will be attending so that we can be able to provide sufficient supplies.

Next Sunday, April 3rd, at 3PM plan to come and enjoy Music for an April Afternoon. This concert of instrumental and vocal music offered by gifted musicians from the local community will help support our organ maintenance fund. Invite your friends and celebrate spring!

Readings for Sunday: Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42

The Woman at the Well (John 4: 5-42)
Altar window, Church of the Messiah, Woods Hole, Mass.

Food for Thought from Jeremy Taylor, one of the Anglican divines of the 17th century. This passage is from The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying. Material from this book was the focus of this past Wednesday's session led by the Rev. Ellie McLaughlin. (Thank you, Ellie+, for introducing us to this "friend of God" and for contributing to this series!)

"In taking the accounts of your life, do not reckon by great distances, and by the periods of pleasure, or the satisfaction of your hopes, or by the stating of your desires; but let every intermedial day and hour pass with observation. He that recons he hath lived but so many harvests, thinks they come not often enough, and that they will go away too soon: some lose the day with longing for night, and night in waiting for day. Hope and fantastic expectations spend much of our lives: and while with passion we look for a coronation, or the death of an enemy, or a day of joy, passing from fancy to possession without any intermedial notices, we throw away a precious year, and use it but as the burden of our time, fit to be pared off and thrown away, that we may come at those little pleasures which first steal our hearts, and then steal our life.

"But I shall describe a living man [or woman], one that hath that life that distinguishes him from a fool or a bird, that which gives him a capacity next to angels, we shall find that even a good man lives not long, because it is long before he is born to this life, and longer yet before he hath a man's growth. 'He that can look upon death, and see its face with the same countenance with which he hears its story; that can endure all the labours of his life with his soul supporting his body; that can equally despise riches when he hath them and when he hath them not; that is not sadder if they lie in his neighbor's trunks, nor more brag if they shine around about his own walls; he that is neither moved with good fortune coming to him nor going from him; that can look upon another man's land evenly and pleasedly as if they were his own, and yet look upon his own, and use them too, just as if they were another man's; that neither spends his goods prodigally and like a fool, nor yet keeps them avariciously and like a wretch; that weighs not benefits by weight and number, but by the mind and circumstances of him that gives them; that never thinks his charity expensive if a worthy person be the receiver; he that does nothing for opinions sake, but every thing for conscience, being as curious of his thoughts as of his actings in the markets and theatres, and is as much in awe of himself as of a whole assembly; he that knows God looks on, and contrives his secret affairs as in the presence of God and His holy angels; that eats and drinks because he needs it, not that he may serve a lust or load his belly; he that is bountiful and cheerful to his friends, and charitable and apt to forgive his enemies; that loves his country, and endeavors nothing more that that he may do honour to God; this person may reckon his life to be the life of a man, and compute his months, not by the course of the sun, but the circle of his virtues; because these are such things which fools and children and birds an beasts cannot have; these are therefore the actions of life, because they are the seeds of immortality."

See you in church!
Lent began with Jesus in the desert Click HERE for Audio.

Saint Andrew's-in-the-Valley
Thursday MEMO

March 20, 2011

Services for this coming Sunday, March 20th, the second Sunday of Lent, will be at 8 and 10 AM, with coffee hours following both services.

The later service will be followed by a showing of the DVD Holding Our Own: Embracing the end of life, that was seen by the Wednesday discussion group, "Holy Dying." But the snowy weather kept a number of people away. The film evoked these unsolicited comments: “Everyone I know should see it.” “We all need to buy copies to share with our families.” "Stunning!" We all experienced it as profoundly heartening, and hope-filled, not to mention beautiful. So…we will be showing it again this Sunday after the 10:00 service. If you know anyone who might die some day (yourself included), consider staying for the extra hour and viewing it. You will not be disappointed.

Session Two of our series on holy dying will be this Wednesday at 10:30. The Rev. Ellie McLaughlin will be our guest resource person as we explore what our church, our tradition, and our faith have to offer us by means of preparing for a “good” and holy death. We will close with a simple eucharist at noon, followed by brown bag lunch for anyone who would like to stay. All are welcome.

We are all profoundly mindful of the situation in Japan. If you would like to contribute to the response efforts through Episcopal Relief and Development, checks may be made payable to Saint Andrew’s with Japan in the memo line. Special envelopes are available on the bulletin tables.

The Lenten issues of The Mountain Top are in the parish mail boxes of winter regulars. Others have been mailed out. To view it now and to enjoy color photos click on The Mountain Top under "other links to the upper left, and then on Lent - Easter 2011.

A Lenten “Quiet Day,” a morning of prayer, reflection and bread baking from 9 to 1 on Saturday, April 2nd. Please sign up on the list in the Parish Hall or call the office.

Mark you calendars! Two weeks from today, April 3rd, at 3PM come enjoy Music for an April Afternoon – a concert of instrument and vocal music. Proceeds will go to our organ maintenance fund. We need your help to get the word out. There are fliers available in the Parish Hall for posting in area bulletin boards.

Readings for Sunday: Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121, Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, John 3:1-17

Food for contemplation as we move forward into this Lent. As the snow thaws to mud and the sap runs in the trees, may we have the grace to notice that it runs in ourselves as well.

Mornings at Blackwater, by Mary Oliver from her collection "Red Bird," 2008
For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world,
And live your life.

See you in church!
Gathering to burn last year's palms for our Ash Wednesday ashes.

Saint Andrew's-in-the-Valley

Thursday MEMO

March 10, 2011

Time to Spring Ahead!!! Remember to set your clocks ahead on Saturday evening before you retire for the night. We don’t want you late for church!

This coming Sunday, March 13th and the First Sunday of Lent, we will have services and 8 and 10, both followed by coffee hour. We hope you will join us for worship and sociability.

Special envelopes will be included in the bulletins this Sunday inviting you to make a contribution to the "Rector's Discretionary Fund."
The need for assistance with rent, medications, transportation, and utilities has been great this winter, leaving the Discretionary Fund close to bare. As the Ash Wednesday reading from Isaiah 58 reminded us, what is the real fast that God requires of us? Is it not to loose the bonds of injustice, to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the homeless poor into your house, and when you see the naked, to clothe them? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and you shall be called the repairer of the breach and the restorer of streets to live in.

Whether we are in our 20s, our 50s, or our 80s, at some point each of us will die. The question is not if; the question is whether we will be prepared for a "good" death? What do we mean by a "good" death anyway? How will our faith sustain us in that process? What do we need to do to be ready?
This coming Wednesday, March 16th, at 10:30 AM we will begin a five-session series, Holy Dying: Preparing for a Good Death. Please do not be intimidated by the title! What better time than now to explore this together, what ever your age or state of health?
Our first session will begin with a 60 minute film “Holding Our Own: Embracing the End of Life.” I think you will find that this extraordinary film, which focuses on the work of a fabric artist who does portraits of dying people and a hospice choir, will open our hearts in some surprising and life-giving ways to the profound joy, beauty, and deep love that can be God’s surprising gifts at end-of-life times.
In the subsequent sessions we will explore what our Christian faith says about death and dying, how living our faith now might equip us for dying, advanced directives and wills, our fears and hopes about our own death, and how we would like to have our lives celebrated (including funeral and burial possibilities).
Our Wednesday morning presentations/discussions will be followed by an informal eucharist and bag lunch. Each session will stand on its own so you are welcome to attend whichever ones work for you, but my hope is that most people will plan on attending the series. please indicate your interest by signing up on the list on the table in the Parish Hall or by calling the office.

Lenten Quiet Day planned for April 2nd. This morning of prayer and reflection will focus around the making and baking of bread. Join us beginning at 9 on Saturday, April 2nd as we allow the metaphors offered in the wheat, water, salt, honey, and yeast to work in us as we work the ingredients into bread, bringing forth life and giving growth. Please sign up on the sheet on the Parish Hall table, or call the office. Questions? Talk to Heidi or Gretchen.

Thanks go to the FUN-Raising Committee for the terrific Cajun food, the wonderful decorations, and delightful Mardi Gras party spirit at last Friday's dinner. If you missed the festivities, there are a few pictures follow. There are more posted on the Parish Picture Board. Unfortunately, attendance was lower than we had anticipated, resulting in less income to the parish and less for outreach. Were you voting with your feet and really wanted pancakes? Was it the night? The menu? Or just coincidence? Let us know. Your input helps the committee plan effectively.

Readings for Sunday: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Psalm 32, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11

Food for thought, especially if you missed church on Ash Wednesday, but even if you were there...Take out your Book of Common Prayer, turn to page 265 and read the paragraph that extends an invitation to the observance of a Holy Lent. How will you respond to that invitation? Do you sense a call to greater simplicity in your life? Or more thoughtful environmental stewardship? Or greater generosity? As you claim your Lenten direction, pay attention to the joy you experience in it. I doubt that God calls very many of us to a dour season, and noticing our joy is likely to help deepen our commitment and open us to God's surprising grace!

See you in church!
Blessings, Heidi+

Friday night at 6:00 is the Mardi Gras Dinner! Don't miss it!

Saint Andrew's-in-the-Valley

Thursday MEMO
March 3, 2011

This coming Sunday, March 6th and the Last Sunday after Pentecost, we will have ONE service only at 9:00 followed by coffee hour hosted by the Altar Guild. This is the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent. We hope you will join us for worship as we sing our last Alleluias until Easter!

Friday, March 4th: It's Mardi Gras Dinner Night!!! Bring your family and friends and join us for our pre-Lent party time with beads, masks, and music! The meal will be served a 6 PM. The menu is flavorful New Orleans fare, but fear not...it won't all be spicy! $10 for folks over 12; $2 for children. If you have masks or beads or wild costumes, now's the time!!! This is the first of our 2011 FUN-Raising dinners. 50% of proceeds will go to outreach; 50% stays with the church to support our mission to the community and the world. See you there!

Do you know anyone who could use a simple computer desk? As a result of rearranging and sprucing up my office, I no longer need the table-top style computer desk. (It's a 2' x 5' blond wooden desk top in excellent condition with an attached keyboard drawer, designed to straddle two file cabinets.) Email me or call the office if you're interested.

If it's Mardi Gras, can Ash Wednesday be far behind? Our feasting Friday evening (and in the four days following) is designed to use up all the fats, sugar, and other exotic goodies in our cupboards and give us one last wild fling before focusing ourselves for a Holy Lent.

On Wednesday (March 9th) we will gather at noon and at 5 o'clock to receive the sign of the cross on our foreheads in ashes -- a reminder "that we are but dust and to dust we will return." We will not live forever and it is time to take responsibility for the ways in which we have "missed the mark" (one of the Hebrew ways of talking about sin). The noon service will be a simple spoken liturgy with imposition of ashes and Holy Eucharist. At the 5 o'clock service we will begin the liturgy on the steps of the church where we will burn our palms left from last year, and then proceed with the Ash Wednesday liturgy of the day which will include hymns, imposition of ashes, and eucharist. The 5 pm schedule will allow people to worship together, then proceed to the various Town Meetings that are scheduled for that evening.

If you have dried palms tucked behind pictures or serving as bookmarks, now's the time to bring them in. There's a basket to receive them on the piano in the transept.

An opportunity to support the people of Haiti: Elizabeth Wiesner, a member of the parish, writes in support of her brother-in-law’s work with an invitation to help: "Dave Sargent, along with seven other men, is on his way to Haiti for his second trip. They are going to Nazon village and will be helping to rebuild an orphanage in Nafca village which was razed during the earthquake. Dave has asked me to help by providing supplies that they can take along for the children, who range in age from newborn to 16 years.
The following is a partial list of things that are needed:
– Clothes: underwear, T shirts, shorts, dresses, socks.
– Hair barrettes, beads to make necklaces or bracelets, fancy rubber bands for the girls.
– Pillowcases, towels, sheets, washcloths, etc.
– Medicated (unscented) wipes, medicated powder ( i.e. gold bond), and ointment such as balmex for the babies
– Body soap, shampoo, chapstick [nothing perfumed, which attracts mosquitoes, so no nail polish, no perfumes, or makeup]
– Toys, small stuffed animals, paper supplies, crayons, pencils, pens, coloring books, picture books."

Elizabeth will collect the items from the church and take them to Dave. All of the contributions need to be in by March 15, 2011. Financial donations will also be welcomed. These will be used to help defray the cost of the trip, and for food and medications for the people who are mostly stricken with typhus. There are two doctors who are writing prescriptions, but the medications have to be purchased in the US. Checks should be made out to “FCCO, Haiti Trip.” Also, please include these men and their mission in your prayers.
Many thanks – on behalf of Elizabeth, the team, and the Haitian recipients!

Food for thought at the turning of the season...
Lent invites us to a 40-day period of intentional focus -- a season of penitence and fasting -- in preparation for the days on which we will remember and celebrate our Lord's Passion and Resurrection (Holy Week and Easter). If traditional forms of penitence and fasting do not speak to you, these next few days are the time to consider what practices might interrupt your "business as usual" and call you to simplicity, generosity, prayer, and reflection. What about cutting out extraneous TV watching or web searching, and using that time to consider the meditation of the day in the collection for the season from Episcopal Relief and Development that is in your church mail box? What about giving up complaining? (Saint Benedict considers "no grumbling" to be a cornerstone of healthy community life.) What about tossing the catalogs that appear in your mailbox directly into the recycling bin, and spend the five minutes reflecting on what it is that so pulls you to want to leaf through them? What about getting enough sleep? Or sending a note of appreciation every day to someone who wouldn't expect it? Or committing to preparing simple, tasty, low-meat meals, beginning every meal with a prayer of thanksgiving, and eating slowly, paying appreciative attention to each and every bite, then make a financial contribution that will provide food to someone who is truly hungry?
And once you have made a decision about a single modest practice that you would like to commit to during Lent, why not tell someone in the church your plan, ask for their prayers, and inquire as to how they plan to mark the season (offering your prayers). Together, let us move into a Holy Lent.

Readings for Sunday: Exodus 24:12-18, Psalm 2, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Mathew 17:1-9

See you in church!
Blessings, Heidi+