April 30, 2015

Thursday MEMO
 Don't miss the P.S. at the close of this post.

Join us this Sunday, May 3rd, for our return to our restored sanctuary! ONE Service only at 9:00 am.  In the spirit of celebration, we have declared it (optional) “dress-up” Sunday! It’s not required, but if you’d enjoy putting on your spiffy duds, dresses, and hats, please do!  Who knows? Maybe we’ll have a few haberdashery awards!

Daffodils, please!!! We would like to enliven our worship space with daffodils, and perhaps a few branches of forsythia, this Sunday. If you have some to offer, please call Gretchen (323-7459) or Heidi (367-8220) and arrange a time for drop-off or pick-up. We don’t need a lot from any one person, but if you have six or twelve to space, it would be great! Thanks.

Readings for this Sunday: Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; 1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8. 

Set design in the works
As of Thursday morning there were still a few tickets available for tomorrow evening’s Murder Mystery Dinner, May Day at the Stone Cottage Pub. Call the office right away to reserve. Reminder for all attending: If you have yet to pay for your tickets, plan to arrive at 5:45. The show begins at 6 o’clock sharp.

Mark your calendar: The Lakes Region Convocation will hold a shared Ascension Day service on Thursday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at St. Mark's Church in Ashland. Ascension Day is the “Principal Feast” of the church year that falls on the Thursday before the Seventh Sunday of Easter. We will arrange details for car-pooling when the date is closer.

Food for thought…
I have been thinking a lot about this little group of Nepalese children this week. I took the picture in 1976 when I was on a three-week trek out of Pokhara (near the epicenter of last week’s earthquake) up to the Tibetan border. Then, as now, there are virtually no roads into the mountain villages, only well-worn footpaths used by locals, their flocks, herds, and pack animals, and trekkers. As you can see from the picture, much of the region is dry and barren. Nevertheless, children find ways to amuse themselves with simple games with sticks and rocks and versions of tag. I stopped long enough with this little group to goof around with them a bit (I was a total failure at their stick game, which amused them no end!), and they were very pleased to pose for me at the end of our time playing together.
I have this picture near my desk in my study at home and have thought about them often during these intervening years – their wonderful individual differences, their apparent ethnic diversity, their warmth and eagerness to connect. That was almost 40 years ago. They would be in their 40s and 50s now, if they are still alive. Even under the best of circumstances, lifetimes are shorter there than here.
I will never know if last week’s terrible earthquake took the lives of all of them and their children, some of them, or none. Perhaps some are working feverishly with rescue efforts as I write. Some are tending their wounded and others are struggling for life. No one would have escaped unscathed emotionally. All, I am sure, are praying.
Meanwhile, we here at Saint Andrew’s have been working hard to recover from our comparatively trivial “plaster fall.” The earthquake in Nepal certainly puts our situation in perspective: No one was hurt, we were slightly inconvenienced, and almost all the repairs covered by insurance. Privilege and geological good luck. I invite you to hold these seven lovely faces in your thoughts and prayers and may their specificity lead you to respond.
We will continue to lift the people of Nepal in our prayers, but I also encourage each of us, as we are individually able, to contribute financially to the relief effort. Episcopal Relief and Development is collaborating with regional teams to support the relief and ultimate effort. For more specific details, click here:  http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/04/27/episcopal-relief-development-issues-statement-on-nepal-earthquake/
Checks can be made to Saint Andrew’s Church, with “ERD Nepal Earthquake Relief” in the memo line. Contribution envelopes will also be available on Sunday. In contributing through the church, we will have the satisfaction of knowing our combined generosity.
May the newness of life that we know in the Risen One be made manifest where it is most needed through our gifts and prayers.
Eastertide blessings,

PS. Two images of our last sweet Sunday worshiping in the Parish Hall.
What a gift to have this as our alternate sanctuary space! 
Special thanks to those whose gifts of vision, energy, and creativity made it possible, especially members of the Liturgy Committee, the Altar Guild, the Choir, Bernice (for graciously adjusting to a borrowed electronic keyboard),  sound techs Bill May and Duane Dale, Debra, and all who helped prepare the space each week by arranging chairs and distributing books.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid....
One thing have I asked of the Lord;
One thing I seek;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
Psalm 27:1, 5-6

April 23, 2015

Thank you, George for clearing away a winter’s worth of sand!
Services for this coming Sunday, April 26th, The Fourth Sunday of Easter and Good Shepherd Sunday, will be at 8 and 10 am. We hope you will join us for worship and fellowship as we continue our celebration of the Paschal Feast – for the last time in the Parish Hall! How blessed we’ve been to have such suitable and beautiful alternative worship space during this time of renovation!

Readings for this Sunday: Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18.

May Day at the Stone Cottage Pub
 Next Friday, May 1, is the night! Have you reserved your tickets for the Murder Mystery Dinner? The Stone Church Players and Chefs are back, this year with an Irish theme! It's the height of the Beltane Festival (May Day) with the locals making merry at the Stone Cottage Pub when a well-known local is discovered to be missing. As always, the audience will need to do with some sleuthing of their own and will be asked to weigh in on who is the culprit! In good pub tradition, the evening opens and closes with Irish ballad-singing by cast members Chris and Carolyn Boldt, Guests are requested to arrive in time to be seated before the 6 pm start! You are welcome to bring their own beer or wine. Other beverages will be provided. Reserve your tickets by calling the church at 323-8515 or purchase them during Coffee Hour on Sunday.( Keep in mind that the past two years, we’ve sold out and had to turn folks away.) Want to help with serving or clean-up? Talk to Chris Mills or Carol Tubman.
SANCTUARY PROGRESS: We’re closing in on completion! As you can see from the picture, the painters have started and will be finished by early next week, at which point, we will move back in!!!
A week from this coming Sunday, May 3rd, we will have ONE Service only at 9:00 am and we have declared it (optional) “dress-up” Sunday, in honor of our return to the Sanctuary! It’s not required, but if you’d enjoy putting on your spiffy duds, dresses, and hats, please do!  Who knows? Maybe we’ll have a few haberdashery awards!
Daffodils, anyone? On May 3rd, when we return to the sanctuary for our worship, it would be wonderful to have fresh daffodils for the altar and the windows. Might your garden have a few to share? It doesn’t have to be lots from any one garden. Please talk to Gretchen (323-7459) or Heidi (323-8515) if you think you might have some.
Garden help opportunity!!! Our official Spring All-Parish Clean-up Time is still a few weeks away (May 17), but our bulbs and perennial beds desperately need to be gently raked clear of old growth and dead leaves. If a few of us come over any time (the sooner the better) and put in as little as half an hour per person, the job will be done and the blossoms will flourish!  Thanks!
Food for thought…
As I write this on Wednesday, our Earth Day observance at Morning Prayer earlier today is still reverberating in my soul. In recent years the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has added John Muir (Naturalist and Writer) and Hudson Stuck (Priest and Environmentalist) to our “Calendar of Lesser Saints.” I’m sure it is no coincidence that April 22 (Earth Day) was appointed as their day of observation. All the scripture readings appointed for today reflect images of the natural world – from the sublime description (in Revelation) of the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit and leaves “for the healing of the nations,” to the crashing, dangerous, life-threatening winds, storm clouds, and thunderbolts (Psalm 18 and Luke 8) – all manifestations of God’s creativity, power, beauty, and ultimately saving grace. As we regularly do in our small, Wednesday morning congregation, we shared our reflections – this time focusing on our own experiences with natural events and situations over the course of our lives that had compelled and spontaneously drawn each of us to places of spiritual encounter.
In honor of Earth Day, I invite you to go outside (regardless of the weather – God created all of it and you haven’t melted yet!) and discover a bit of the messiness and sacred power in the earth, trees, water, and air. I also encourage you to scan your own life experiences with the natural world for times that may be important to your spiritual formation. Have you, in the darkness of night, eased yourself into a snowbank, or onto damp summer grass, or the sand of the beach to lie there in silent awe at the star-filled heavens knowing that you are beloved and one with the universe? In a moment of perplexity, have you run up a mountain or escaped to a sacred place (a garden, perhaps) – because “you knew you had to” to regain your equilibrium, not realizing until days or even years later, it was God calling you and God who met you when you arrived? Have you ever been so awed by holding something small and perfect in the palm of your hand (a butterfly, a beach stone, a newborn creature of any species) – or has Dame Julian of Norwich did, a hazelnut – that tears welled up in your eyes and your understanding of the world was changed?
Do it! And don’t hesitate to share your stories … with me or others.
Give thanks to our God who is good; and whose love endures for ever!
Eastertide blessings,

April 16, 2015

"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle dove [or maybe the spring peepers]
is heard in our land." [Song of Solomon 2:12]

Services for this coming Sunday, April 19th, The Third Sunday of Easter, will be at 8 and 10 am. We hope you will join us for worship and fellowship as we continue our celebration of the Easter season!
Readings for this Sunday: Acts 3:12-19 Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48.
The organ remains under wraps awaiting the upcoming painting.
Update on the sanctuary:
I’m pleased to report that we are making excellent progress! The insulation is now complete, and Ron Roof and his team of plasterers have done a beautiful job replacing, repairing, and skim-coating where needed in the chancel and the sanctuary. The scaffolding has been removed. Thanks to the energy, skill, and generosity of George & Patti Rau, Deb Hoyt, and her son Brian, the cleaning is coming along well. They’ve put in quite a few hours dusting, vacuuming, sponging, and wet-mopping, but Deb has in mind to do a couple more rounds.
Next step: Our painter, Skip Nason, will be in this coming week to do the painting. Deb has in mind to do more work on the bare pews, and waxing on the floors once the painter is done. Then the altars, chairs, lectern, our cushions and needlepoint kneelers, and the books can come back in. What will remain at that point is the installation of new lighting. We may have to live with bare bulbs for a bit longer before the electrical work can be completed. At the moment, we are hoping to be back in the church by the first Sunday in May. 
We’ll keep you posted!
May Day at the Stone Cottage Pub:
A Murder Mystery Dinner.

Get your tickets now! The Stone Church Players and chefs are back for our fourth Annual Murder Mystery Dinner, this year with an Irish theme! It's the height of the Beltane Festival (May Day) with the locals making merry at the Stone Cottage Pub. But where is the pub's owner Andy O'Malley? Join us for music, Irish fare and a fair bit of sleuthing on May 1st, 2015 at 6 pm sharp! Reservations made be made by calling the church at 323-8515. Want to be part of the production or the meal? Talk to Chris Mills or Carol Tubman.
Is this your bell? (It's about 3 inches tall.) We rang in our Alleluias with lots of bells at the Easter Vigil, and someone forgot to reclaim this one. It's in Heidi's office.
Special thanks to Lisa Thompson and Gretchen Behr-Svendsen for officiating for last Sunday’s services of Morning Prayer, and for Val May’s willingness to step in at the last minute to provide harp and musical leadership. We are indeed blessed to have a parish that understands the range of effective lay ministry. Duane and I are grateful for the wonderful and refreshing family time in Wisconsin.

Food for thought in Eastertide from Br. David Vryhof , SSJE…
 “Abide in me as I abide in you.” In these few words Jesus reveals the secret of the abundant life he is bringing into the world. This is the secret not only to our own fulfillment, but also to our fruitfulness, our ability to positively influence others by bringing them to share in the Divine Life.

Remember, the Easter celebration of the Risen Christ in our midst continues for 50 days!
 See you in church.
Easter Blessings, Heidi+

April 9, 2015

Services for this coming Sunday, April 12th and the Second Sunday of Easter, will be at 8 o'clock (Prince Room) and 10 o'clock (Parish Hall). Each will be followed by a coffee hour. We hope you will join us for worship and fellowship.
Readings for this Sunday: Acts 4:32-35, Psalm 133, 1 John 1:1-2:2, John 20: 19-31

 A reminder for all who are interested: The Diocesan Lay Leadership Institute will be held on Saturday, May 9. The registration deadline is April 15. The event is held at Rundlett Middle School in Concord, NH. New details have been posted to the diocesan website.  All current or potential wardens and vestry members are invited to attend. A group of us from St. Andrew’s will be attending. Questions? Talk to Carol Tubman.
Profound thanks to all who contributed so generously in time, talent, and spirit to our Holy Week and Easter services: Altar Guild members, Bernice, the choir, Val (who played harp for Maundy Thursday), Deb (in the office, who rolled so graciously with the complexities of bulletins), all lectors and those who served at the altar, the DeGroot family (for so generously making their log home available to us for the Easter Vigil), Carol Tubman and Chris Mills (for hosting the delicious Dinner Bell Easter feast), and all of you who by your prayer and presence journeyed from Ash Wednesday, through Lent and Holy Week,  to the joy of Easter.
Special thanks to Duane for capturing so much of this in pictures!





Gathering in the dark

Kindling the Easter fire

"Sanctify this new fire..."

Lighting the Paschal Candle

Passing the light

The Exsultet
"Rejoice, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, and let your trumpets shout salvation!"
"We thank you, Father, for the water of baptism.
In it we are buried with Christ in his death.
By it we share in his resurrection."
We splash water!

"The Peace of the Lord be always with you!"

"You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever!"

He broke bread, gave it to his friends and said, "Take. Eat."


Our Parish Hall sanctuary

"May God, who through the water of baptism has raised us from sin
to newness of life, make you holy and worthy to be united with Christ for ever. Amen.
Your worship space transformation team

 Food for thought and meditation in this Easter season…
From Cesar Chavez: “It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life and joy.”
What enables you to give your life and joy to others?
Living God, long ago faithful women proclaimed the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, and the world was changed forever: Teach us to keep faith with them, that our witness may be as bold, our love as deep, and our faith as true. Amen.
Easter blessings,

April 2, 2015

"Prince Room Chapel"
This evening, Maundy Thursday, we will gather in the Prince Room at 7:00. The liturgy focuses on Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, at which he gave us the new commandment: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
The service includes an opportunity to make ourselves vulnerable to one another as we wash each other’s feet in obedience to His commandment, and to remember the Institution of the Lord’s Supper as we share in the eucharist together. Then in darkness we will then strip the altar, closing with a time of silence and an invitation to sit with the reserved sacrament, reflecting on Jesus time of agony in the garden. This is a deeply tender service. To worship together in the intimacy of the Price Room will be a new experience for all of us together.

Tomorrow, Good Friday, our Prince Room Chapel will be open all day for reflection.
From noon to 2:00
we offer a contemplative time of scripture, Psalms, and silence as we focus on the traditional Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross. You are invited to come and go as your schedule permits.
At 2:00 we will walk and pray the Stations of the Cross.
At 7 pm
we will gather for the liturgy of the day, which will include readings, hymns, the solemn collects, and communion from the reserved sacrament. All in the Prince Room Chapel.

The Great Vigil of Easter begins at 8 pm and WILL BE HELD OFF SITE in Chocorua. The DeGroots have generously offered us the use of their spacious log home just off of Route 16 as a gathering place. Easy-to-follow directions will be emailed out as a separate document. Call 367-8220 for details. All are welcome!
     Why off site? Because both the Prince Room and the Parish Hall are in use by 12-step groups on Saturday evenings. Our commitment to their work of new life and sobriety precludes sending them elsewhere, even for one evening. For us to gather in the intimacy of a home (rather than the church sanctuary), lit only by the candles we are holding, to hear our ancient stories of God’s redeeming work with God’s people, renew our baptismal vows, and then to jubilantly proclaim the Risen One, will be a reminder of our spiritual forebears’ nomadic, wilderness years and a time for us experience the Spirit’s vital presence in our (albeit heated) tent-of-meeting. It promises to be a Vigil we will never forget!
April 5th, we will have ONE Easter Sunday service at 10 am, with hymns, choir, readings, and communion. Enter by way of the ramp into the Parish Hall – transformed for Easter worship!
An Easter meal will be served for Dinner Bell at 5pm, hosted by Carol Tubman and Chris Mills. All are welcome!
Fifteen of us gathered last night by candlelight in the Prince Room Chapel for a continuous reading of the Gospel according to Mark, taking turns reading as we listened intently in the darkness. Although we had no formal discussion of the experience, here are some comments:
* Surprisingly wondrous, fascinating – hard to describe.
* I've never done anything like it! 
* I didn’t know there were two stories of Jesus feeding the crowds! And then a third time of the disciples asking for bread! (Mk 8:16-21) They just didn’t get it!
* I never noticed before how many times he healed (and talked about) children.
* It’s really different hearing it all like this.
* Simply put: it was a great experience.  Wow!
Ladies Lunch Bunch will meet next Wed. April 8th, at Noon at the Mt. View Station Restaurant in Center Ossipee, NH . Contact Dale Appleton for more information.

Food for thought from Frederick Buechner (originally published in Wishful Thinking)
The Lord's Supper is make-believe. You make believe that the one who breaks the bread and blesses the wine is not the plump parson who smells of Williams' Aqua Velva but Jesus of Nazareth. You make believe that the tasteless wafer and cheap port are his flesh and blood. You make believe that by swallowing them you are swallowing his life into your life and that there is nothing in earth or heaven more important for you to do than this.

It is a game you play because he said to play it.

"Do this in remembrance of me." Do this.

Play that it makes a difference. Play that it makes sense. If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child.

Remember Max Beerbohm's Happy Hypocrite, in which a wicked man wore the mask of a saint to woo and win the saintly girl he loved. Years later, when a castoff girlfriend discovered the ruse, she challenged him to take off the mask in front of his beloved and show his face for the sorry thing it was. He did what he was told, only to discover that underneath the saint's mask, his face had become the face of a saint.

This same reenactment of the Last Supper is sometimes called the Eucharist, from a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving," that is, at the Last Supper itself Christ gave thanks, and on their part Christians have nothing for which to be more thankful.

It is also called the Mass, from missa, the word of dismissal used at the end of the Latin service. It is the end. It is over. All those long prayers and aching knees. Now back into the fresh air. Back home. Sunday dinner. Now life can begin again. Exactly.

It is also called Holy Communion because, when feeding at this implausible table, Christians believe that they are communing with the Holy One himself, his spirit enlivening their spirits, heating the blood, and gladdening the heart just the way wine, as spirits, can.

They are also, of course, communing with each other. To eat any meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic need. It is hard to preserve your dignity with butter on your chin, or to keep your distance when asking for the tomato ketchup.

To eat this particular meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic humanness, which involves our need not just for food but for each other. I need you to help fill my emptiness just as you need me to help fill yours. As for the emptiness that's still left over, well, we're in it together, or it in us. Maybe it's most of what makes us human and makes us brothers and sisters.

The next time you walk down the street, take a good look at every face you pass and in your mind say, "Christ died for thee." That girl. That slob. That phony. That crook. That saint. That damned fool. Christ died for thee. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee.

With blessings, as we walk this holy walk
and learn to love as he has loved us,