March 3, 2016

News from First Congregational Church
an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ 


33 South High Street, Bridgton, Maine

Reading for the week: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.
Anne Lamott

None of understand the mystery of grace. As we hear the story of the prodigal son this Sunday, perhaps we will be able to feel its strange workings. There is no measuring, apportioning, and dispensing grace. It pours out on those who claim it and those who deserve it the least. We may puzzle and grumble that the showers fall on everyone, but it is wonderful when we find ourselves singing in the rain.

We will collect the One Great Hour of Sharing offering this Sunday. It is a united Christian effort that provides funds to “empower, provide water, supply food, and give relief from disasters” Jan Yindra is leading the effort, and she will share the story during children’s moment. She may even don a fetching fedora. It is communion Sunday, so that means the feast will continue to the fellowship hall. Come hungry and leave fed.

The Ladies’ Guild will have a sing-a-long at the church at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 10th. Everyone is welcome and Carolyn is playing!

A few words from Sandy:

  • Vacation Bible Camp is around the corner.  We will be have an Archeology theme, as we dig into yesteryear to see what we can hear.  We have a few odd needs please keep these in mind.  We need a refrigerator box. Actually we can use more then one if we can get them.   We are also hoping for 50 new, clear plastic 8oz, jars with lids. We can buy them online, but if someone might use this item at their work, we would love to have them donated. 
  • Please bring in donations of Easter candy and plastic eggs this Sunday and next week.  The CE committee will be stuffing eggs at their meeting on March 13.
  • Parents of our preschoolers and nursery age kids, this is a “First Church Family Sunday” if you would like, please start your children downstairs in the nursery, we will have some fun downstairs. We will bring your children upstairs in time for communion.
  • Parents of young children, we have placed a basket of children’s books in the back of the sanctuary, grab a handful for your young ones to look at during worship if you like. Please return at end of worship.

Lenten Lunches started on Ash Wednesday and will continue on Wednesdays at noon at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

March 9: Lake Region Vineyard and South Bridgton Congregational
March 16: First Congregational Church, UCC

Linda  will be out of the office from March 29 through April 1.  She will be back in the office on April 4.  Patty Edwards will be here to answer phones, pick up and distribute the mail, open the building and greet everyone cheerfully. 

Craft Night * Pysanky * March 16 * 6 PM

A pysanka is a pretty Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. Pysanky are typically made to be given to family members and respected outsiders. To give a pysanka is to give a symbolic gift of life.

We will complete one Pysanka during our class, it may take 2 to 3 hours to complete. Space is limited so sign up is necessary. Please sign up on sheet in fellowship hall. This class is for adults and older teens in our congregation.

March 20 – Palm Sunday

  • Come dressed in robes (solid or striped bathrobes are great) we have head-dresses and palm fronds to wave. Enjoy the fun as we parade around the sanctuary on this wonderful morning.
  • Easter Egg Hunt during CE time.

March 24 – Maundy Thursday

  • Service of Tenebrae at 7 pm

March 27 – Easter

  • Family worship at 10 am.
  • The nursery will be available, but no Christian Education classes. The Junior Choir will be singing

Spiritual Growth

The Tuesday afternoon
Study and Prayer Group
1:30 p.m.

Devotional or inspirational reading and prayer for our church family.

We are studying The Book of Awakening, Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the
Life You Have
 by Mark Nepo.

Thursdays 8:15-9:30
Bible Journeys
Lively, curious reading and conversation about what’s in the Bible, what’s not, and what it all means for the world today.

We have started reading Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi by Amy Jill Levine. â€œThis is probably the best book on parables available today: brief, informative, witty, and very interesting.” says Mark Allan Powell, editor of the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary.

All Are Welcome!

We Hold One Another
in Love  and in Prayer

Prayers of Comfort for. . .
Price Hutchins and family who are grieving Ann’s death on February 6th.

Prayers of Healing and Support for…
Shirley Barnes who is happy to be at Bridgton Hospital following a surgery that will help her regain strength as she continues to live with cancer…Deantha Warner who is home and traveling to Boston once a week for treatments following a bone marrow transplant…Sarah Nadeau, and her parents Jeanine & Jason Nadeau, as they recover from a life-threatening bout of bacterial meningitis … Ken Rollins…Donna Coombs…Judy Ottley’s daughter Sherry Saucerman…Marion Farabee…Dick and Barbara Mayo…Jo Faust…Jayne Hamaty’s sister-in-law, Becky Bean, who is claiming life after treatment for cancer.

Prayers of Courage and Support
for our friends on active duty in the Armed Forces, and their families…

Jordan Vigna…Russell Sanborn…Jimmy DeAngelo…Richard L. Gyure II…Steven Milton

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