March 10, 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: John 12:1-8
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

I’m not sure that Mary resembled the picture above. This subject’s features seem more suited to an Irish dell than a Middle-Eastern city. The artist’s choice of red hair is intended to convey the same message as the bedroom eyes: love of a certain kind. This picture captures how a remarkably courageous act has been reduced to concupiscence and attributed to Mary Magdalene rather than Mary of Bethany. It is a lovely image, but not a representation of the brave woman we will hear about on Sunday.

Who was this woman? Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, or as Matthew and Mark had it, simply “a woman.” Was she the patron saint of contemplatives who sat quietly at Jesus’ feet, or a prophet-woman who ignored convention and gave her all to to prepare Jesus for Love’s labor? What did she do? Wash his feet or his head? Whatever she did, Jesus said of her, “Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” We will remember her.

A few words from Sandy:

  • Teen group plans to go snow tubing this Sunday.  We will leave church during the Sunday School hour and return by 2:30. Please bring $5.00 and a bagged lunch. Sandy needs to know by Friday night of you are attending.
  • Please bring in donations of Easter candy and plastic eggs this Sunday.  The CE committee will be stuffing eggs at their meeting after church. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

The Lenten Luncheon this week features food and food for thought from First Congregational Church. It is this Wednesday, March 16th at noon at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The theme for the series is “Do Not Be Afraid” and Pastor Raymond will be speaking for ten minutes or less(!). The Ladies Guild is coordinating the preparation of many delicious soups. Come and join in!

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

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.

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. 

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 at Bridgton Hospital to continue the difficult work of living with cancer…Deantha Warner who is home and traveling to Boston once a week for treatments following a bone marrow transplant…Al and Terry Curns…Sarah Nadeau, and her parents Jeanine & Jason Nadeau, as they recover from Sarah’s 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, Aaron Lewis, the son-in-law of Mary Stinchfield and Brian Cushing, who is serving in Afghanistan.

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