March 17, 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 Palm Sunday: Luke 19:28-40
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

This week we set out with Jesus, traveling the trying steps towards Calvary. We have arrived at the most challenging moment of our Christian faith. If you approach it with trepidation, uncertain how you will find the time or emotional energy to walk with Jesus, here is a prayer from John Wesley to take with you:

Deliver me, O God, from a slothful mind, from all lukewarmness, and all dejection of spirit. I know these cannot but deaden my love to thee; mercifully free my heart from them, and give me a lively, zealous, active, and cheerful spirit; that I may vigorously perform whatever thou commandest, thankfully suffer whatever thou choosest for me, and be ever ardent to obey in all things thy holy love.

The memorial service for Shirley Barnes is on Saturday, March 19th at 3:00 p.m. at First Congregational. She blessed this church with her singing and her leadership on many committees including Christian Ed. and Stewardship. One of the readings she kept chellenges us to “live life backwards” from the ultimate goal to the day to day. Her obituary tells the story of how she chose to live.

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

Still wondering who Mary was and what she did? Raymond’s Lenten luncheon talk and the full sermon from last Sunday can be found on our website.

A few words from Sandy:

  • The children will process with Palms at the beginning of worship this week and leave after the children’s moment for an Easter egg hunt!
  • Vacation Bible Camp is around the corner.  We will be have an Archaeology theme, as we dig into yesteryear to see what we can hear.  We have a few odd needs for you to please keep 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.

Thank you to all who prepared delicious soup for the luncheon yesterday. The last Lenten luncheon will be held this coming Wednesday at noon at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Soup and the speaker will be provided by the Bridgton Alliance Church.

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. . .
The family of Shirley Barnes who died on Sunday, March 12…Price Hutchins and family who are grieving Ann’s death on February 6th.

Prayers of Healing and Support for…
Deantha Warner who will now be traveling to Boston every other 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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