St. Liz News and Lenten Disciplinesby Maddie Spearman on March 3, 2022
Dear St. Liz family,
I am writing to you on behalf of your Bishop’s Committee to provide a snapshot of the current goings-on at St. Liz. As I write this newsletter, I am recently returned home from this year’s lovely Ash Wednesday service. What a beautiful, solemn way to enter the season of Lent. Our Lenten observance continues on Tuesday, March 8th at 7:00 PM, when Martha will lead the first of a series of weekly studies on the Stations of the Cross.
Lenten Study - Stations of the Cross
Beginning Tuesday, March 8th at 7:00 PM, Martha will lead a weekly Lenten study on the Stations of the Cross. All are welcome to attend. The study will take place inside the church each Tuesday night during Lent. Here is a description of the study from Martha herself:
Lent is a time set aside to prepare ourselves for the glory of Easter. Among other things, Lent is a time to reflect on the story of Jesus’ death and to absorb its meaning for us. We will use the “Stations of the Cross,” fourteen moments in Jesus’ Holy Week journey. This season’s study will be in person at the church, an opportunity to participate in prayer together. We will also post resources for those who wish to use the Stations of the Cross as a personal Lenten discipline. We will have books available for families with children to use during the season. Please participate in whatever way you and your family can this season. It can give us a common focus for our congregation this Lent. Questions? Call Martha at 908-705-5098.
Prayer for Ukraine
Many hearts are currently hurting in the world as the conflict in Ukraine rages on. Please continue to pray for all those affected. Below is a Prayer for Ukraine, shared by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.
God of peace and justice,
we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
If you would like to learn about what efforts the Episcopal Church is undertaking to provide humanitarian assistance to the people fleeing the violence in Ukraine, please visit Episcopal Relief & Development’s website, which may be found here.
Parish Profile Workshop
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Sunday, March 27th, when the Rev. Mike Besson will return to St. Liz to host a parish profile workshop for the whole congregation following morning worship. After Sunday service, we will have a picnic lunch out in the front yard, before returning to the church for the workshop.
As a reminder, everyone from the congregation is invited to participate in the workshop. St. Liz youth (acolyte age and up) will be able to participate in their very own small group. Childcare will be provided in the nursery for little ones. For those who are unable to attend the workshop in person, the large group meeting will be livestreamed, and we will offer a Zoom breakout group.
Please be on the lookout for a sign-up link that will allow everyone to RSVP for the event. If you have any questions about the parish profile workshop, please contact me at email@example.com.
Bishop’s Committee Meetings
As a reminder, Bishop’s Committee meetings are open to all members of St. Liz. Recently, we have been meeting via Zoom every other Sunday. Our next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, March 6th at 7:00 PM. The link for the meeting can be found here.
If you are new to St. Liz, welcome! As our much-loved Sunday service bulletin states, “We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts, and you.” We would love to get to know you better, introduce you to some folks, and make you feel like part of the St. Liz family. Before COVID-19, St. Liz hosted a Newcomers’ Class each fall and spring to help newcomers make connections and learn more about St. Liz and/or the Episcopal tradition. If this type of newcomer gathering is of interest to you, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a poem by Madeleine L’Engle, one of the most well-respected authors of young adult literature in the United States (who also happens to be my namesake!). This poem has been on my mind and heart lately, especially as we enter the season of Lent at the two-year anniversary of the pandemic and in the midst of various global humanitarian crises.
It is my Lent to break my Lent,
To eat when I would fast,
To know when slender strength is spent,
Take shelter from the blast
When I would run with wind and rain,
To sleep when I would watch.
It is my Lent to smile at pain
But not ignore its touch.
It is my Lent to listen well
When I would be alone,
To talk when I would rather dwell
In silence, turn from none
Who call on me, to try to see
That what is truly meant
Is not my choice. If Christ’s I’d be
It’s thus I’ll keep my Lent.
—Madeleine L’Engle (1966)
Speaking candidly, I have felt myself becoming more easily desensitized to each new disaster and conflict that arises. Leading up to Lent, I have certainly not been in the proper mindset to willingly “give up” something that brings me comfort. What I love about this poem is that it reminds me that one’s Lenten discipline is not defined solely by what comforts one “gives up”; rather, one may choose during Lent to practice self-compassion and compassion toward others, to prayerfully embrace the pain of the world, to “listen well,” and to “turn from none” who may need a friend.
So, whatever your practice may be during this season of Lent, may you do it joyfully, and with the knowledge that you belong to Christ.
That’s all for now! See you soon!