Snapshot and Updatesby Maddie Spearman on February 17, 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. I also want to put on your calendar the date of Wednesday, March 2, 2022, when Martha will lead Ash Wednesday service for the whole congregation.
Martha’s Office Hours
Martha’s tenure as our interim vicar is off to a great start. In addition to presiding over the Holy Eucharist on Sundays, Martha will hold regular office hours at the church on Tuesdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Feel free to stop by the church during this time to chat, pray, or discuss any pastoral needs. Of course, for pastoral emergencies, funerals, or during busy weeks (i.e. Holy Week), Martha will be available outside of her set office hours, as needed.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7, KJV)
Ash Wednesday is less than two weeks away! Martha will lead Ash Wednesday service at the church at 7:00 PM on March 2, 2022. This will be our first in-person Ash Wednesday service since February 2020 (i.e. before COVID-19), so I hope everyone will make plans to attend. As a reminder, Ash Wednesday is the first of the forty days of Lent, named for the custom of placing blessed ashes on the foreheads of worshipers. The ashes are a visible reminder to ourselves and others to enter the season of Lent with penitent and self-reflective hearts.
Ash Wednesday service has always been one I look forward to with great anticipation. The service requires us to practice stillness and self-reflection, and to contemplate our own mortality (“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”). These topics and practices typically make me squirm with discomfort. But, instead of being just a service dedicated to human insignificance, I like to think of Ash Wednesday as an invitation to deepen our appreciation for God’s redeeming grace. Like a phoenix reborn from the ashes, we are continually reborn in Christ because of His sacrifice for us.
If you are unable to attend the Ash Wednesday service, but would still like to receive the imposition of ashes, please contact Martha at 908-705-5098. She will make arrangements to come to you directly.
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 email@example.com.
Pastoral Health Check-Up
One thing I have struggled with during the later stages of the “Coronatide” season is that there is so much “life” to catch up on with one another. During the long stretch of un-togetherness, milestones of all sorts have been reached without our usual communal awareness and acknowledgment. Children have grown, loved ones have moved away or passed on, career paths have changed, hearts have been broken and healed again. It can feel disorienting, like when you go to the concession stand during a good movie, only to return and not have any idea what happened to your favorite characters while you were away.
I would like to extend an open invitation to all of you to update me on your milestones (in person, by email - doesn’t matter). Selfishly, I want to know how you are doing! I also want to provide you with community, support, and directions to resources, as needed. This might feel like a strange thing to do during a clergy transition, but transition times can often be times of rest, internal healing, and reconnection. And, though our clergy is changing, the heartbeat and community of St. Liz will remain the same.
If you have a pastoral need, or know of someone who does, please contact Martha or myself and let us know. Also, if you would like to add someone to our congregation’s Prayer List, please send the request to Wanda Slater at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, February 20th at 7:00 PM. The link for the meeting can be found here.
Morning Prayer is going strong! Please join us at the church on Tuesdays at 8:30 AM.
That’s all for now! I’m thankful for all of you. See you soon!