FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST – OUR OPEN AND AFFIRMING GREAT FALLS CHURCH WHERE EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

HOLY WEEK

The traditions that will be practiced this week are:

Maundy Thursday: Thursday at 7:00 P.M. We will participate in a moving service with communion and Tenebrae (a service of shadows with scripture readings and extinguishing of lights).

Good Friday: Friday at noon at First United Methodist Church downtown. This will be an Ecumenical walking stations of the cross service.

Easter Sunday:

Sunrise service outdoors at 6:20 A.M.

Easter Traditional (indoor) service at 11:00 A.M.

COMING SOON

April 21: Easter Breakfast served 7:00 – 8:00 A.M. and 9:30 – 11:00 A.M.

April 28:  Baptism of 3 children plus Graduation Sunday

May 5: Confirmation Sunday and Congregational meeting after worship

May 19: Combined Choir Cantata at 9:30 A.M.

May 26: Memorial Day Weekend and beginning of joint summer worship at 9:30 A.M.

SITTING WITH OUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN POWER

On Sunday, April 28th, the United Church of Christ in Power, MT will hold their final worship service at 11:00 A.M. They will be closing their doors. We are invited to gather with them in recognition of the years of Christian service they have offered to Power and surrounding communities. If you would be interested in carpooling, gather in the narthex BEFORE our worship that morning to get organized. Carpools will have to leave immediately after our worship.

CAMP MIMANAGISH NEWS

Just a reminder that there are several hearings for you to hear more information about the recent decision regarding Camp Mimanagish (see last week’s newsletter at  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AKt7eqHg-x5E4EHKz734BAQi9t9ejY5Y). If you are interested in participating in any of the hearings go to https://www.mnwcucc.org/ and read more about the Conference Board of Director’s recommendation and background information and get information about how to connect to the meetings. If you are unable to access the Conference Website, the letter from the Board of Directors is available on the table in the Narthex. If you are unable to access Zoom and would like to participate in a hearing, let Holly in the church office know and we’ll make arrangements for a connection at church.

Hearing dates and times: April 25th at 6:30 PM; May 7th at 6:30 PM;  June 9th at 12:30 P.M.

Please note that the 2019 camp season is a “Go” and registrations are still being taken. However, there is a waiting list for the Creative Arts Camp.

FROM THE PASTOR         

              Transform

By now we’ve all seen the images of the Notre Dame Cathedral in flames. As people started to realize what was going on, the internet was filled with photos of people standing in front of or inside the beautiful cathedral. What amazing memories to behold and cherish. When I became aware of the fire this past Monday afternoon, I was preparing to celebrate the life of Peggy Woodworth with her friends and family. We had just celebrated the life of MA Roberts last Friday. I had also just shared news of the Conference Board of Director’s recommendation to essentially close Camp Mimanagish. Each one of these instances of loss is wrapped in the sharing of memories. It’s what we do in the face of loss. It’s what we do when we lose someone near to us. It’s what we do when tragedy strikes. It’s what we do when we realize that we will no longer be making any new memories in sacred places or with people we love. We pull out the memories we have and relive them.

It’s part of what happened upon Jesus’ death. People basically did the equivalent of first century Facebook and Instagram—they told stories. I can just imagine a group of people who had been fed by the five loaves and two fish telling that story. I can see the man who had been born blind telling people what it was like to have Jesus rub muddy spittle on his eyelids and then open them to see for the first time in his life. I can hear the disciples disputing what Jesus said and when and to whom. I suppose this was some of the stuff that was going on between the time Jesus was crucified and when the women found the empty tomb: the telling of stories of people’s experiences of Jesus. It’s what we do in times of tragedy—relive the memories.

And then something happened that made those memories even more significant. The one they had all shared those memories with that they thought was dead, wasn’t. Now the Facebook posts would be about living into the new life that the resurrection brought and continue to feed the hungry. Now the Instragram shots would be about showing the joy that comes when love surprises us and sharing that love. Now the stories are filled with hope and promise instead of grief and despair. When there is no way, God finds a way. Jesus lives again. Meaningful experiences of God’s love and grace continue to happen.

May your Easter be filled with the making of good memories not because of tragedy but because of the new life that follows.  Happy Easter!

Rev. Lynne