Stepping away from our series on worship to give you some snapshots of things going on at St. Petri that deserve some extra attention.
First, Holy Week is coming as fast as the rest of Lent has come this year. Palm Sunday is March 20th, with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday to follow. That means extra observances in our worship calendar.
On Palm Sunday, the Roland-Story Ministerial Association will hold its Community Prayer Service at the High School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. This service is a series of reflections from area ministers based on the "Seek God for the City" devotionals (which are still available for $3 at the church office). There is a community choir, also - details on rehearsals will be posted in coming weeks.
St. Petri and Bergen Lutheran Churches are observing Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services jointly at Bergen Lutheran Church in Roland this year. Both services will be at 7:00 p.m. Pastor Adam Starrett has crafted a beautiful service which encompasses both holy days, so this is an experience you don't want to miss. If you require transportation to either service, please call the church office to request a ride.
Easter Sunday will be much as it has been in years past: a Sunrise Service modeled on the Easter Vigil readings, Easter Breakfast, and a Festival Service at our regular worship time.
Second, we will soon be welcoming our brothers and sisters of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Parish for a brief sojourn with us on Sunday mornings while their facility undergoes a major renovation process. Father Jon Seda and I have been meeting to discuss ways we can take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about one another and the similarities and distinctions between our two churches. We hope to host a joint celebration in April where we can break bread together and discuss some ongoing conversation meetings about Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, and recent developments between our churches that strengthen the bonds between us as members oft he body of Christ.
One alteration that has already been put into place is a change in worship schedules. Beginning on Sunday, April 3rd, Saints Peter and Paul will hold Mass in the sanctuary at 8:00 a.m., St. Petri GIFT will begin in the GIFT Room at 9:00 a.m., and St. Petri worship will begin at 10:00 a.m.. Times for Fellowship and St. Petri Choir rehearsals are yet to be determined.
Next, our Thursday Book Group would welcome more voices to our conversations! The book for March 10th is Why Christian? by Douglas John Hall, and our book for April 15th is The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus: Lord, Liar, Lunatic, or Awesome? by Tripp Fuller. We meet at the St. Petri parsonage at 7:00 p.m. - grab a copy and come join us!
Finally, we will soon be embarking on a six week Stewardship Program, set to culminate with Consecration Sunday on April 27th. The Stewardship Team, with help from myself and Pastor Mark Anderson of the Northeastern Iowa Synod Staff, will be leading us through a time of reflecting on what it means to support the mission of God through the work of St. Petri Lutheran Church. You'll find a letter from Cheryl Eddy about her approach to stewardship in this newsletter, with more to come from other team members in March and April. One change that needs to happen to our way of thinking about stewardship at St. Petri is this: stewardship is primarily about our relationship with the resources God has given us individually. Consecration Sunday is not about raising more money for the church. Consecration Sunday is about making a plan to commit a first portion of what God has entrusted us back to the mission of God through this particular church. It's an invitation to stop waiting for announcements about the church's need to receive and to start making plans that address God's desire for all of us to give as we are able. If you have questions about any of this, please make an appointment to see me - I'm always happy to listen and respond to any concerns you may have.
God be with you this Lenten season, my friends.
Yours in Christ,