CCH Congregator Weekly February 16, 2018

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Welcome to the Wilderness 

Lent is forty days long (not counting Sundays) because the ancient Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years and Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days. Wilderness connotes a barren and fearful place. The Hebrews confronted starvation, thirst and near-revolt, while Jesus was tempted by Satan while in the wilderness. These were not wilderness excursions intended to build character, but real survival challenges that defined who they would be.

 Symbolically we travel through the wilderness during Lent as we fast, pray and reflect on how to deepen our spiritual journey. This year, more than most, it feels like I am not only in a symbolic spiritual desert, but an actual wilderness that is full of fear and teeters on the collapse of hope. This wilderness is our American culture that tolerates, and, even, worships the culture of guns. The school murders in Parkland, Florida, boggle the mind as yet another mass shooting by a young man as our politicians sit by and do nothing. The continual impotence of our national leaders, the ease of access to military-style weapons (even by teenagers) and a society that struggles to respond to troubled individuals make this feel like a wilderness. Not just a political or cultural wilderness, but a spiritual one as well. One that touches our very souls.

So this week I have been praying for the victim's families to have strength in the face of this crushing grief and our society to find a way out of this wilderness. Not the kind of prayer that tries to hand off responsibility to God, but prayer that leads to action. I call for prayer as a first step in effective change.  We should not raise anything to God that we do not take seriously enough to do something about ourselves. Prayer does not excuse action, it should instead inspire and, even, drive us to action. To the kind of life-affirming and politics-changing action our country needs.

Jesus was able to overcome temptation and the Israelites overcame their wilderness pain with God's guidance. During Lent may we find where God is guiding us out of the wilderness. The path out will only appear if we make it happen. 

I hope you will join me on Sunday as we kick-off our Lenten series on spiritual practices. We all need the power of prayerful action more than ever. 

See you in church,

Pastor Mark

 

 Worship Calendar

February 18: First Sunday of Lent (intergenerational)
    Join us for the start of our Lenten worship season. This year will seek to deepen our spiritual lives with worship services that focus on faith disciplines. Each service will bein with a Taize chant and will include meditative prayer practices. 

February 25: Second Sunday of Lent
We welcome the Rev. Martha M. Cruz as our guest preacher for this second Sunday of Lent. Martha is working toward a Doctor of Ministry in Christian spiritualiy and works for the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ.

CCH Yoga

The yoga class will not meet
on February 20

A new yoga class is being offered to all adult church members on Tuesdays from 4:00-5:00 pm in the Sanctuary. Bonnie and Kristin bring their long-standing love of yoga and their instructor Marie Cruz to the CCH community. Yoga offers many positive benefits to the body, mind and spirit through the practice of meditation and mindfulness. As another busy holiday season approaches, yoga can help us find the balance we all  seek. The class is $20.00 per session. For more details call Bonnie or Kristin at 516.922.9525 or Sue at the Church office.

Joys and Concerns

We are heartbroken by the terrible murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We pray for the victim's families as we dedicate ourselves to stopping such senseless violence.

We have several members and friends who have had knee replacements recently. Please pray for the full recovery for Sylvia Kellershon, Krista Gard, Tom Buckley's 96-year-old mother, and Julie D'Ancona.

Pastor's Book Group
 

"Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby," by Candida R Moss and Joel S. Baden,  is the February selection for the Pastor's Book Group. The Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, have been in the news with a legal challenge to the Obamacare required contraception coverage and their building of the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. This book examines their efforts to promote a Bible-based society, and in so doing raises many questions about the role of religion in public life.

The discussion group will meet on Wednesday, February 28, 7:30 PM at Lorraine Trainor's home.

 

 From the publisher:

 

How the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make America a “Bible nation”

 

Like many evangelical Christians, the Green family of Oklahoma City believes that America was founded on a “biblical worldview as a Christian nation.” But the Greens are far from typical evangelicals in other ways. The billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby, a huge nationwide chain of craft stores, the Greens came to national attention in 2014 after successfully suing the federal government over their religious objections to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What is less widely known is that the Greens are now America’s biggest financial supporters of Christian causes—and they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in an ambitious effort to increase the Bible’s influence on American society. In Bible Nation, Candida Moss and Joel Baden provide the first in-depth investigative account of the Greens’ sweeping Bible projects and the many questions they raise.

Supplies Needed

Donate Extra Party Supplies: If anyone has extra disposable plates/cups/ utensils/bowls lurking in their home, the church would love to have them for Fellowship Hour.

 Reuse Plastic Bags: Peace and Plenty uses plastic grocery bags to send sandwiches to TriCYA and ManorField.  If anyone has extra, please bring them to the church.

Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative

Sheets Needed: Please donate twin sheets for the HIHI program. Sheets can be new or used, in good condition. Flat or fitted. Any color. There will be a collection box for donations at the church.

The Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative needs volunteers for Saturday, February 24 and Saturday, March 17. We need:
     Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch donations
     Volunteers for setup, evening chaperones and Sunday morning clean-up.

Please sign-up at the church or email Pastor Mark.

CCH Members in the Community

Terrence Sheldon is currently performing in “The Little Mermaid” at the Elwood John H. Glenn High School on Friday March 2nd and Saturday March 3rd at 7pm.  Terrence plays Prince Eric. A wonderful play for all ages.

Volunteers Needed

 

Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative (HIHI)
Our next night to host the HIHI program is Saturday, February 24, at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. There are many volunteer slots available. Please sign up on the board at church.

Northport Food Pantry

We collect food for the Northport Food pantry each week at our church. Please place donations in the box by the church office.

Peace and Plenty Food Outreach:   Peace and Plenty is in need of plastic grocery bags to deliver their lunches each week. Bring any extra to the church. You are invited to help make sandwiches and prepare snacks for children in Huntington. Peace and Plenty will meets on Mondays at 6:30 PM. They are also in need of donations of lunch meats and cheeses, fruit and healthy snacks.

Cooks Needed for the Peace & Plenty program
We're looking for a few volunteers who can help us send the Tri CYA trays of
cooked food such as baked ziti, chicken and rice, pasta with meatballs or meat sauce, etc. Most children at the Tri CYA receive free breakfast and lunch at school during the school year and rely on the Tri CYA  for at least one nutritious meal. We try to support that effort with some substantial dishes, beyond sandwiches.  Some of the food may also be sent to individuals unable to get out to food pantries and living with food shortages. If you would like to help  please contact Anne: acanadeo@aol.com.

Upcoming Events

      

      Sunday, February 18

      Intergenerational Worship Service at 10:00 AM

      Fellowship Hour at 11:00 AM: The Uhls

 

      Tuesday, February 20

       Peace & Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM

 

       Thursday, February 22

       Bell Choir at 6:00 PM

       Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM

 

       Saturday, February 24

       HIHI at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, begins at 5:30 PM

 

      Sunday, February 25

      Worship Service at 10:00 AM

      Church School at 10:00 AM

      Fellowship Hour at 11:00 AM: Haluza Family

 

      Monday, February 27

      Peace & Plenty Lunch Program at 6:30 PM

      Membership Committee at 7:30 PM

 

       Wednesday, February 28

       Pastor’s Book Group at 7:30 PM

     

      Thursday, March 1

       Bell Choir at 6:00 PM

       Choir Rehearsal at 7:30 PM

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The Congregational Church of Huntington

30 Washington Drive

Centerport, NY 11721

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