Thursday, March 17, 2016

Prayer Shawl Ministry

We are meeting on the 4th Wednesday with the Counted Cross Stitch Group at 1:00pm in the NCO.  We may set another day of the month to get together, too. 

Members and friends are encouraged to take Prayer Shawls for friends or family who are having difficult times - grieving, illness, etc.  The book we ask people to sign showing where the shawls are going is really interesting.  It’s amazing how far reaching this Ministry is! 

Thanks to everyone who is making Shawls.  We are hoping to have more people join us.  There is a brochure in the Narthex for the Prayer Shawls which includes 2 patterns if anyone would like to try making them.  There is also a nice supply of yarn in the Nursery for making the Prayer Shawls.

If anyone is interested in learning how to knit or crochet Prayer Shawls, we will be pleased to teach you. Just attend a gathering!

The Paschal Candle

From the Pugh
February 25, 2016 newsletter

The Paschal candle is a large, white candle used at liturgy in the Western Rites of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, etc.). A new Paschal candle is blessed and lit every year at Easter, and is used throughout the Paschal season which is during Easter and then throughout the year on special occasions, such as baptisms and funerals.

The flame of the Paschal candle symbolizes the eternal presence of Christ, light of the world in the midst of his people; he who is the Second Person of the Trinity, the Alpha and Omega. The Paschal candle is sometimes referred to as the "Easter candle" or the "Christ candle." The term "Paschal" comes from the word Pesach, which in Hebrew means Passover, and relates to the Paschal mystery of salvation.

Description of the Paschal candle
For congregations that use a Paschal candle it is the largest candle in the worship space. In most cases today the candle will display several common symbols:
·         The cross is always the central symbol, most clearly identifying it as the Paschal candle
·         The Greek letters alpha and omega signify that God is the beginning and the end (from the Book of Revelation)
·         The current year represents God in the present amid the congregation
·       Five grains of incense (most often red) are embedded in the candle (sometimes encased in wax "nails") during the Easter Vigil to represent the five wounds of Jesus: the three nails that pierced his hands and feet, the spear thrust into his side, and the thorns that crowned his head.

In the medieval church Paschal candles often reached a stupendous size. The Paschal candle of Salisbury Cathedral was said to have been 36 feet tall. Today, in the United States and Southern Europe (e.g., Italy and France) the candle is approximately 2 inches in diameter and 36 to 48 inches tall; in Northern Europe the candle tends to be shorter in height (19 to 24 inches) and wider in diameter (3 to 5 inches).

The Paschal candle in the Easter Vigil
For churches that celebrate the Easter Vigil on the night of Black Saturday, the ceremonial lighting of the Paschal candle is one of the most solemn moments of the service.

On Maundy Thursday of the same week the entire church is darkened by extinguishing all candles and lamps. This represents the darkness of a world without God.

At the opening of the Easter Vigil a "new fire" is lit and blessed. The minister will trace the symbols (mentioned above) on the Paschal candle, saying words similar to: "Christ, yesterday and today, the beginning and the ending. To Christ belongs all time and all the ages; to Christ belongs glory and dominion now and forever. Amen."

The Paschal candle is the first candle to be lit with a flame from this sacred fire, representing the light of Christ coming into the world. This represents the risen Christ, as a symbol of light (life) dispelling darkness (death). As it is lit, the minister may say words similar to: "The light of Christ, rising in Glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds."

Typically, the worshiping assembly in school then processes into the church led by the Paschal candle. The candle is raised three times during the procession, accompanied by the chant "The light of Christ" to which the assembly responds "Thanks be to God." Following the procession the Exultet is chanted, traditionally by a deacon, but it may be chanted by the priest or a cantor. The Exultet concludes with a blessing of the candle:

Deacon chanting the Exultet next to the Paschal candle:
Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God. (For it is fed by the holy melting wax, which the mother bee brought forth to make this precious candle.)  Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!  May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:  Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all humanity, your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.   Amen.

Women's Retreat April 1 - 2, 2016

We will study 5 women of the Bible who received JOY in their journey.  That's a topic we all need to hear about!

Friday, April 1st, 5:30 - 8:00 pm  and Saturday, April 2nd, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

There will be a lunch served on Saturday.  There will be sufficient snacks both days!! Yes, chocolate.

Please see Estelle Hart or Karen Vidot for a registration form. Sign up by March 20th so we can buy supplies.

Not sure a retreat is for you?  Ask around for someone who has attended before. They'll give you the full scoop!

We'll meet at the church.