From the Pastor - Mid-Week March 7, 2018
We are just about exactly halfway through Lent, and I am very grateful for the ways God has been working in our congregation and community as we are seeking to deepen our prayer life and our connection with Jesus as our Lord. So many people have asked great questions and are searching deep down for what brings them closer and what gets in the way. There are just 2 Lenten lunch at noon and dinner at 6 gatherings: March 14 at Glyndon UMC and March 21 at RUMC. Please come, even if you haven't attended one up to now.
Holy Thursday - Our Holy Thursday service, on March 29 at 7 pm, will take place in our Fellowship Hall around tables of 8 or so where we will put ourselves with Jesus and the disciples at two of their important meals together. Remember: He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Good Friday -- God has been moving among us to deepen community relationships, especially through our Lenten gatherings in the last 2 years. As we witness through our actions as the church by demonstrating our connections and desire to be one, we show the community our willingness to cross whatever divides us. I believe it is truly important for the church to show that we can cross those divides -- and the other gift is that we truly do find a rich sharing at the table of Christ! We have had a community Good Friday service for a long, long time, always at RUMC. This year, on Friday March 30, at noon and 7 pm, we will gather to worship at Glyndon UMC, and I urge you to participate. The clergy group met yesterday, and we completed work on a wonderful service designed by Revs. Dawn Stewart (Glyndon UMC) and Lisa Bandel (Wards Chapel UMC) that I believe will take us to the cross together through scripture, prayer and song.
I also want to share with you some wonderful news. The Rev. Barbara Parnell and her husband Lynn began worshiping with us last fall soon after they moved to Owings Mills in order to help their daughter and son-in-law with childcare while their son-in-law completes his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Barbara is on family leave while they undertake this special journey with their 2 wonderful grandsons, Lucas and Owen who worship with us from time to time. Barbara expressed her desire to offer ministerial support in our congregation while they are here as she deeply misses pastoring a congregation, and we have worked out several ways for her to do just that.
- Barbara is serving as the volunteer staff person to work with Family Ministries and its new chairperson, Rosemary Dragunas. This is a huge help to me and to Susan Harry as they will soon be able to take complete responsibility for events that require a great deal of detailed planning.
- Secondly, Barbara will be providing a little extra TLC for a few of our homebound members who are extra lonely. We visited some of those folks recently so I could introduce Barbara to them. I will continue to see them 3 times a year, and Barbara will see them in between and just give them a little extra support.
- In addition, Barbara will preach occasionally (the first time on 4/22) and will also provide some pastoral support when I am out of town, and she has connected with the area clergy group to be in fellowship with other clergy and to explore our community as a clergy person.
I'm sure you can see what a huge blessing God has brought our way! Join me in giving thanks and praise -- and please reach out to Barbara and Lynn who worship at 10:30 most Sundays. (Hint: she also led the Lenten gatherings this past Wednesday.)
Finally, Rich and I are going to Williamsburg next week for some much needed rest. As usual, if you have a pastoral need, please call the church office during business hours or after 4 pm call one of the lay leaders (Jill Wright (410-526-6721); or Al Soskin (410-303-1585) who will know how to find the right help. We are leaving Sunday afternoon and will return home late Friday. I am very grateful to the SPRC for understanding my need to slow down and rest a bit, so that I can be a better pastor and have the energy needed to walk through Holy Week and Easter with you. It has been a very busy season in our life together!
See you on Sunday!