Thank you to everyone who participated in our liturgies and meals over the last several days to make them so successful. Many people gave of their time to help us celebrate this most Holy Week of our Christian year.
The Lenten Organ Recitals at Albany First United Methodist Church resume on Wednesday this week – Meg Takara and Kim Despain perform. Click below for details.
Our Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Liturgy schedule may be found here: http://www.albanyoregonepiscopal.church/special-services/lent-and-holy-week/
Please join us!
The Saintly Smackdown Returns!
Are you looking for something fun to focus on? Are you longing for inspiration and joy? For the eighth year running, people of faith are gearing up for Lent Madness, the “saintly smackdown” in which thirty-two saints do battle to win the coveted Golden Halo during the season of Lent.
With its unique blend of competition, learning, and humor, Lent Madness allows participants to be inspired by the ways in which God has worked through the lives of saintly souls across generations and cultures.
Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament, this online devotion pits saints against one another in a bracket as voters choose their favorites throughout the penitential season of Lent. This year’s competition begins on “Ash Thursday,” March 2.
Here’s how to participate: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at www.lentmadness.org about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.
The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.
This year Lent Madness features an intriguing slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. 2017 heavyweights include Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, Florence Nightingale, Stephen the Martyr, and Sarah the Matriarch. It also includes several intriguing matchups including Augustine of Hippo vs. Augustine of Canterbury (All-Augustine Anarchy); Fanny Crosby vs. G.F. Handel (Battle of the Bands); and Joseph Schereschewsky vs. Nikolaus von Zinzendorf (Clash of the Consonants).
The full bracket is online at the Lent Madness website www.lentmadness.org and, while not necessary to participate, you can order the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2017 at www.forwardmovement.org. This companion guide includes biographies of all 32 saints, a full-color bracket, information about how to fully participate, and a series of Pocket Lent trading cards.
Lent Madness began in 2010 as the brainchild of the Rev. Tim Schenck, an Episcopal priest and rector of St. John’s Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women who make up the church’s calendar of saints, Schenck devised this devotion. Combining his love of sports with his passion for the lives of the saints, Lent Madness was born.
Starting in 2012, Schenck partnered with Forward Movement (the same folks that publish Forward Day by Day) executive director Scott Gunn, to bring Lent Madness to the masses. Schenck and Gunn form the self-appointed Supreme Executive Committee, a more-or-less benevolent dictatorship that runs the entire operation.
The formula has worked as this online devotional has been featured in media outlets all over the country including national television, the Washington Post, NPR, USAToday, and even Sports Illustrated (seriously). More importantly thousands of people have been inspired by the saintly stories of those who have come before us in the faith.
Eleven “celebrity bloggers” from across the country have been tapped to write for the project: the Rev. Amber Belldene of San Francisco, CA; the Rev. Laurie Brock of Lexington, KY; Anna Fitch Courie of Ft. Leavenworth, KS; Dr. David Creech of Morehead, MN; the Rev. Megan Castellan of Kansas City, MO; Neva Rae Fox of Somerville, NJ; the Rev. David Hansen of Woodlands, TX; Beth Lewis of Minneapolis, MN; Hugo Olaiz of Cincinnati, OH; Dr. Derek Olsen of Baltimore, MD; and the Rev. David Sibley of Manhasset, NY. Information about each of the celebrity bloggers and the rest of the team is available on the Lent Madness website.
If you’re looking for a Lenten discipline that is fun, educational, occasionally goofy, and always joyful, join the Lent Madness journey. Lent needn’t be all doom and gloom. After all, what could be more joyful than a season specifically set aside to get closer to Jesus Christ?
Download the free bracket here: http://www.lentmadness.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/LM2017Bracket.jpg
On the weekdays of Lent we will be holding two similar five-week classes, one on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. and the other on Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. Both will make use of a video presentation entitled “Embracing a Life of Meaning: Discovering What Matters,” led by Kathleen Norris. A workbook will be available. The morning class will begin on Ash Wednesday (1st March) and the evening class on the next day, Thursday 2nd.
Imposition of Ashes and Holy Eucharist Wednesday, February 10th at 12:10 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Almost without notice, Lent is upon us!
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the 10th of February. There are two days of note prior to that, however, which “set up” what we’re about as Christians. On the last Sunday after the celebration of the realization that God is not a God of a finite number of people but of everyone and everything, past present and yet to come – we call this Epiphany – every year on the last Sunday before we begin Lent, the Gospel reading describes Jesus’ miraculous meeting with Moses and Elijah on the mountain top. The window of time and space is pulled open just a little so that we can discover how we are all part of the mystery of God’s Love in creation.
The second “event” is also an annual one. On the day before Lent begins, we celebrate with a feast of special foods and light-hearted conversations and pleasures. Mardi Gras – “Fat Tuesday” – Shrove Tuesday – different names for the same day, shouldn’t be seen as days on which we over-indulge and then enter into some state of deprivation. What we do in our lives as we stand on the doorstep of Lent is to acknowledge that all is good, all is worthy of celebration.
As we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, though, we remind ourselves of the transitory nature of our human life. We think about the delicate nature of ourselves and all around us, and how slender a physical thread holds us together. We begin by acknowledging how we fall short of who and what we could be, blessed as we are with God’s Love and the resources which lie within us.
“Dust we are and to dust we shall return”, are some of the words that stick in one’s mind from the Wednesday liturgy. They sound somber. That’s part of their intent. But they remind us also that we belong. We’re part of the miraculous Creation Chain of events and particles which resulted from God’s irrepressible Love spilling out. Dust, then, is not something to be scorned but to be embraced.
And that’s what Lent is about: reminding, teaching, encouraging us to embrace all that we are and all that we can be with God’s help. Such discipline as we may choose to adopt, then, is intended not to fetter us but to help us see what is essential, what is good, what is miraculous about our being, and to help us discover more of the picture of who we are growing to be in the reign of God.
There will be a different tone to the Liturgies, both of Sundays in Lent and in the extra ones – Ash Wednesday and in Holy Week, along with the less formal ones at our weekday groups. And the Monday morning and Thursday evening groups will help us to focus on our spiritual growth into God’s Holy people.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people!
|9th February||Shrove Tuesday||Pancake Supper||5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.|
|10th February||Ash Wednesday||Morning Prayer||10:00 a.m.|
|Imposition of Ashes and Holy Eucharist||12:10 p.m. and 7 p.m.|
|11th February||Thursday||Morning Prayer||10:00 a.m.|
|Thursday evenings||Discussion class||6:30 p.m.|
|Monday – Friday in Lent||Morning Prayer||10:00 a.m.|
|14th February||First Sunday in Lent through 13th March||Holy Eucharist||9:30 a.m.|
|20th March||Palm Sunday||Procession, Holy Eucharist and the Dramatic Reading of the Passion Gospel||9:30 am|
|Monday – Friday in Holy Week||Morning Prayer||10:00 a.m.|
|Monday – Friday in Holy Week||Evening Prayer||5:00 p.m.|
|22nd March||Tuesday||Seder Dinner – reservations please||6:00 p.m.|
|23rd March||Wednesday||Office of Tenebrae||7:00 p.m.|
|24th March||Maundy Thursday||Liturgy with foot washing||7:00 p.m.|
|Watch before the Altar of Repose: Continues until 7:00 p.m. Friday||8:00 p.m.|
|25th March||Good Friday||Stations of the Cross||12:10 p.m.|
|Liturgy for Good Friday and Mass of the Pre-Sanctified||7:00 p.m.|
|26th March||Holy Saturday||Liturgy for Holy Saturday||10:00 a.m.|
|Great Vigil of Easter||7:00 p.m.|
|Lighting of the New Fire, the re-hearing of the History of our Salvation|
|27th March||Sunday of the Resurrection||Festal Holy Eucharist||9:30 a.m.|