A PCUSA Congregation - A Covenant Network Church
affirming inclusive ministry


315 N. Cayuga St.
Worship Sunday at 10:00 AM Ithaca, NY 14850
Education for All Ages at 11:20 AM 607-272-2800

www.firstpresithaca.org
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Looking Out from Lend

At this writing, we have journeyed four weeks through Lent together.  It has been a time for remembering the seal of God’s love for all of us made public in our baptisms.  In remembering our baptisms and God’s seal of unconditional grace in our lives, we bring our prayers of confession to God acknowledging both in the prayers of our hearts and the prayers we share with others that we are sinners who we fall far short of the glory of God, but through God’s love for humanity made manifest to us in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

In this church, this Lenten season has also been a time of study and discernment for the stewardship of creation. Organized by our JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) group, many of you have witnessed and participated in the Interfaith Climate Change Series. For over a month, this series has brought in a wonderful cross-section of the community into our church to discuss the impact we make on the earth God has charged to our care.

Also coming from the JPIC group, Megan Gregory, who currently serves as a Deacon in our church, wrote additional rationale to an overture on the Divestment of Fossil Fuels originally authored by the Boston Presbytery.  At the March 18th meeting of Presbytery, Presbytery voted to be a concurring Presbytery to that overture to be heard at our national General Assembly meeting in Detroit this June.  This overture is a wonderful start for our denomination to help lead the necessary discussion on climate change.  I want to emphasize that the overture did not include guidance that we stop driving or stop using fossil fuels in our homes or in our churches.  Rather, this overture is to get the conversation going on a national level about our impact on God’s earth and ways advocate for active steps we can take to reduce ill-effects to our planet.

In worship, we have been following the series, the Seven Last Words of Christ. On April 6th, our scripture is drawn from perhaps the most well known of the Seven Sayings, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) The sermon will focus on God’s incredible love. On April 13, we come to Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday celebrates the day that Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while the people put down their coats and waved Palm branches to celebrate his entry. Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday because it begins our remembrance of Jesus’ painful journey toward the cross.

I highly encourage you to make plans for Holy Week this year to be a week of contemplation and prayer. Especially if you have not been able to come before, try to make it a priority to come to our Maundy Thursday (7 pm – April 17) and Good Friday (noon- April 18) services. These are smaller, more intimate gatherings that help move us from the Last Supper to the cross. You may also considering sitting Vigil in our sanctuary or Narthex for an hour from 1 pm on April 18th to midnight on April 19th. (To sign up for a time, please email the church office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). These mid-week offerings provide opportunity to take in the stillness and solemnity of Holy Week. These practices make the Resurrection celebration at Easter all the more meaningful.

On Easter morning, you may also choose to join us for a special Sunrise Service at Cass Park. We will meet in the dog park parking lot at 5:30 am and then walk over to the lake together in silent prayer. We will take in the Sunrise together at 5:50 am, share a few short Easter scripture readings, pray, and lift our voices in song to our Resurrected Lord. Being outside, this service will be quite casual in dress and more experimental and intimate in tone. At 10 am in our sanctuary, we will have our traditional Easter service complete with trumpets and singing of the Hallelujah Chorus. It will be a grand celebration of God’s love for us!

 

Blessings to you this season.  In prayer and in our actions, may we walk the journey together.

- Rev. Alice Tewell

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