Dear Friends and Companions on the Journey,
As the month of March begins, we have already entered the Season of Lent, and by the end of this month, we will be in Holy Week, looking forward to Easter Sunday, on April 1. March holds the markers of springtime: daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 11 (don’t forget to change your clocks), and the evening of March 20 is the Spring Equinox (exactly halfway from winter to summer). Spring is also the season for our annual church fundraiser, Trivia Nights, on March 9 and 10.
Two important wider church events take place this month: on Thursday, March 1, the new Deaconess Center building on Vandeventer will be consecrated as a facility dedicated to ministries for the youth of St Louis. The building is being constructed by the Deaconess Foundation, which manages a large part of the endowment established when the Evangelical Church’s Deaconess Hospital ended its ministry as a hospital a number of years ago. The Foundation will have its office in the new Center, where it will continue its work of providing grants to churches and other organizations doing creative ministries with and for children and young people. The Rev. Starsky Wilson, Pastor of St John’s United Church of Christ, is the Executive Director of the Foundatiion. Also occupying the building will be the new offices of “UP,” (Unleashing Potential, formerly known as United Church of Christ “Neighborhood Houses,” our ministry to children and youth through after school programs, early childhood ministries at Caroline Mission, and life skills and job readiness programs for teenagers. These organizations are a big part of the proud heritage of our churches. All are welcome to attend the consecration event and the reception.
The second important wider church event this month is the ONA Convocation, which will bring several knowledgeable speakers, discussion leaders and local church members and pastors to Parkway UCC on Saturday, March 3, for an all-day worship and learning experience that is devoted to developing a growing understanding of our many sexual orientations and identities as we live and work together to be mutually caring members of the Body of Christ. Many St Philip’s Church members have attended this annual spring event in previous years, but every year brings new experiences and thoughts to share. Advance registration is required for this event, and there is a modest fee of $15, primarily to cover cost of the lunch provided and materials. Sign up using the registration form available at church.
Throughout the Lenten Season, members are invited to bring canned goods and nonperishable food to church to help Feed My People, our local ecumenical food pantry, distribute assistance to people in our community.
Our worship services during the Lenten Season will focus on our spiritual readiness for our personal journeys and St Philip’s Church’s journey in the year ahead. On Sunday, March 4, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Christian Baptism for Jake Bobmeyer, who will become our newest baptized member on that day. Palm Sunday is March 25. During Holy Week, we will be remembering Jesus’ Last Supper on Thursday evening, March 29, with a soup supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service at 7:00 p.m. On Good Friday, in remembrance of the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, our sanctuary will be open for individual meditation from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. At 12:00 p.m., a brief service will be held and will include the reading of the story of the crucifixion as it is told in the Gospel of Mark. Throughout the day and during the noontime worship, the opportunity to light a candle as an expression of faith or in memory of someone will be available in the sanctuary.
As in past years, toward the end of the month, you may choose to purchase a lily or other springtime flower for the decoration of our sanctuary for Easter. On Sunday, April 1, the sanctuary will be filled with flowers, and we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion with the Risen Christ in the Festival of the Resurrection.
Allen M. Fluent