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April 2, 2020

 

Friends in faith,

These are my first “Pastor’s Thoughts” since the Covid-19 pandemic swept our land. It’s the first time in eleven years that I’m writing to people without the benefit and joy of sharing life together in and around our beautiful church building. We are all experiencing a lot of firsts. First time experiencing a pandemic. First time being quarantined for who knows how long. First time some of us are working or going to school from home. First time worshipping with PPC on a computer. First time having Bible study or church school class or youth group or a committee meeting on a computer. It’s also the first time many of us have felt cut off from physical human interaction with those we love. The newness of this and the anxiety around this disease and its impact on every area of our lives, can be overwhelming. Know this: God is faithful and God will help us through this difficult time. 

Our staff and our session and many other people of the church are working hard to provide spiritual support and comfort during this unique experience. I want to thank everyone who has reached out to the church family with a phone call, card, text or email. I’m also grateful for all  involved in providing worship services that draw us close to each other, and to Christ our Lord. What an amazing gift worship is for all of us! We are learning how to worship, and not just “watch” worship in our homes. There is a difference! At a session meeting on Monday, via Zoom, the session made some important decisions about worship that I want to share with you now.

First, the session voted to have communion virtually, over the internet, on the days we have already planned for the sacrament. The list includes this Sunday, April 5 (Palm Sunday) as our first Sunday of the month communion, Maundy Thursday, April 9 at 7:30 pm, Easter sunrise at 6:30 am and Easter 10:15 am on April 12. As long as we remain unable to be present for worship in our sanctuary, our normal pattern for communion will continue. We look forward with great anticipation to the Sunday we can return to the sanctuary and we will have communion that day, no matter which Sunday of the month it is. What a great celebration that will be!

Second, worship services with communion will be available for us only at the appointed time (10:15 am on regular Sundays, 7:30 pm for Maundy Thursday and 6:30 am and 10:15 am on Easter Sunday). While we can’t be present in commun-ity for communion, we will be present with each other by sharing in worship and the sacrament at the same time. When the service is concluded, it will be removed from the internet, the communion portion will be extracted, and Prayers of the People will be inserted. This service, version 2, will be put up on the website and archived so people who aren’t worshipping with the community at 10:15, for example, may worship at another time, but without communion. To worship, you may either go to the church’s website pennpres.org and click on the “On-line Worship” button, or click the link that Jenny will send out before each service through email. 

Third, we recognize that not all of our people are on the internet. We want to include as many as possible. To facilitate the greatest participation possible, we are now offering a way for people to telephone in and worship that way. This will be available only at the appointed time (10:15 am on regular Sundays, 7:30 pm for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and 6:30 am and 10:15 am on Easter Sunday). Call (929)205-6099. When asked for the meeting ID, enter 609 883-5262 and then pound (#). If it asks for a personal ID, enter # again. This will allow you to hear worship so you can listen, sing, and pray along with everyone else. This number and this ID will not change so you should save this information for use week by week.

Fourth, some brief instructions about communion. You will need to prepare elements to use before worship begins. Communion modeled after Jesus’ meal includes bread and wine or grape juice. If you don’t have bread or grape juice or wine please select something that is close, for instance a cracker or a tortilla, apple juice or water. We have several communion services in the next week or two. Shop ahead if you can for bread and grape juice or wine. You may want to bake your own bread for this sacrament. When the time comes in the service, after scripture is read, the Word is proclaimed, the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving is lifted up, and the communion Words of Institution are said, you will be invited to eat some bread and drink from your cup. These worship pieces all together, as provided by the church, by the work of the Holy Spirit, are a gift of grace for us during this time of crisis. If for any reason, you do not wish to partake of communion in this way, that is okay also. God’s grace is showered on us in other ways, too.

May I please ask of you a favor? If you know a church member or friend of the church who may not see this information, please give them a call and read this to them. We don’t want anyone to miss out. Thanks in advance!

Let me close with some of my favorite words of scripture. They come from I John 4:7-8. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”

The peace of Christ be with you,

Nancy

 

Service for the Lord’s Day

April 5, 2020
Palm Sunday
First Reading: Psalm 118:1-2
Second Reading: Matthew 21:1-11

Time with Children by the Grades 5-8 Church School Class
These prayers are based on the lectionary scriptures for Sunday, March 29 and are offered to you for your own prayer life this week.  Prayers come from "Feasting on the Word: Liturgies for Year A, Volume 1" edited by Kimberly Bracken Long 

Morning Prayer: "I rise, O God, awakened by your Word, to live another day. Lead me in your path. Show me the steps to take toward greater faith. Hold me in your care as I move through Holy Week, where shadows deepen even in the daylight. Hosanna! Save me now, dear God! Amen."

Evening Prayer: "I come to the darkness of night, O God, tired and ready for a sweet respite in your care. Keep me safe from all harm, and bring me to the morning light with renewed strength. In Jesus' holy name, I pray. Amen."

*If you have a joy or a concern you would like lifted up in prayer this Sunday in our virtual worship, please send Nancy Mikoski and email with "Joys and Concerns" in the memo. She will gather them and lift them up in prayer. The deadline is Friday at noon for the coming Sunday. nancy@pennpres.org
Please click here to visit church website for this week's worship service. 
Or visit our website at pennpres.org, click last tab of the menu located on the far right at the top of the web-page, for this week's worship service. 
PPC updates about COVID-19
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the church building is closed. This includes worship and all activities. Some ministry activities will continue through technology including conference calls, Zoom, and other platforms. Please check with the leader of an activity for details. If you have questions, email Church Office Administrator, Jenny Valdez, at office@pennpres.org.

Holy Week

Palm Sunday, April 5:
Worship begins at 10:15 am with communion. Go to church website pennpres.org to click On-Line Worship button or call in to listen 929-205-6099 with meeting ID 6098835262#  If it asks for personal ID press # again.

Maundy  Thursday, April 9:
Worship begins at 7:30 pm with communion. Go to church website pennpres.org to click On-Line Worship button or call in to listen 929-205-6099 with meeting ID 6098835262#  If it asks for personal ID press # again.

Good Friday, April 10:
Worship begins at 7:30 pm. Go to church website pennpres.org to click On-Line Worship button or call in to listen 929-205-6099 with meeting ID 6098835262#  If it asks for personal ID press # again.

Easter Sunrise, April 12 at 6:30 am. with communion.  This service is live streamed from Phil and MIriam's backyard. Go to church website pennpres.org to click On-Line Worship button or call in to listen 929-205-6099 with meeting ID 6098835262#  If it asks for personal ID press # again.


Easter April 12: Worship begins at 10:15 am with communion. Go to church website pennpres.org to click On-Line Worship button or call in to listen 929-205-6099 with meeting ID 6098835262#  If it asks for personal ID press # again.
Attention all in our congregation who are quilters and are looking for a way to help others, an excellent way to contribute is making face masks for hospitals that need them!  If you have fabric and sewing machines, that's all you need.  There is a really good tutorial on YouTube by the Missouri Star Company entitled:  "How to make an easy face mask. "  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kwFaRFHKhY

If anyone is interested, please call or e-mail Kim Newport.  She would be happy to collect the face masks and mail them out.  Her e-mail is cknewport@gmail.com or phone number is (609) 737-7101.

Want to help the hungry?

Many of us bring food for Arm in Arm's red wagons at the church, to support those in our community who experience food insecurity. With the church building closed, we can't bring our cans of soup and boxes of cereal. Arm in Arm is still serving our neighbors at both of their locations (Trenton and Princeton). It is very likely with businesses closing that more people will need this kind of assistance. In lieu of donating groceries, you can go to the Arm in Arm website and make a donation online. 
Another of our partners, TASK (Trenton Area Soup Kitchen) will continue to feed people, but only as take-out meals. Their dining room hospitality has been suspended for now. There is a donation button on their website, too.
These are great ways to live out our Matthew 25 mandate from Jesus to feed the hungry!

Living Into Our Faith - A Lenten Project

The Mission and Christian Education Committees have planned a Lenten theme around Matthew 25:35-36:  35 ‘…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Each Sunday we explored one area of this scripture and include opportunities for living into our faith. We are so grateful for your participation!

Sunday, April 5:  “…I was in prison and you visited me…”
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, “the U.S. locks up more people per capita than any other nation, at the staggering rate of 698 per 100,000 residents.” As of 2016, there are 2.3 million people in the American criminal justice system. For our final week of this Lenten journey, we are encouraging everyone to educate themselves about mass incarceration in the U.S. and, more specifically, within New Jersey. What things can you individually be doing and what things can we as a congregation be doing to support criminal justice reform?

Message from the Deacons:

Do you need help with grocery shopping or getting to the pharmacy? We recognize that many of us, because of age or underlying health issues, need to be extra careful during this pandemic. Some of your church family will assist you with these errands, to help you stay safe. 
If you need some help, please reach out to Corinne Orlando, our Deacon Moderator. Phone: (856)981-9546 email: corinnenw@gmail.com
If you'd like to be one of the helpers, you may also reach out to Corinne. She will coordinate this effort.

Youth Ministry

Middle School SNC Activities

&

Sr. High Activities

Check with our Interim Youth Ministry Staff, Lee and Ellen White, for information about youth ministry during this unusual time.
Ellen@pennpres.org   Lee@pennpres.org
Please click the image for video.

With thanks to our researchers.

This Sunday - Zambia - Barbara Sergeant
Next Sunday - Zimbabwe- Jane Simpson

Note about the end:
_______________________________________

Praying for People of the World One Country at a Time

Zambia

We are praying this week for Zambia, our next to the final country on the trip around the world. 

Zambia is a landlocked country in south-central Africa. It is slightly larger than Texas in size and it is bordered by eight nations. The capital and largest city is Lusaka, which replaced Livingstone as the capital in 1935. Lusaka was built on higher land considered safer that the existing capital, and today Lusaka is one of the most urbanized and fastest developing cities in Africa.

Lusaka: 

The land on which Zambia is located today was home to some of the earth’s earliest known human ancestors, including archeological evidence of human habitation more than 100,000 years ago (and possibly much older than that).  The first Europeans to arrive in the region were Portuguese traders searching for unique and valuable materials. They were followed by Arab traders. Both mainly sought the native population to carry into slavery. The Scottish explorer, physician and missionary David Livingstone was responsible for informing the world about much of the area of central Africa that includes modern-day Zambia. The country, then called Northern Rhodesia, became a British colonial possession and was then combined with Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the early 1950s as a semi-autonomous region. Northern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zambia in 1964. 

Reflecting its colonial history, the official language is English but several Bantu dialects are commonly spoken. Missionaries brought Christianity to Zambia, and its constitution established the country as a Christian nation. More than 90% of the population follow various Christian denominations, primarily Protestantism. There are also smaller groups following Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and indigenous religions.

The current population of Zambia is approximately 18.2 million. There are more than 70 ethnic groups. Zambia is part of the African Rift Valley, and its terrain is a mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains. The lowest point is the Zambezi River and that is almost 1100 feet above sea level. The country’s most famous geographic landmark is Victoria Falls at the shared border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, first discovered by Europeans when David Livingstone came upon it and named it after Queen Victoria. It is the third highest waterfall in the world.

Victoria Falls: 

Tall grasses dominate the high plateau terrain with acacia, baobab and thorn trees growing throughout the land. Zambia is working to conserve its great variety of wildlife which is threatened by development and poaching. Some of the most recognized animals are impala, giraffe, zebra, rhinoceros, elephant, baboon, lions and jackals. Equally, there is a wealth of bird species ranging from eagles to nightingales to flamingos to the occasional ostrich. Species of reptiles and insects are also numerous.

Coexistence on the grasslands: 

As in so many countries, soccer is the most popular sport. Zambians also enjoy participating in and watching boxing, tennis, and basketball.

Today, Zambia faces health challenges from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. There is extreme rural poverty and areas of high unemployment in urban centers. Zambia has begun to report coronavirus cases and has said it will take years for their economy to recover from the impact of the pandemic. (If you want to follow the virus around the globe as all the countries we’ve learned about struggle, here is the link to the global map on the World Health Organization website.)

Praying for Community

PLEASE KEEP IN YOUR PRAYERS . . . .

  • Our neighbors at Pennington AG
  • For all those who are working so others may remain in quarantine
  • For public health officials, policy makers, and government officials whose work is crucial for saving lives
  • For all who have the coronavirus, and the families, first responders, and medical personnel who care for them
  • For good mental health for everyone, and for counseling, medication, and other support for those who need it
  • For signs of life and love and grace for everyone


CONTINUED PRAYERS FOR . . . . 

Gwen Torrens, Grace Clarke; Marji McAvoy; Joy Brzezynski; Richard & Barbra Pratt; Hal Wittlinger; the Yuhas family; Elsa Koczan; Marge Ryan; Galen Meyer & his family; David Anderson; Michael Berkowitz; Karen Kelly; Dawn Cocco; Charles Koczan; Paul Scheirer; Bob Fletcher; Dee Wilson; Caroline Woodward; Jayne and Jay Neary; and all families who are grieving.



PRAYING FOR OUR CHURCH FAMILY . . . 

We pray each week for members listed alphabetically in our church directory.
Clark & Marji McAvoy; Jeffery, Laura, Juliet, Jack & Fiona McAvoy; James & Jaelyn McIntosh; Phil, Miriam Diephouse & Caleb McMillan; and Tom & Laura McMillan.

 

LET US PRAY . . .

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.


edited from prayer by https://www.presbyterianmission.org/yearbook/

Prayer Chain


Did you know that our church offers the services of a phone or email prayer chain for those with a need or for those who wish to lift up joys or concerns?

We welcome all to be a part of this meaningful program. If you are interested, contact Nancy Lehman at nancy.lehman@gmail.com
or Barbara and Dick Pratt at
609-737-2767.

EASTER FLOWERS

Each year at Easter we decorate the Church with Spring Flowers. If you would like to share in this project as a memorial or in honor of a loved one, please send a form and a check payable to: 

Pennington Presbyterian Church (writing ‘Easter Flowers’ on the notation line), 

13 South Main Street, Pennington, NJ 08534.

The cost is $10.00 each.

This form will tell us how you would like the acknowledgment to appear in the Worship Bulletin. You do not need to specify a specific person or family.  For example, you could mention “the Choir”, “the Teachers”, “the Pastors” or similar groups or missions.

Because of restrictions on the gathering of people, the current plan is to place the flowers on the Sanctuary steps Easter morning.  You may pick up your flower(s) from there. More details will follow.

Thank you so much for helping to beautify the Church at Easter.

Order Form

 

Please indicate how many and what type of flower(s) you are requesting.

Number of tulips: _______

Number of daffodils: _______

Number of mums: _______


Total amount of donation $________

Name of giver(s): __________________________________________________________________

Email address (for pick up notification): _________________________________________________

This section is to let us know how you wish the acknowledgement(s) to appear in the Worship Bulletin.

Use M (for in memory) or H (for in honor)

Dedication Name(s):

____________________________________________________________M or H

 

____________________________________________________________ M or H

 

_____________________________________________________________M or H

 

____________________________________________________________ M or H

 

____________________________________________________________M or H

 

____________________________________________________________ M or H
 

_____________________________________________________________M or H

 

_____________________________________________________________ M or H

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