The Chimes Newsletter
                                         
    
Federated Church of Ashland 
118 Main Street 
Ashland, MA 01721-3112
  
                                                            
~ February 2020 ~
   
Dear Friends in Christ,
 
Though it seems we have just finished celebrating Christmas, our church seasons continue to carry us into the New Year at FCOA, and by the time this reaches you we will be on the eve of Lent. This 40-day season has carried special significance in the church for many centuries, probably rooted in specific preparations the earliest apostles made each year to remember and celebrate Jesus' resurrection until he came again.

As the time between Jesus' time on earth and the Second Coming lengthened, the church developed various observances and seasons to tell and re-tell our history as God's people, and to help us prepare ourselves for the gift of God's love given to us in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a very unique season, one which offers us amazing opportunities to grow spiritually and to deepen our love of and service to God.
 
But here's the catch-Lent means change! Literally the word "Lent" means "Spring", derived from the Anglo-Saxon words "lencten", meaning "Spring" and "lenctentid, which not only means "Springtide" but was also the word for "March", the month in which the majority of Lent falls.
 
Just as Spring brings us out of winter by sometimes slow and gradual change, sometimes amazingly dramatic and cannot-be-missed changes, Lent also is meant to bring change to each of us. A season of reflection, penitence, prayer, and self denial, Lent brings new opportunities to turn, re-turn to God and become ever more the people God created us to be-and to CELEBRATE being changed-really CHANGED by God's forgiveness and love.
 
So-Lent means Spring. Did you know that Lent also means Love?

In his book, "Season of the Spirit", Martin Smith speaks of Lent as the season of truth-of stripping away illusions about ourselves, about God, about the world. When we allow ourselves to be driven into that wilderness as Jesus did, Smith suggests, we, too find what Christ did-the abiding, sustaining, infinite love of the One who has created and redeemed us so that we might live fully, wholly, completely in that Love.
 
Lent is a powerful invitation to discover Love beyond our wildest dreams. But first we must trust God enough, and risk all of ourselves, in telling the truth to God. In confessing those things that separate us from God and from our truest selves-in confessing our sins, we don't tell God anything God doesn't already know. Rather, as Frederick Beuchner once wrote, until we confess our sins, they are the abyss between us-when we confess them, they become the bridge.
 
God is waiting-patiently, lovingly, for us to "get it". To understand, however dimly, that repentance is not about putting ourselves in the way of judgment-it is about putting ourselves in the way of God's love. Repentance is about facing ourselves squarely, knowing we are safe enough in God's loving hands to confess what separates us, what holds us back from being right with God and with ourselves, and literally turning around, re-turning to God and walking in new, life-giving ways.
 
I invite you therefore to the observance of a holy and life-changing Lent. We begin our observance of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 26, with our service at 7:00 p.m. I invite you also to take a quiet hour for yourself with God and the community, to breathe and be refreshed on Wednesday evenings sharing a simple dinner and Lenten program, time to be determined by you all. Details coming soon-plan to join us!
 
Every Blessing,
 
Katie


February 26th
7:00 PM 
     Church Keys

I am still waiting to hear from those of you who have keys to the church, but no longer need them.
  
Were you ever given a key to the church?
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Maybe you were the chair of a committee? 

Maybe you needed a key for a special project?  
  
If you have a church key(s) and no longer require one, would you please return it to the church office as soon as possible?
  
Thank you!    Linda
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Video Volunteers Needed!
 
We are in need of two more people to do the videotaping of our Sunday services.  It is fun to do, and we will teach you how to do it.  It is pretty easy to learn.  It is very helpful if you can pick up the camera from the cable station in Ashland on Friday and return it on Monday.
 
If you are interested to volunteer, please call Tina Kingsbury at 508-380-5285 or leave a message with Linda Iarussi at the church, 508-881-1355.  Thank you!!      
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Groundhog Day
  February 2
   
It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog, also called "woodchuck", emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks.
  
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Coffee & Fellowship
  
As you know, Hospitality provides Coffee and Goodies in the Parlor, after church, on Sunday mornings.
    
We are looking for more volunteers to provide goodies for Sunday mornings.  If you are willing to help in this way, please contact Linda in the Church Office or speak to Melanie Conner.   Thank you!   

The Thrift Shop is OPEN  ...
 
Wednesdays 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
AND
Saturdays 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
  
We have new items arriving every week.

Please stop by ... there are lots of treasures to be found!

Thank you for your support! 
   
Brown Bag Sunday
February 16th
 
  On the third Sunday of every month, we collect and bless the donations placed inside the bins in the Narthex of the Church.  
  
Would you please consider picking up a few extra non-perishable food items while you are doing your grocery shopping.
       
You may bring them to the Church on Sunday morning or  drop them off at the Church Office during the week.  All items are delivered to the Ashland Food Pantry.
    
 Thank you for your continued generosity!   
 

V alentine's Day
Friday, February 14th

  ~ Original Watercolor Paintings by Sue Scotland ~
 
Paintings may be viewed after Church on Sundays or during church office hours, Monday-Friday between 9-Noon. The paintings remain in the Parlor for accessibility.
   
They may be purchased by making a donation to the Federated Church of Ashland, adding Sue Scotland Memorial Fund in the memo line, if paying by check. Payments for purchased paintings will be accepted by Linda Iarussi, Office Manager.

Family Promise 2020 
Host Weeks
  
 March  22-29
   June 28 - July 5
  August  23-30
 
Please mark you calendars NOW and plan to volunteer ... We need everyone's help!  
  
Thank you!
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Monday, February 17
   
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Our Member's Birthdays
                 
             February
       
2/13     Henry Carlson
2/18     Nancy Hansen
2/19     Elaine Bethel

              March
   
3/10     Tina Kingsbury
3/15     Leslie Kendall
3/30    Nicole Wenzell
3/31     Ben Walker
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"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream."  
~Ba rbara Winkler 
 
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Federated Church of Ashland
118 Main Street
Ashland, MA  01721-3112

508-881-1355

 

  Church Office Hours:   Monday - Friday 9 AM TO 12 Noon

 

Pastor - Rev. Katheryn Keene

Office Manager - Linda Iarussi

Organist - Doug Shelburne

 

Church Office:   fcoaoffice@verizon.net

     Web Site:   federatedchurchofashland.org

 Follow us on Twitter @FCOAshland

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