Wednesday, April 8, 2020

9:00 a.m. - Contemporary
11:00 a.m. - Traditional*

Both services will be available on Facebook "live streaming"
* Traditional will also be available to listen on phone:
call 929-205-6099 and give this meeting ID: 955 325 387

It goes without saying at this point that this will be a different Holy Week experience than we are used to having. Some of those differences will be hard, as we long to be crowded next to each other in person on Easter Sunday.

And yet we may find some new meaning in those differences, as well. The next two days, in particular, offer opportunities to experience the story of Holy Week in new and powerful ways.

First, tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, and we will be having a service at 6 p.m. This service, unlike our previous Sunday services, will take place via Zoom videoconferencing.

This approach will allow us to gather in some different ways than we usually can, taking advantage of Zoom’s capacity to divide participants into virtual “rooms” that will allow us to experience something of the dynamics of the Last Supper in the upper room, when the Twelve gathered with Jesus in an intimate setting just before his arrest.

So: we will gather as a group on Zoom for the first part of the service, and after the Scripture is read, instead of a sermon we will automatically be divided into smaller groups for Biblical discussion, much as the disciples reclined at table with Jesus and discussed what was on their hearts and what Jesus was up to.

We will come back together for a song and the first part of the Communion prayers, and then we will be divided again into “rooms” to share in a small group Communion liturgy that will conclude the service.

We will send a special email tomorrow with links for the bulletin, the discussion questions, and the Communion liturgy; they will also be on the homepage of our website, , so please download them before the service begins and come prepared with your own communion elements, as well.
As we did on Palm Sunday, prepare whatever elements you have easily on hand: bread or something approximating it, and grape juice, wine, or water.

I think it will be a very powerful service, and I look forward to sharing it with you.  
On Good Friday, we will return to Facebook Live to share in a Good Friday Tenebrae service at 8 p.m. The word “Tenebrae” comes from the Latin word for “darkness,” and it is actually my favorite service of the entire year.

The service itself is simple in structure: we read through a series of lessons that tell the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial, and there will be music after each lesson, along with a few moments of silence for contemplation as candles are extinguished. And so, as you go through the story, the room gets progressively darker, until it concludes in total darkness.

For this service, I suggest that you find a space in your house with a dimmer on your lights and/or simply set out some candles in the room with other lights turned off (six is ideal, but if you have three you can extinguish one every other lesson, and if you have just one, then save it to extinguish after the burial story). 

When the service ends, it will do so in darkness and silence; I encourage you to turn off your device at that point and spend a few moments in prayer in the darkness before turning things back on again. In this way, you will journey through the depths of Good Friday and be ready for the contemplative Compline Service on Saturday (more about that in the Friday newsletter) and for the celebration of Easter morning.

As I have been saying to people throughout this time, I wish we weren’t going through this, but I am glad we are at least going through it together, empowered by Christ’s Holy Spirit. I look forward to meeting you in the “upper room” on Thursday and to sharing this most important week of the Christian year with you once more. 

Grace and Peace,

  1. Holy Week schedule
  2. Let's get together - online!
  3. Card shower request
  4. Can you help brighten our neighbors' spirits?
  5. Prayer requests
Thursday, April 9 – Maundy Thursday
  • 6 p.m.: Service via Zoom
  • To join the Zoom meeting:
  • Meeting ID: 806 789 087
  • To join via phone (audio only): 929-205-6099 and enter Meeting ID when prompted

Friday, April 10 – Good Friday

Saturday, April 11 – Holy Saturday

Sunday, April 12 – Easter
  • 9 a.m.: Contemporary service on Facebook Live
  • 11 a.m.: Traditional service on Facebook Live
  • noon: Join us for an Easter Hospitality Time via Zoom (details in this Friday's newsletter)
  • NOTE: No Hearts N Minds or Sunday School today
First, thanks to all who checked in on our "Virtual Pizza Party" on Facebook last Friday
(right: see what the Magocs were having)!

We had a good turnout and folks shared an inspiring array of pizza creations, as well as other meals they were enjoying.

Please consider joining us for these online gatherings:
"Share your Easter traditions!": Beginning at 3 p.m. on this Saturday, April 11 - come to our Facebook page to post photos and/or descriptions of your family's Easter traditions.
Do you decorate Easter eggs? Bake a bunny cake? Display vintage Easter egg
decorations? Whatever you do to help make the celebration special, we'd like to
see it - who knows, you may inspire someone to adopt your idea!

Join us for Hospitality on Easter Sunday: We're working on plans to gather via Zoom to enjoy fellowship, beginning at noon. Watch for details in Friday's newsletter.

Many thanks to the Congregational Life Team for coordinating these initiatives!

One of our longtime members, Polly McClure, is now under hospice care at Kirkland Village. Polly has always been very faithful in sending cards to those in need, and now we are asking you to consider dropping her a note. Her address is 1325 Kirkland Village Circle, Bethlehem, PA 18017.

We have also been in contact with Jen Laury, the activity director at Kirkland Village. With their residents confined to their rooms and no visitors, they would love to hear from us with artwork and notes of cheer. You can forward those to Jen at Kirkland Village, 1 Kirkland Village Circle, Bethlehem, PA 18017.

NOTE: Because of the restrictions on visitors, you will need to mail your greetings. They cannot accept deliveries from individuals. Thank you!
Do you have a prayer request?
Hello from last week's Women's K Group meeting!