A community reshaping itself to be fit for God's purpose.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

There are seasons in our lives when we are suddenly confronted by the realities of illness and death. At St. Martin’s, the opening months of 2020 have been such a season. In these moments we are called upon not only to marshal our resources of compassion and empathy, but also our resilience. We are also challenged by the need to discipline our own fears, for empathy means the capacity to see ourselves in the situation faced by another and to practice a gift of non-anxious presence that signifies resilience.

We are all taken aback to find our society grappling with the mounting fear of a world-wide pandemic. It is not only a challenge to our health, but to many it poses a more serious challenge – the challenge to our accumulation of wealth as stock markets panic.

I recall the early days of the AIDS crisis when fear stalked the land and society found easy scapegoats upon whom to project its dark fears. As a member of that scapegoated group I know first-hand the frisson of fear in the gaze of another, with the unspoken question – is he dangerous to be around? 

The advances of modern medicine have made us complacent– so that the hard-won gains of vaccination programs are now easily countered by social media stoked fear. No one ever said fear was a rational process as the recent upsurge in measles shows all too clearly. The reality is that each of us comes face to face with the frightening questions: at what point in my future will illness strike? What form will it take? How will it leave me?

And so, we enter upon the journey of another Lent – a season in which we are called to bring a particular intentionality and a mindful consciousness to the task of disciplining our addictive appetites, our unruly wills, and distracted minds, and most current of all, our projections. Lent calls us to face having to acknowledge the buried sorrows that often find their way to the surface of the mind – sorrows masked as anger and a legion of envious resentments. In some instances, the acknowledgment of sorrow demands of us a spirit of repentance for our acts of trespass upon others. But there again, it might require what is even more difficult – not so much the offering of forgiveness to those who have trespassed upon us, difficult though this can be, but the more challenging task of forgiving ourselves for our hubris and overly self-assured insensitivities.

This Lent we are being driven into the wilderness where our spiritual task is to confront our fear and anxiety and find in so doing the sources of resilience in the wellspring that is Christian hope.

Please visit Lent 2020 for program offerings this Lenten season – there is something for everyone. See you in Church this Sunday.


Lenten Adult Forum Series
Sundays at 9:30 am through Lent
David+ (Ames) and Linda+ will lead an exploration of an excellent resource for spiritual growth and nurture that is right under our noses: The Book of Common Prayer. Join us each Sunday during Lent upstairs in KidZone after the 9:30 am service.
St. Martin's Estate Sale!
Saturday, March 7, 9 am - 3 pm
Sunday, March 8, 10:30 am - 2 pm
Tell your friends, bring your neighbors - come to St. Martin's Estate Sale this weekend, where you'll find a treasure trove of offerings from glassware to furniture, and everything in between! All proceeds go to support St. Martin’s Church and its ministries.
Choral Music Concert at St. Martin's
Monday, March 9, 7 pm
The Bridgewater State University Chamber Singers, under the direction of our own Dr. Steven Young, will present a concert of a cappella choral music in the church sanctuary. The Chamber Singers are an auditioned ensemble that tours annually, presenting a varied repertoire of music from the Romantic era through the 21 st century. Featured composers include Josef Rheinberger, Gabriel Jackson, William Dawson, Dan Forrest, and many others.  This concert is free and all are invited to attend.
Media Literacy Presentation
Sunday, March 15, 2-4:30 pm
St. Martin's Great Hall
An increasingly important topic in the 21st century, particularly in the current election season, is how to navigate the endless barrage of media messages we receive daily. Pam Steager is a Senior Trainer, Researcher, and Writer with the Media Education Lab at URI. In addition, she is the state coordinator for the RI Media Literacy Now initiative. She will be presenting and leading a discussion on pressing current and generational issues of media literacy - the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and act on the media messages we receive. There is no cost for this event. All are welcome.
Women's Spirituality Group
Sunday, March 15, 6 pm
All women of the parish are invited to Susan Allen's for a pot luck dinner and program on Sunday, March 15. Rev. Linda Griggs will share about her path to the priesthood. Questions? Please contact Susan Allen.
Families With Young Children Group
Friday, March 20, 6:30 pm
The next gathering of our group will be at the home of Rich & Gloria Turilli. We invite young families, including their children, to join us for a casual dinner and discussion. RSVP to Gloria.
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St. Martin's Church | 50 Orchard Ave | Providence, RI |02906
(401) 751-2141