A note for this Sunday April 2

March 31st, 2017 by

As part of the 10 o’clock service, and as part of our Confirmation classes, Bishop Carl will lead us in an Instructed Eucharist. This is an opportunity to have a guided description of the elements of our weekly celebration of Communion.  We will have an instructed liturgy (for the first part of the service) in future weeks. You can see an overview of our whole service here.

 

Two things can aid us as we share this Holy Communion on Sunday. First, listen for the good news of Jesus Christ and be attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit as we move through the prayers. The prayers speak to God and ask Him to act among us. Second, don’t settle just for understanding when we are invited to participate and experience communion with Christ. Let the description deepen rather than replace your worship.

 

In addition, we will be dedicating and asking God’s blessing upon new altar linens, acolyte albs, and Prayer Books for service in the church. A short prayer for years of future service.

 

The altar guild and many others prepare for our gathered worship each week with others in mind. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer describes the preparation for Holy Communion in this way.

 

“The Table at the Communion time having a fair white linen cloth upon it,

shall stand in the body of the Church”  BCP 1662

 

A simple sentence hiding hours of weekly ministry. Preparing for the celebration of Communion each Wednesday and Sunday and for the other services of the church. The bread and wine, the chalice and paten, with candles trimmed and burning week by week. If you are willing to serve in essential and mostly hidden ministry, call the church office or ask a guild member.

 

Thanks to Whitney Neubecker and Gordon Hunt for their gifts of photography during services. They are helping us prepare a slide show for Maundy Thursday.

 

As we continue to seek God through worship, word and in prayer, we hope that this opportunity to see all three woven together at our Lord’s Table will be a blessing to you.

 

Christopher+

03-09-2014 Pray for the Persecuted Church

June 16th, 2014 by

Sheryl Shaw- Global Teams

 

This coming Sunday we are remembering the Persecuted Church. Below are a few statistics to help give a small picture of what is the reality for so many of our brother and sisters in Christ.

More Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in all the rest of church history combined.

One third of the world’s people live in areas where preaching of the gospel is restricted in some way.

Every 3½ minutes a Christian loses their life for belief in Jesus—that’s 400 a day. More Christians will die today than were killed on an average day in the Roman Coliseum—a Christian had a better chance against the lions in ancient Rome.

Around the world, 200,000,000 Christians suffer massacre, rape, brutal torture, beatings, mutilations, imprisonment, extortion, harassment, family division, children sold into slavery, and crippling discrimination all due to their faith in Christ.

As New Covenant has partnered in ministry all around the world, the most often heard request is to be remembered in prayer. In response to those requests I have shared a prayer below and would ask that you join with me in praying this, especially this weekend.

 

PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

Sovereign God, we worship You and rejoice that You know all of those who suffer in Your name. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they, like the Apostle Paul, would be able to see that their chains have helped to further the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps.

Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price − who are martyred because of their love for You − may they truly know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death.

Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned as a result of persecution, may they know the comfort that comes from Your presence. May they be strengthened by Your Spirit, enabled to rejoice like the psalmist as they proclaim that the Lord will not abandon in death those He loves.

Heavenly Father, we ask that You would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in Your name. Teach all of us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

O Lord, hear our prayer.

And to close, I would like to give you this scripture to study and meditate on as we prepare for Sunday. I am so thankful to be a part of a church who has such a heart for prayer and understands it’s importance in the on-going work of the Kingdom.

 

“Remember those in prison as if you were fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3”

In His Presence at New Covenant Church

October 7th, 2013 by

I told someone again this week how thankful I am to be part of this church.  I really love Sunday mornings and all the ways we can experience the Lord’s presence. Here are three: there is scripture, there is the sacrament, and there is the Spirit.It’s the three streams of our Anglican tradition.

Scripture

Fr. Christopher said Sunday in his sermon that when we bring live, living issues to the Word of God we can expect transformation.  It is good to come to the Word for information, for knowledge, and the promise is that it’s never a waste of time, never void of value, but when we come with our living issues we can expect to encounter the living Word and be changed in his presence.  That’s why we take preaching so seriously.  We seek to have something to say; not just to have to say something. 

Sacrament banner In HIs Presence

A pastor from a non-denominational church once said to me that what he liked about our Anglican way was that not everything hinged on the message.  In other words, he saw the liturgy and the sacraments as having value that didn’t depend on an individuals performance on a given day.  We say we believe in the “Doctrine of the Real Presence.”  God is present in the sacrament even on our bad hair days.  Isn’t that good to know?  My friend might have mentioned our love of mysterium tremendum as well.

Spirit

Of course any and all experiences of God come via his Holy Spirit. One place where the charismatic expression is available in our Sunday morning is in the times of worship and praise.  We take time to lift up our hearts and one reason for the repetition in the lyrics is to allow it to move from our head to our hearts.  Another thing we have been doing is allowing us to include our own notes to the Lord, sing our own song to him.  Like when you send a greeting card and you put in your own note, share your heart.  Hallmark is good, but not all that personal.  And scripture tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people, his presence again.

So in addition to the fall program and seeking his presence in mission, ministry, worship, the word, prayer and the Holy Spirit we have Sunday mornings!  So many ways God is present, it knocks my socks off.  Apparently, that actually happened according to the scriptures.  I am sure some of us relate more to one way or stream more than the others, and that is fine, so long as we make room for others who prefer the other streams or ways.  I am a person who finds God most often in journaling, solitude and contemplative prayer – and yet I can’t describe how much I love our praise sets on Sunday morning.  And while I love to prepare my sermons and seek a word from our Lord, I have never walked away empty from any sermon at our parish.  And, the sacrament and the mystery it holds – well, it’s a lifesaver week after week.

Thanks to you all for being part of New Covenant and making it such an incredible place to worship in his presence.

Carl+

 “In His Presence” Fall small group study videos and discussion questions

What Time Should We Be Ready to Go?

August 9th, 2013 by

“What time should we be ready to go?” “The service starts at 5:30, so 5:00am should be fine.” The Cathedral of St Anthony of Padua in Dunkwa-on-Offin has been beginning each ghana church aug 2013 9day with morning Eucharist for years. The service began as a way to serve the men and women of the parish who had to quickly be on their way to work. The combination of walking commuters and challenging roads led to the service beginning at this early hour.

“First thing in the morning”, the Bishop said, “they want to begin their day with worship, prayer, and Holy Communion.”

As a first-time guest to the Diocese, as a priest in this diocese, it was obvious how busy their days were already. Commute times almost as long as ours despite distances being small; pressures of family and work; challenges they met with grace and ingenuity. The idea of Communion this early in the morning, every morning, seemed ambitious. “We should at least wait until morning has arrived,” I thought to myself.

The service began, oscillating in the quiet morning air between the traditional English of the Prayer Book and the Twi responses and choruses that spilled out over the gathered congregation and through the open windows to let the neighbors of this parish know that morning has arrived and that God’s people have gathered to life their voices and hearts in praise. “The light of Christ”, they sang as the Gospel book was brought out and the reading began. Any remaining drowsiness or shadows were driven out as the clapping and harmony filled the chapel.

Hearing the Deacon as he exhorted us to trust that If God has given us a task, He will surely give us strength to accomplish it. Listening to the prayers of the people, full of expectation and zeal that crossed the language divide. All before 6:00am.

What a way to begin the day. Before the tasks of the day intrude and before the regrets of yesterday have fully formed in your mind to harass you, they have lifted their voices in prayer and praise, and have gathered at the Lord’s Table.

The rest of the day spread in many different directions, with each person returning to their homes, to their workplaces and to their responsibilities buoyed People in Ghanaby the morning’s grace.

Our days spread in many of the same patterns, and the challenges we face in our parish are distinct but of a type with the challenges of our brothers and sisters in central Ghana. While 5:30am daily Eucharist is outside of our custom, beginning the morning with a blend of  traditional prayers, scripture and your own unique dialect and dialogue in prayer can occur before our commute, before our daily tasks and before the sleep is even fully removed from our eyes. Perhaps, not only may you notice a difference, but maybe your neighbors and co-workers will be able to tell,(even if they cannot hear your shower singing), that you began your day with prayer and praise, first thing in the morning.