Saturday, March 17

Reconciler Almost Weekly Update

“In the midst of life we are in death…” Burial Office, Book of Common Prayer

So here we are, halfway through Lent. This can feel like an in-between time, sandwiched between the “dead of winter” and new life promised by spring. It’s not far off, the warmth and brightness we seek, and yet...we’re not quite there yet.

Our Lenten journey continues. In these 40 days, we recall the temptations of Jesus in the desert, and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. In so doing, we may feel a bit tempted and wandering ourselves. Between the cold weather and the penitential season, our spirits can slip. We're called to keep our eyes on the prize, looking forward to the new life of spring and the Resurrection.

It’s a time of transition for many in our Reconciler congregation. New jobs, changes at work, death of a grandparent, moving to a new home, becoming parents. Transitions, like Lent, can be both challenging and full of promise. They involve a mini-death and rebirth. We’re not what we used to be, but neither are we yet the new creation. It’s an in-between time, a passage.

Spiritual disciplines can help us experience in-between times more fully and creatively. One such discipline is the labyrinth, an ancient tradition that involves going on a metaphorical journey.

In Holy Week, April 1-8, Immanuel Lutheran Church will set up a labyrinth in Founder’s Hall. Anyone in the Immanuel, St. Elias, or Reconciler communities is invited to walk the labyrinth.

Immanuel Church offers this perspective: “The labyrinth has been used for centuries by Christians as a way to allow God to speak. It is used for reflection, prayer and comfort. Bringing your full attention to walking (or tracing with a finger) the labyrinth may shed insight on a question or problem, or give new focus and direction at a challenging time. Since ancient days, the labyrinth has been used as a prayerful way to a journey with Christ to our own center and back again, leading out into the world. Each person’s walk is different.”

In the middle ages, Christians walked the labyrinth to symbolize a pilgrimage to Jerusalem when they were unable to make the actual pilgrimage. This Holy Week, by walking the labyrinth, we can symbolically accompany Jesus on his journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. We may also gain clarity about our own journeys.

For more information about labyrinths, visit the website of Grace Episcopal Cathedral, San Francisco: www.gracecathedral.com/labyrinth/

Vaya con Dios,

Laura+
The Reverend Laura Gottardi-Littell
For the Pastoral Team
The Church of Jesus Christ, Reconciler

Announcements

Lenten Supper, Bonhoeffer film, and Discussion
Come to the Community Church of Wilmette -- Tripp's other church -- at 6:30 Wednesday March 28th, to see an excellent film on Bonhoeffer, and discuss how Christian discipleship leads to social justice. (This one's for you, Jeremy.) RSVP to Tripp. Supper will be provided.

Pastoral Relations Commitee To Meet
When: This Sunday, March 18 After church
On the agenda: signing Laura's contract

Palm Sunday -- Art Opening & Reception

On Palm Sunday, April 1, from 3:00 - 5:00 there will be an art opening and reception at Immanuel Lutheran Church. Artist and Lutheran pastor Linda Hemke will offer a guided tour of her "Passion Pilgrimage," 18 colorful textile panels based on the stations of the cross. The whole world is welcome. This is striking and thoughtful artwork -- don't miss it. The exhibit will be on display April 1 - 8 at Immanuel.

Holy Week and Easter

We are having joint worship services Holy Week and Easter Day with the Immanuel and St Elias Lutheran congregations. On Easter Sunday, we will not have our regular evening service at 6:00 p.m., but will have a joint service with Immanuel at 10:30 a.m.

For Holy week, there will be a Maundy Thursday service at 7:30 p.m., a Good Friday service at 7:30 p.m., and an Easter Vigil service on Holy Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a festive reception following the Vigil. These are gorgeous services, each with their own unique character and flavor. We hope you will join us for as many of them as you can.

If you are interested in taking part in leadership roles in any of the above services please talk with Laura, Larry or Tripp. Monte Johnson is asking for volunteers from all three congregations to read Scripture, help with artistic displays in the sanctuary and Founder's Hall and help set up Founder's Hall for the Vigil and Easter Sunday breakfast. If you're interested in singing in the Immanuel Choir -- and are willing to attend at least two rehearsals, Wednesdays at 7:30 at Immanuel -- let one of the pastors know. Thanks.

Bible Study

We'll begin a new Bible Study April 18. This will be a four-week series focusing on the travel diaries of Egeria, a third-century Spanish nun. Through Egeria's diaries we have compelling information about how early Christians worshipped. Come and see how early Christian worship relates to what we do on Sundays at Reconciler, and bring your questions and thoughts about worship.

Worship Committee

Would like to invite all interested Reconcilers to come to a worship committee meeting -- likely at Kaffein in Evanston on a Wednesday night -- to discuss such hot-button liturgical items as:

Which version of the Lord's prayer we want to use? What kind of processional cross do we want to purchase? And....what about inclusive language?

Suggested dates are Wednesday evening, May 16 or 23. Stay tuned and let us know which date would work better for you.

Retreat

Tripp has been unsuccessful in reaching the Guestmaster at the Benedictine monastery in Bridgeport. We may have some other options in place for those who might be interested. More information is forthcoming.

Nicholas Senn/Community Outreach

Monte asks that we consider attending a special community-based long-range planning meeting for Nicholas Senn High School on March 26th. According to the press release:

"A Senn Strategic Plan Committee intends for Senn High School to become a first-class competitive high school, a #1 choice for parents and students.

To achieve this goal, a school and community based committee, drawn together under the leadership of the Senn Local School Council, is developing a five-year strategic plan to be implemented this September. 'The Senn community has begun an important planning process which will help the school become one of the finest high schools in Chicago, and the school of choice for area students,' State Rep. Harry Osterman said. 'We appeal to parents, students, teachers, neighbors, and community groups to work with us to develop Senn's vision for the future.'

A key component of this planning process is community input. A community meeting to Voice your Vision for Senn’s Future will be held in the school gymnasium on Monday, March 26th, 2007, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The meeting is open to everyone.

Senn High School is an integral part of the Edgewater community. Every resident and neighbor shares a vested interest in its success. Senn has many strengths. Senn’s successful mediation and peer jury program has become a model for schools throughout the Chicago Public Schools system and the country. Senn’s Service Learning program has received national awards, and serves as a model for many schools. Senn’s International Baccalaureate program is one of the best in the city. Walking through Senn’s hallways is like a trip to the United Nations with over 54 different languages spoken."

So consider coming out as a member of the community and voice your vision for Senn.

Summer Community Outreach

We'd like to have a booth and be a presence at the neighborhood festivals this summer. It's not too soon to start thinking about it.