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Lenten Meditations

When March comes, most of us are looking forward to spring — we’re tired of the cold of winter and the fickle weather in North Carolina in February.  This year, Ash Wednesday is March 6, and so March also marks the traditional parties before the beginning of Lent – Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnivale in Brazil, Pancake day in many places, Fastnacht Day in Pennsylvania.

The day of Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter (not including Sundays, if you’re counting the days!), is meant to remind us of Noah’s forty days in the Flood, the Hebrews’ forty years in the desert, and especially Jesus forty days in the desert at the beginning of his ministry.  Lent is intended to be a special time of prayer, mediation, and spiritual preparation for Easter. 

But our busy, smart-phone buzzing world filled with sound and interruption has little space for the kind of meditation that allows Lent to unfold with spiritual benefit.  In 1943 during the height of World War II, poet T. S. Eliot caught this dilemma in his poem Ash Wednesday:

Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound?
Not here, there is not
enough silence
Not on the sea or on the
islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right
place are not here…
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice.

We need to carve out some Sabbath-time in our noisy lives to truly experience Lent in a real way; and a gift we can give others is the reminder that they, too, need that quiet Sabbath-time to hear “the voice.”

Though our world seems disruptive and intrusive, most of the noise that blocks out our spiritual time is voluntary.  But Eliot wrote this poem during wartime, a time when he served as an air-raid warden.  So it is in the midst of rationing, blackouts, and bombs that he wrote:

 
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks

I pray that this Lent, you will be able to set aside a space of quiet time for mediation, but also for service to others.

Blessings,

Pastor John

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Change & New Things

I wonder how many variations there are of the old “How many <BLANKS> does it take to change a lightbulb?” joke?  Certainly hundreds!  I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard one of the variations: “How many Moravians does it take to change a light bulb?”  ANSWER: “None, Moravians don’t like change!”

That’s probably true when it comes to some of our traditions that we love — don’t mess with the Lovefeast coffee recipe!  But of course, all things change.  Count Zinzendorf actually said once that “the only thing certain is change.”

One of the things I love about Trinity Moravian Church is that they are always ready to try new things.  Rather than falling in the trap many churches fall into, which is giving up after a single failure—”Well, we’ll never try anything like that again!” — Trinitarians always seem open to trying something new, and if it doesn’t work out, getting up and trying something else!  And that’s really how we succeed.  Many great entrepreneurs, from Steve

Jobs to Jack Ma, will tell you that you must fail your way to success.

Sooooo—I bring this up because we have a number of new things happening!  First, you may notice a slightly different design for this newsletter — feel free to let us know what you like and what you don’t like, and particularly let us know if something is hard to read or confusing.

But there’s lots more — some of which has been simmering for months!  We’re converting to using Google Calendar for all church events and scheduling, which means that the office calendar will be available on you smart phone and your computer at home!  Lots more detail has been put in — volunteer rota, themes, what room to meet in — all available with a click.  Youll even be able to add a church event to your personal calendar!

This month, we’ll also be introducing new ways of electronic giving, including a credit/debit card swipe machine, and “text-to-give.”  This won’t just help with Sunday offering, we hope it will also make it easier to donate when we have luncheons or suppers—or when the Boy Scouts sell valuable collector items in the parking lot!

We’ll also be launching a new website design later in the month which will display better on mobile devices, and have more current pictures and information, including many of the articles from this newsletter.

Other new changes are coming too — we hope that all of them will make Trinity a better place and communicate our ministry more effectively.  We’re assembling an Outreach Committee to plan ways to reach the public more effectively.  If you’d like to serve on that committee — or help on specific tasks — please let me know!

Blessings,

Pastor John

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Women’s Fellowship News

Circle 3 will meet on Tuesday, February 5th at 6:30 pm in the old Fellowship Hall.  Please enter through the side door.

Circle #4 will meet on Tuesday, February 12⋅10:00 – 11:00am.

If you are interested, please join us for bible study and fellowship. New members welcomed!

 

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Credit Card Donations

Have you ever realized right when the offering was announced that you forgot your checkbook — and all you have in your wallet is a wrinkled dollar bill, some lint, and a CVS receipt?  You meant to donate, but now you’ll have to remember to go home and mail in a check. Now you will be able to make your donation for the Sunday offering with a credit or debit card as well! We will have a tablet with a card swipe unit set up at the rear of the sanctuary — just insert your card, type in the amount you want to donate, and it’s done!  You get an emailed receipt, and a card to place in the offering plate indicating that you gave electronically.  The secure card swipe system is powered by PayPal, and takes swiped cards and chip cards as well.  It’s easy and quick!  This same system will be available for donations at congregational lunches and other events, as well.  Be sure to try it out!

We are also in the process of setting up “text-to-give” options, which allow cell phone users to make donations by sending a text to a particular number.  This option should be available by the end of the month.

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Online Calendar

The Church Office is now using Google Calendar for all scheduling options.  The confusion that resulted from using both the old paper calendar and the electronic one occasionally caused some conflicts.

To submit a new date or reservation for the calendar, please CALL the church office, EMAIL the requested date to  office@trinitymoravian.org, or fill out a paper   Calendar request slip These are posted right outside the office door.  Dates are entered through our management software, and automatically “synched” to Google Calendar.

We now are including a huge amount of information on the calendar — volunteer rotations, LOGOS themes, room location for meetings, etc.  Just click on the event to see the details.  An added benefit for those who use Google calendar on their phone (that’s most Android and Apple phone users!), you can add events to your personal calendar with just a click.  Click on the event, when the detail window opens, click on COPY TO MY CALENDAR (see picture below).

No password is needed to view the calendar or the details.  We are planning to have a couple of screens in the church that display the calendar.

Do you have an older, unused tablet that still works — but not fast enough for current games and programs?  Would you consider donating that tablet to be one of our calendar display units?

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Christmas Lovefeast Report

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We had a wonderful turnout for the four Christmas Lovefeasts — that’s the Community Lovefeast, the two Christmas Eve services, and the “Little Lovefeast” held by the children in Sunday School.  The Community Lovefeast was particularly well attended, with many visitors from the area — more than we recall ever having before!  SPECIAL THANKS to the many people who worked so hard to make the services as success — dieners, coffee makers, ushers, webcasters, choirs, and so on!  Everyone did a wonderful job as we celebrated Christ’s birth!

Community Lovefeast: 195

Christmas Eve, 4:00: 397

Christmas Eve, 7:30: 238

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Trinity Video Challenge!

Are you ready to take the Trinity Video Challenge?  We are in the process of designing a new, “responsive” web site which will display better on mobile devices, and will have a more up-to-date look.  We’re looking for help from members and friends:  we need great photos of church people and events.  But we also need brief video snippets of a variety of our members and friends saying what it is they like about being a member of Trinity!  If you would be willing to be “on camera,” speak to Pastor John to set up a time — we want you to share your favorite memory or favorite thing about being a part of Trinity Moravian Church

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New Additions!

Congratulations to Tyler and Meagan McGee-Risdon on the birth of twins Nolan McGee Risdon (5 lb 15 oz) and Riley Woods Risdon (6 lb 4 oz) on December 30, 2018. Mom and dad are doing fine (though a little short on sleep! And Charliecarson is loving being a big sister! We look forward to doing a double baptism in the near future!

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