Parish News March 9, 2018


“It’s Better Than it Looks”
By Fr Bruce Swinehart
My retreat last weekend was blessedly quiet and peaceful.  I prayed, meditated, walked, played music, and wrote. I sat out on the deck and watched the moonrise. I watched cloud-shadows caress the mountains in the distance, and snow flurries swirl right outside my window.  Mostly I soaked in the silence.
I also read an intriguing book called It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook.  Easterbrook makes the case that humanity as a whole is better off now than it has ever been. Compared to any previous point in history, people around the world are generally healthier and living longer, being lifted out of poverty, are more likely to be living under democratic versus autocratic governments, and have better access to education (especially women and girls). We are less likely to die in wars or other violence, of starvation or malnutrition, or in automobile, airplane, or industrial accidents.
Easterbrook goes on to argue that gradual, overall improvement in humanity’s well-being is a universal trend over time, even though it is not always a continuous forward movement and does not necessarily impact every individual. Quoting Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he writes, “the great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization is forever upward.”
My first reaction to all this good news was, “Really? How can that possibly be true?”  As it turns out, my resistance is precisely the point of his book. Why are we so prone to believe that everything is getting worse, in spite of evidence to the contrary?

Daylight Saving:

Don’t forget to move your clocks
ahead one hour tonight (March 10)!

(click on event title links for details)
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A new Sign-Up Board is now located on the wall between the kitchen and the fireplace.  Check it out and sign up to provide Altar Flowers or Coffee Hour.
Journey Through Lent at St Mary Magdalene
“Body, Mind, and Spirit”
Join us in the many opportunities to reflect together during this Lenten season.  Find more information here for the events listed below.
  • Lenten Suppers: Wednesdays @ 6:00-7:30pm*
    • March 14: Courtney Gambrell will reflect on the spirituality of “Dreams and Metaphor.” 
    • March 21: Rabbi Tirzah Firestone will discuss “Passover and Seder, Easter and Eucharist.”
  • Centering Prayer: Tuesdays @ 9:15-10:15am
  • Yoga in the Sanctuary: Tuesdays  @ 8:00-9:00am and Saturdays 8:30-10:30am
  • Adult Forum Series:The Monastery: Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, Sundays Feb. 18 – Mar. 18 @ 9:00am
  • Labyrinth Walks:  Fridays Feb 16 – Mar 23 @ 12:00 noon
*St Mary Magdalene does not provide alcohol for community events, but attendees may bring beer or wine for themselves or to share.
Lenten Devotional Resource from the Society of St John the Evangelist
SSJE, an Episcopal religious order, is offering a 6-week daily Lenten devotional series called “Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John.” The program “invites participants on a  six-week journey into deeper intimacy with God by praying with the words of John the Evangelist.”  Includes a daily video and prayer email and a companion prayer journal.
Click here to learn more.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Lent is a traditional time to partake in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, aka, Confession. The Rite is found in the Book of Common Prayer beginning on p. 448 (available online Here). Please contact Fr Bruce directly if you would like more information or to schedule a time to meet. The Church’s rubric for Reconciliation is, “all may, some should, none must.”

Donate for Easter Flowers

Donations are being accepted for Easter flowers March 11 – April 1.  If you would like to contribute, please place a check or cash in the offering basket or safe deposit slot by the church office notating “Easter Flowers”.  A suggested donation of $30 is greatly appreciated. If you would like to dedicate your donation to a loved one, please email the church office with the name of the person and in honor, memory, etc. by 8am on Monday March 26.
Second Sunday Women’s Gathering

All women of St. Mary Magdalene are warmly invited to the Second Sunday Women’s Gathering this Sunday, March 11 at 11:30am. Join us in the library for a light lunch and heartfelt discussion, while getting to know some of the other wonderful women in our community.  Contact Roxanne Bamond.
SMM Book Club 
Our next book will be the famous Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton.  The novel explores the human anguish wrought in South Africa by the inhumane system of apartheid.  Pat and Al Jefferson will host us at 7pm on Friday, March 16, at their home.  Respond to Al Jefferson.

Celebrate the Vernal Equinox with St. Brigit’s

St. Brigit Episcopal Church once again will celebrate the return of Spring with a Vernal Equinox Service on Tuesday, March 20, at 7:00p.m. The theme of this unique, contemplative service will be birth and rebirth.
The Vernal Equinox celebration is a part of St. Brigit’s A’it Caol series.  A’it Caol (pronounced atch qweel) is Gaelic for “A Thin Place.”  These quarterly services are created to offer guests an experience of God through a unique liturgy, which combines ancient tradition with contemporary language.  They include specially designed meditation areas, reflecting the Scriptural lessons, and sacred music with a Celtic sound.  Read more here >

March for Our Lives: Denver

SMM will be joining congregations in our diocese and marching together in solidarity with students against gun violence in schools on March 24th.  Together, we will plan transportation.  Please contact Sue Crowley if you are interested in attending.  Check here for more information.

Save the Date: VBS 2018!

It’s that time of year again!  Vacation Bible School at SMM is happening June 5th, 6th, & 7th from 4-7 PM. This program is open to entering 1st-5th graders and 6th-12th grade as camp leaders. For more information contact Sue Crowley.
Opportunities to get involved in SMM Youth Ministries
Youth Group Leaders: The SMM Youth Group is looking for a couple of adult leaders to help with faith formation on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, during worship. Please speak with Sue Crowley if you feel you are called to help with our youth group program.
Mentors for SMM Confirmation Program: We will need adult mentors to share their faith stories with youth who are preparing for confirmation.  Adult mentors will meet with youths 2-3 times in March.  Interested in mentoring?  Please talk with Sue Crowley or Fr Bruce.
Mission Trip to Nogales AZ/Mexico: July 30-August 4

We are planning another “border immersion” trip to Nogales, a city on both sides of the US/Mexico border.  We will learn how legal and illegal immigration affects on life along the border, talk with migrants, walk migrant trials, and visit a sister Episcopal church. We’ll stay at a community center on the Mexico side, and work with the children there.  Please contact Fr Bruce if you are interested or would like to learn more. The dates of the trip have not yet been finalized — it will either be July 16-21 or 23-28.  Please let Fr Bruce know which date(s) would work best for you. Last year the cost was roughly $600/person, including airfare.  Click here to see a recent article by the New York Times about Nogales.

Join the SMM Food Ministry! 
The Food Ministry is now co-chaired by Sheila Martinson and Janet Taapken. A new sign up sheet is posted in the back of the church. If you are interested in occasionally providing a meal to a parish family in need, we would love to have you join our team. Thank you!
Support Community Food Share
Looking for an easy way to support Outreach? Please remember the SMM Food Pantry basket in your weekly grocery shopping! Donations such as cereal, peanut butter, soup, canned tuna and chicken, rice, and baby food/formula are especially needed. Place sealed, non-perishable items only in the basket at the back of church in the entry way. Thank you!
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Bishop: The Rt. Reverend Robert O’Neill
Priest in Charge: The Rev. Bruce Swinehart,
Children and Youth: Sue Crowley,
Music Director: Matt Witherow,
Parish Administrator: Brian Gates,
Sr. Warden: Jim Watkins, 
Jr. Warden: Jeff Cantrell,
Worship Service Times

Saturdays 5:00pm
Sundays 8:00am & 10:00am

Office Hours

Mon-Thur 9am-2pm

Priest in Charge Hours

Monday – Sabbath
Tues-Thur – Office Hours
Fri-Sat – by appointment

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