A Word from the Pastors | Black History Month  

It was noted in Pastor Gwen’s 2021 Member Calendar for the National African American Museum of History and Culture. This day, February 4, is Rosa Parks Day; she was born on February 4, 1913. Rosa Parks fought for civil rights long before that Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott in 1955. In December, 1943 she joined and became secretary of the local NAACP chapter, which her husband, Raymond, had already belonged to. Even before that she and her husband helped with the defense of the “Scottsboro Boys” – nine black teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women aboard a train near Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931. She is best known, however, for that bus incident on December 1, 1955 when – at the age of 43 years – she was tired from her day of work and even more tired of always giving in. She had gotten up and moved in the past. But on that particular day she didn’t get up from her seat from the first row of the “black section” so that a white-skinned passenger might sit. She was warned and she was arrested and fined. Her refusal to get up from her seat helped spark a bus boycott of 381 days that ultimately resulted in the end of segregated buses. Rosa Parks took a stand against systemic racism by staying seated.

St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is almost entirely a congregation of Black folk (in a denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is approximately 98% “white”). We have continued, over the years, to observe Black History Month. Even though we are gathering online for “Zoom worship” this year, we invite you to wear Afrocentric clothing each Sunday. And we are grateful for the efforts of Juanita Williams to prepare “Black History Moments” during our worship for each Sunday; she hopes to help raise up some less-known persons who struggled, who suffered, who persisted. And we encourage you to take the time during these weird days of COVID-19 and this ongoing time of “Black Lives Matter” to read, to listen, to watch, to reflect, to pray, to commit, to act.

 

ELCA Youth Extravaganza

Each year our national denominations Youth Ministry Network presents an opportunity for mutual support, learning, and celebration related to adults involved in youth ministry. In past years a few adults from St. Peter’s have traveled to places like Florida or Houston for this event. But this year’s Youth Extravaganza is online… another COVID-19 adjustment.

But not traveling has some advantages. Nineteen St. Peter’s members have registered to participate this year! The Extravaganza begins on Thursday evening (February 4) and ends Saturday evening. Have a wonderful trip across the miles as you virtually gather with others who also have a heart for the youth. Be encouraged, inspired, challenged, and transformed!

 

Church Council

The next online Council meeting was erroneously listed by the Pastors as February 15… it should have been the second Monday of the month, February 8. But the Pastors are not aware of any pressing agenda items. So we will not meet in February. The next regular meeting, on Zoom, would be

March 8 at 7:00PM.

Ash Wednesday

This calendar year, the Church Year season of LENT begins on February 17. The Israelites wandered 40 years in the wilderness. Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights struggling with Satan in the wilderness. During Lent we will journey through our own 40-day wilderness as we seek to die to our old habits and destructive ways. In this season we will journey with Jesus toward his death. In this season Jesus journeys with us as we seek – not just denial and sacrifice – but transformation, new life, resurrection. Now is the right time, now is the day of God’s salvation!

On that first day of Lent we will have an online Ash Wednesday Zoom worship service beginning at 7:00PM. As with so many other things, COVID-19 will keep us from physically gathering together in one place. Nor will we distribute ashes… though, if you like, you might prepare your own ashes. Traditionally, ashes are prepared by burning palm fronds from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. [And last year another COVID-19 adjustment was that we didn’t distribute palms either!]  You might have palm from a previous year… or you might have a fireplace with ashes… or you might have a piece of charcoal… or you might have some mud from your yard or flower pot. Whatever you use, make sure it is finely ground and safe for your skin. On Ash Wednesday you might have a small bowl of water nearby. You can dip your finger in the water, then into your finely ground homemade ashes, then make the sign of the cross on your forehead at the appropriate time in the worship. The small bowl of water can also be used to clean your finger.

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. On Ash Wednesday we are reminded of our mortality and that the wages of sin are death. Each of us. All of us. But the sign of the cross also marks us as children of God and as disciples of Christ. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Repent and believe the Gospel.” 

As we walk with Jesus to Calvary, we journey toward a death of self to eternal life in him!

Keep HOPE Alive!

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

God does not faint or grow weary;

God’s understanding is unsearchable.

God gives power to the faint,

and strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint and be weary,

and the young will fall exhausted;

but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,
they will walk and not faint.

                        Isaiah 40:28-31

 

Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.