We are committed to helping others grow and develop holistically.
We also encourage learning at all ages.
One should never stop expanding their mind, no matter how much time goes by.
Most of us may think of the church's liturgical season of Lent as a season of penance, somberness, introspection, and deprivation, like fasting. Lent is all of that. Lent invites us to think seriously about the suffering that Christ endured in order to save us on a cross. But, Lent can also be a time of celebration. Lent involves the advent of Spring—when we welcome signs of life—when things start to become green.
Nothing captures this point more poignantly than the holiday of St. Patrick's Day on March 17. I remember celebrating this holiday as a child in the inner city during Lent. Amid a sea of green humanity, I reveled in the sound of bagpipes filling the air during a parade, followed by chomping on soda bread and corned beef and cabbage.
What I have always admired about St. Patrick's Day is that everyone, irrespective of ethnic background, dresses in green and is welcomed as Irish. More than ever, we need rites of passages that can serve as a unifying bond in our society. More than ever, we need to celebrate the gift of life amid the culture of morbidity caused by COVID-19.
Likewise, during Lent, we can celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ died on a cross in order to welcome us into God's kingdom and make us one, irrespective of class, creed, gender, and ethnic background. The Bible states in Galatians 3:
“So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Please note that the aforementioned verse says that we are “one in Christ Jesus.” This is possible because we have received forgiveness. We all have been accepted. We all have a place in heaven. What better way to celebrate forgiveness than St. Patrick's Day, even though it is scheduled during Lent?
The Irish approach to Lent offers perspective, balance—and it is biblical. Please recall that Jesus knew he was going to die once he was in Jerusalem. Prior to his arrest, Jesus made the decision to rent an upper room in order to celebrate the gift of life and friendship with his apostles by having a “last meal”: the “last supper.” Jesus made the choice to celebrate. He rented a room, broke bread, and sang a hymn with his friends in the face of his impending death (Mark 14:14-25). It was in this upper room that the sacrament of The Lord's Supper was established, and where Jesus famously said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” It is this biblical account that has influenced us as a church to hold an Agape Meal in conjunction with The Matchbox in years past during the high holy week of Lent, known as Passion Week, which is the week that leads us to Easter.
Knowing that our faith gives us a biblical precedent to celebrate amid Lent—and, arguably, a dispensation to celebrate amid Lent—how will we choose to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? A green coffee? A green beer? An Irish pun?
As the Irish blessing goes, “May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold—and at the end of your rainbows may you find a pot of gold.”
Have a blessed Lent and St. Patrick's Day!
See below for previous pastoral letters:
During our Sunday morning worship services,
we have a short children's sermon,
after which the children proceed to Christian Ed.
Sunday school is held for children in grades K-12.
Nursery care is available for little ones of pre-school age and younger!
Due to the safety protocols of our reopening,
our Sunday School program is currently suspended.
Check out our CHILDREN'S/YOUTH MINISTRY page
for online resources for our younger congregants!
LUNCH & LEARN
Led by Dr. Bruce Chilton of the Bard College
the Rhinebeck Reformed Church and
the Jewish Federation of Dutchess of County
Time: 12:30 - 1 p.m. lunch
1 - 1:45 p.m. lecture
1:45 to 2 p.m. questions and answers
Please contact the church to RSVP for this free event.
The Lunch & Learn series is temporarily postponed
due to concerns regarding COVID-19.
See our LUNCH & LEARN page
for video lectures from Dr. Bruce Chilton!
CARING FOR CREATION COMMITTEE
This committee strives to teach about good environmental practices
through events and programs that lead to
more sustainable mindsets and lives.
Our mission is to help protect and cherish all that God has created.
Check out this exciting update from David Baldauf:
SOLAR ELECTRICITY FOR THE CHURCH
Hallelujah, the church is lighting up with solar energy!
Beginning last March, just before the lockdown,
the Caring for Creation Committee was instrumental in signing up the church for Community Solar,
wherein we receive our electricity from solar panels
in a remote installation provided by the Nexamp Corporation.
This is achieved at no cost to the church, with the electricity provided as usual via Central Hudson.
Using solar panels to generate our electricity eliminates the need for Central Hudson to burn fossil fuel, which disperses carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - a contributor to climate change.
So far, over these six months, the church has avoided the release of over 10,000 pounds of co2:
that's the equivalent of planting 78 trees!
Signing up through the Community Solar program also encourages companies to invest
in building more solar arrays which other homes and businesses could utilize.
What the church has done is a model of what our congregants could do as well for their homes.
You can contact me (send a message through the website) for general information on how to get started.
~ David Baldauf