The Passing of Martha Ray

It is with sadness to announce the passing of Martha Ray earlier this morning at the age of 102. We give thanks to God for her long life here on earth and for her dedication to our church over the years. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

Together We Wait

Dear Church Family,

Last week I polled the Church Council and other leaders on whether or not to worship in-person on March 29th. A clear majority recommended that we suspend the worship service.

As much as we miss worshipping together in our sanctuary, and as much as it pains us, we will have to be patient another week as we remain in our homes on Sunday, March 29th.

In the responses I got from the leaders, they pointed out the hour by hour developments unfolding around the country. The urgent call of the moment is to remain apart as much as is possible to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is being called “flattening the curve”. By doing this, we protect each other and our loved ones and we contribute to the measures and efforts being taken to achieve this one clear objective.

An email message will be sent with the liturgy for Sunday’s service. On Sunday morning, I will live-stream parts of the service and my sermon on our Facebook Page. By this Wednesday, we will mail hard copies of the liturgy and sermon to our parishioners who are offline.

Together We Wait!

God of Grace, God of Glory

From the evils that surround us and assail the Savior’s ways, from the fears that long have bound us—free our hearts for faith and praise.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days, for the living of these days.

(Stanza 2)

Blessings,

Pastor Felix Carrión

Worshiping Together While We Are Apart

Dear Church Family,

While we are apart, we continue to look for ways to connect and be together in the Spirit.

It is my goal to share with you each week the liturgy I prepare for the Sunday service. We will email it to our members and mail it to those who do not utilize social media. As you will see, the worship content will even include some of the hymns’ stanzas. I will also post a sermon on our Facebook Page which will be available to you by Sunday morning.

By doing this, we can all say the Call to Worship, pray the Invocation, sing the Goria Patri and stanzas of the hymns (if you know the tune), read the Scriptures, and conclude with the Benediction. If you’re with your spouse or another family member, you may want to worship together on Sunday at 10:00 AM. You can also pick another day and/or time to go through the service and listen to the sermon.

The idea is to be “together” as we lift our praises and prayers to our God in our homes. Our hearts will resonate with the presence of Jesus Christ and each other. Listen to the words of the disciples who met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus, for I believe we will experience the same thing.

“They said to each other, were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

Blessings,

Pastor Felix Carrión

CALL TO WORSHIP                                                             

M: God is in our midst, watching over us and strengthening our faith.

C: Though the way will be difficult, God’s faithfulness remains with

      us and it will not fail.

M: We need not fear.  We only need to believe.

C: In the Lord we will take refuge, for God is our strength.

M: Come to the Lord who will surround you with God’s own love and

      light.

C: Lord, open our hearts and our spirits so that we may remain

     United in the Spirit, Strong in our Love, and Steady in our Faith.

     AMEN.

HYMN            #407    “How Firm a Foundation”                    vs. 1 & 2

 How firm a foundation for you has been laid,

 by God in the Word, in the sacrifice paid!

What  more can God say than to you has been said,

 to you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with you, oh, be not dismayed,

 for I am your God, I will still give you aid;

 I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand

 up held by my gracious, omnipotent hand.”

INVOCATION                                                                    God of all peace, you are the source of our hope and strength in life.  Our circumstances are far from peaceful at this time, as we face a pandemic that disrupts our ways of life and disturbs our peace.  In these days, Lord Jesus Christ, remind us of the great truth that your peace is not the peace that the world offers.  Your peace is greater than the situation we find ourselves in.  Your peace surpasses all understanding.  It is this peace and this blessed

reassurance that takes away our fear and emboldens our faith.  So, we cry out to you:  grant us your peace and let it transform our minds, our hearts and our actions.  We pray this for ourselves, our nation and our world, in and through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  

PRAISE          #759    “Gloria Patri”

SCRIPTURE:            Psalm 31:1-5  

To the leader.  A Psalm of David.

₁In you, O LORD, I seek refuge;

do not let me ever be put to shame;

in your righteousness deliver me.

₂Incline your ear to me;

rescue me speedily.

Be a rock of refuge for me,

a strong fortress to save me.

₃You are indeed my rock and my fortress;

for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,

₄take me out of the net that is hidden for me,

for you are my refuge.

₅Into your hand I commit my spirit;

you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

SCRIPTURE                        John 14:25-27     

₂₅I have said these things to you while I am still with you.  ₂₆But the

Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will

teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 

₂₇Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as

the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubles, and do not let them

be afraid.

HYMN      #573          “Lead On Eternal Sovereign”                  vs. 1 & 2

Lead on eternal Sovereign, we follow in your way;

loud rings your cry for justice, your call for peace this day:

Through prayerful preparation, your grace will make us strong,

to carry on the struggle to triumph over wrong.

Lead on eternal Sovereign, we follow not with fear,

for in each human conflict your words of strength we hear:

That when we serve with gladness, you will not let us fall,

our trust is in your promise that love will conquer all.

SERMON                          “My Peace I Give to You”            Rev. Felix Carrión

PASTORAL PRAYER/THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

HYMN    #436            “God of Grace and God of Glory”       vs. 1, 2 & 5

God of grace and God of glory, on your people

pour your power; crown your ancient church’s story;

bring its bud to glorious flower.  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,

for the facing of this hour, for the facing of this hour.

From the evils that surround us and assail the

Savior’s ways, from the fears that long have bound us-

free our hearts for faith and praise.  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,

for the living of these days, for the living of these days.

Save us from weak resignation to the evils

we deplore; let the search for your salvation

be our glory evermore.  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,

serving you whom we adore, serving you whom we adore.

COMMISSIONING AND BENEDICTION

M: “May God bless us and keep us safe.  May God’s face shine upon us and be gracious to one and all.  May God look upon us with kindness and grant us peace.”

United in the Spirit

Dear Church Family,

How do we live through these unprecedented days of trial and increased concern for our well-being as individuals and as a church community?

First, we pray for each other. As we pray, we are present to each other even when we are apart. As we pray, our love and our spiritual energies are sent to one another. So, I invite you to envision streams of love and divine energy moving between us in these days. Trust in the power of prayer.

Second, the Church leadership will maintain vital communication with our congregants to keep all informed of developments for our congregation. This will be accomplished by way of email blasts, phone calls, and mailings.

Third, it is our hope to upload worship content to our Facebook Page that you can access once posted. We are also looking into posting this content on the St. John’s website.  We are planning to mail out this worship content to those who are not connected to social media.

Fourthly, we’ll find the ways to provide personal care to those who need assistance. For example, groceries can be picked up and delivered to those who are home bound. We are especially thinking of the elderly members of our congregation who are the most vulnerable. The Family Ministry is giving oversight to these needs.

Lastly, we’d like to remind you of your continued financial support of the Church. The Church Council met on Monday, March 16, and affirmed this important concern. If you are able to mail in your tithes and/or contributions, this assures that these offerings are not lost to the Church. If you wish to hold them until the Sunday we are present in Church, then please do so. We thank you for these contributions of love and support.

As a Church Family, we remain united in the Spirit, strong in our love for each other, and steady in our faith in Jesus Christ.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through [Christ] who loved us.” Romans 8:37

Pastor Felix Carrión

Suspension of Our Worship Services

Dear Church Family,

After much prayer, and deliberation with our church leaders, we are heeding the national advice of many to suspend all in-person worship services for the next two Sundays, March 15 & 22. In unison with our country, we want to do our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We don’t want to place any of our members at risk. Although we have a small Church, we do acknowledge that we are an elderly congregation. This is the most vulnerable population to this virus. Clearly, we are erring on the side of caution. We will also reach out to those who do not communicate via email. If someone comes to mind, please give them a call. Our congregational unity and bond in the Spirit will remain strong. I will continue to offer my pastoral care to all of you.

We are praying for all who have been infected, for their loved ones, for our country, and our world.

“May God bless you and keep you safe. May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God look upon you with kindness and give you peace.”

Daylight Savings Time

Reminder to set your clocks ahead one hour this Saturday night (March 7th) before going to bed, as Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 A.M. Sunday morning, March 8, 2020.

Ash Wednesday Service

You are invited to our Ash Wednesday Service on February 26, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary. Feel free to invite family, friends and neighbors to worship with you.