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Want to learn more about what an Anabaptist believes? Join us this Sunday April 16 as we resume a series of worships about “Anabaptist-Mennonite Essentials:” core convictions, core practices of our stream of spirituality within the broad river of Christianity.As Bob Dylan observed, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” “Jesus is Lord” is a good short creedal statement of our Christian faith. “Lord:” meaning, who I give my supreme allegiance to. “Seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness…” (Mt. 6:33).Anabaptist/Mennonite theology believes that Jesus is our model and ultimate authority for personal and social ethics. We strive to follow Christ as our primary allegiance; and to respect and obey (secular government) “ordained” leaders to the extent that Christian discipleship permits.
This Sunday we end our Lenten journey and celebrate Easter. Our Scripture text is John 20:1-18: a beautiful account of Jesus’ closest friends, followers, discovering that his body was not in the tomb, and coming to see and begin to believe that he had risen from the dead.
We are especially looking at Mary Magdalene, whom Eastern Christians honor as “the apostle to the apostles,” the first Christian evangelist. We’ve met Mary in John chapters 11, 12, and 20, a dear friend with Jesus. The closeness of their friendship is deeply moving in this week’s passage.
We notice that Mary confesses Christ, serves Jesus, anoints him for burial, witnesses his death and resurrection, and proclaims the first Easter message. She models a five-fold vocation for all followers of Jesus and is an example for us as we journey through Holy Week: trust, serve, bless, witness, and proclaim.
This season we have been engaged in the spiritual practice of seeking—asking questions, and staying curious, open-hearted, and nimble. This Sunday we ask, as Mary is asked several times, “Why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” We pray these questions will draw us more deeply into the heart of God and into the fullness of life.
Join us this Sunday for our Easter worship service at 10 a.m.
Join us this Sunday, February 26th, at 9:30
Listening is always easier said than done.
We shuffle into this space and try to quiet our minds, but the list of distractions is long.
We need your help to listen.
So today we ask that you would
marinate us in your Word.
Dust the cobwebs from our ears.
Stir our souls awake.
Crack open our hearts to make room for you.
Scoop us up. Put us in your pocket
as you carry us with you wherever you go.
We want to hear you,
really hear you,
as you speak to us now.
With hope we pray,
This Lent, we invite you to engage in the spiritual practice of seeking. The lectionary for 2023 offers us many stories of Jesus encountering people who are seeking. In these stories, each person is seeking a new beginning, a different life, a deeper faith. What unfolds is an exchange filled with questions and exploration.
This Sanctified Art Lenten series is founded on questions. Many of our weekly questions feel restorative. Some feel like a charge or challenge. Some questions are hopeful and curious. Our questions won’t necessarily lead to answers, but they can help us find clarity and a new perspective. Ultimately, we pray they lead to a new beginning, a restoration, a wider grace.
The past two Wednesdays Paoli Mennonite Fellowship held a “Soup and Sew” gathering from 11am-1pm to knot 15 comforters for disaster relief around the world. We are joining a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) effort to gather 45,000 comforters from US and Canada churches to ship to global neighbors suffering from disaster and war—to places like Syria, Turkey, and Ukraine. MCC is a relief, service, and peace agency representing 15 Mennonite, Brethren in Christ, and Amish groups in North America. We worked together and then shared a simple lunch of soup and bread.
Check our church FB page or call 812-723-2414 to see if we will hold another “Soup and Sew” gathering this week. All are welcome! No experience necessary.
A bit about our advent theme from Sactified Art:
As we read through and studied the scriptures we selected, a line from Mary’s song of protest and praise gave us pause:
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation. (Luke 1: 48b-50)
Despite the challenges and vulnerability she faced, Mary could glimpse the scale and scope of the good news she was part of bringing forth. This good news transcends time and space—it was and is bigger than just her. Christ is coming for collective liberation: God’s redemption is at work for years to come. Therefore, the promise is meant to be lived out and passed on from generation to generation.
We are invited to look at the characters in our scriptures and wonder: What did each character pass on or contribute? How did each character participate in God’s liberation and love? Which characters try to thwart God’s justice and what can we learn from them? What is our role now? What is our generation’s task? What will we carry forth, and what should we leave behind?
The root word of “generation” is “gen” meaning “origin” or “birth.” Our theme is also a call to action: what are we being called to generate or bring forth? What have your ancestors and those who have come before you passed on for you to continue? Who are the spiritual elders in your community who planted the seeds for the things that are now blooming? What seeds are you planting for the future?
From Generation to Generation… reminds us of the ways our lives, histories, actions, and stories are interconnected and woven together. In the midst of narratives, policies, and rhetoric designed to divide us, what does it look like to practice belonging to one another? The work of God is always unfolding— in and through us. This Advent season, how will we carry it forth?
© a sanctified art | sanctifiedart.org
“Some of the best conversations start with good questions—questions we’ve been meaning to ask, questions that keep us curious, and questions that lead us deeper into courage and connection. Our upcoming worship series from @sanctifiedart centers around four guiding questions: “I’ve been meaning to ask… Where are you from?… Where does it hurt?… What do you need?… Where do we go from here?” As you can see, these questions aren’t surface level; they invite us to tell our stories, share our pain, care for one another, and dream about a new way forward together. Through vulnerability and authenticity, may our courageous conversations lead us to glimpse hope, joy, and beauty—and to become the community God created us to be.”
PMF participants continue to find ways to respond to the refugee crisis throughout the world. How do we, in this small community, not personally impacted by war and violence, respond to families uprooted from home and lacking basic necessities to live? We continue to listen for opportunities.
In December Mennonite Central Committee, in celebration of its 100 year anniversary, organized a Great Winter Warm-up with a goal of making 6,500 comforters that could be distributed to refugees around the world. At about the same time PMF was given 24 comforter tops that needed to be knotted. Here was our opportunity to be a part of a nation-wide effort to respond to this ambitious effort.
During the months of December and January, Evie Shellenberger led PMF participants, who gathered on several Wednesdays for Soup and Sew where several comforters were knotted each Wednesday. Small groups gathered on Small Group night to knot comforters. Individuals prepared and knotted comforters each week. As a result of this effort 21 comforters were delivered to Mennonite Central Committee Great Lakes on January 24 by John and Julie Harrison. In addition, several comforters were knotted and given to local families who were impacted by significant loss. Six more comforter tops wait to be knotted! We remember Jesus’ words, “In as much as you have done it to one of the least of these, you have done it to me.”