Rev. Liz and Rev Jack Miller would like to welcome you to the Saint Clare Pastoral Center website. We are part of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion* (ECC), the largest independent catholic jurisdiction in the United States, and a member of the National Council of Churches. Our denomination traces its history through the European Old Catholic Churches who came together in opposition to the declaration of papal infallibility established by the First Vatican Council (1869-70). Their mission was to offer valid sacraments that are open to all those seeking a faith community whose beliefs are grounded in the traditions of the early Christian church, while maintaining the basic integrity of the Catholic liturgy.
• Holy Week, April 5-12, 2020
• Palm/Passion Sunday, April 5, 2020
• Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020
• Good Friday, April 10, 2020
• Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
• Administrative Professionals Day, April 22, 2020
A modern-day parable
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables about the precious being lost and, at great lengths, found again. The kingdom of heaven, he says, is like that. But most of us don’t shepherd sheep and wouldn’t fret over one lost coin. A child, on the other hand …
In fall 2019, as night fell in northern Minnesota, 6-year-old Ethan and his dog wandered off. Family and police grew frantic because the area consisted of fields, woods and swamps. Authorities requested assistance.
The kingdom of heaven, Jesus might say, is like 600 volunteers searching diligently in the dark for a child they didn’t know. It’s like Steve Fines who, though also a stranger to the boy, grabbed his company’s pricy heat-seeking drone and worked the camera for hours, until it detected Ethan huddling with his dog, safe but cold. Yes, the kingdom of heaven — indeed God — is like people giving their all and refusing to quit until the lost one is found.
Easter around the world
Easter traditions are important, but they vary widely. While Americans dye hardboiled eggs, Kenyans carve soapstone eggs and present them as gifts in banana-fiber boxes. In Bermuda, locals fly homemade kites on Good Friday — a tradition that began when a teacher illustrated Christ’s ascension to heaven using a cross-shaped kite.
Ethiopian Christians observe a 56-day fast from meat and all animal products. On Easter, they dress in white to worship in churches decorated with handmade fabric. Then they feast with non-Christians on roast chicken, goat and rice.
In France, church bells are silent between Holy Thursday and Easter to observe Jesus’ Passion. According to legend, the bells grow wings and fly to Rome to be blessed, returning on Easter with chocolate and presents. In one town’s main square, chefs make a giant omelet with 4,500 eggs to feed 1,000 people!
Three of the Gospels tell that when Jesus was crucified, darkness covered the earth from noon until three in the afternoon. Which Gospel does not mention this event?
Answer: D (See Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.)
A reason to laugh
The week after Easter, some churches observe Holy Humor Sunday — a tradition dating back to the fourth century. Early Christian theologians coined the term “risus paschalis,” or “the Easter laugh,” saying God played the supreme joke on death. Some believers celebrated Bright Monday, gathering the day after Easter to mock Satan’s defeat.
On the first day of April, remember that “we are fools for Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:10, NIV). Then later in the month, take time to smile and laugh, knowing that victory is yours, thanks to Jesus.
The Mount Vernon First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ gathers together as a community of faith, declaring Jesus our Christ, the one who reconciles us with God and with each other. We provide a place of traditional worship in a forthright, supportive, and open atmosphere. We are a congregation committed to serving local and global outreach ministries.
"A Caring, Welcoming, Community of Faith"
Steve & Lela Coleman
From Sandy Messick:
Dear Northern Lights Family,
Even as I sat down to write this letter, word came across my computer screen that the World Health Organization has officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global pandemic. Here in the Northern Lights Region the effects are being unevenly felt across our wide geography. In Western Washington where the largest number of cases have been reported, pastors and congregations are making difficult decisions about how to modify or even cancel worship services out of concern for the safety of all. In other parts of our region, no confirmed cases of the virus have been reported…..yet. I believe it is only a matter of time before we are all feeling the effects. Now is the time to prepare.
For those communities not yet affected, now is the time to modify worship and other gathering practices to minimize the spread of infection. This could mean modifying the way you offer communion, eliminating the Passing of the Peace or changing it to a non-touch practice, encouraging separation in the worship space seating, and encouraging the most vulnerable to make good decisions about staying home and skipping group gatherings all together. Other practical measures include practicing good hygiene and deciding how to make decisions about whether or not to gather. A helpful resource is provided by the CDC:
Our General Church has also provided resources:
For those communities already affected and for other communities as the outbreak spreads, I encourage you to follow the recommendations of your County Health Department regarding large group gatherings. For instance, King Co., Washington, has recommended that gatherings of over 50 people cancel or postpone their events. The Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee has announced other mandatory measures regarding gatherings of 250 people or more. If you choose to continue worshiping in-person, I encourage you to practice safe hygiene, seek ways to protect the most vulnerable among you, and stay flexible if the situation worsens.
If you choose to suspend worship for a time, I encourage you to think creatively about how to stay connected as a congregation. For some, Sunday worship is a primary point of social contact. How can we ensure our members are not isolated? What role can the elders and other members play in keeping connected? How can we use technology to provide opportunities for gathering (online Bible Studies, livestreaming worship, etc?) Who will need extra help in getting connected through technology?
Your regional leaders are seeking ways to be helpful and supportive during this difficult time. Some of the ways we are already doing this:
Regular conversation via email and Zoom with the most affected pastors
Passing along information as we receive it from denominational and national offices. We will also be gathering this on the website in a dedicated section:
Other support we are also exploring:
Regular weekly Zoom meetings with the Regional Minister to share ideas, plans, questions, and support
Using Zoom to offer a Regional Worship alternative for those congregations that are unable to meet in person.
Offering Emergency Technology Grants to congregations that need to purchase equipment to livestream worship services
Offering the ability for individuals to donate online through the region’s website and designate their giving to their local congregation. Though certainly not the first concern, I’m aware that one unintended consequence of not meeting for worship may likely be a drop in giving. Many congregations already have the ability for online giving but for those who do not, we are working on a user-friendly alternative.
Experts are telling us that the actions we take early on can help flatten the curve of the spread and hopefully lessen the impact of this virus on our communities. Our mandate from Jesus is to care for the most vulnerable in our midst. Therefore, even if we are not in the high-risk population, we know that many in our congregations are (Over age 60, underlying health issues) and it is our responsibility and Christian duty to do what we can to minimize their risk while staying connected.
If you have made the decision to suspend worship and/or are live streaming your worship service, please let the Regional Office know so we can post it on the website.
I give thanks for each of you and for the ministry of your congregations. Let us pray together for the safety of those most impacted by COVID-19 and for the wisdom and skill of our medical community and civic leaders.
Grace and peace,