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Pastor Cheryl Matthews Report

Dear Friends in Christ:

Holy Week provides us with the opportunity to experience the unfailing, unfaltering, unparalleled love of God in Christ Jesus. Through Christ's life, death, and resurrection, we are granted grace upon grace. We are set free from sin and death, free and empowered to move with love and compassion in the world.

You will find all the worship services for Holy Week in this April Newsletter. I am grateful for the guidance and assistance of the Worship Committee in planning these special services. I am excited that the Worship Team will come together again to assist with both the Palm Sunday and Easter worship. Our celebrations will be much more festive and energetic as they sing the beloved, traditional songs as an ensemble. They will also do dramatic readings of the Gospel on both Sundays. Their gifts and talents will help make these Holy Week celebrations meaningful and memorable.

Maundy Thursday promises to be a meaningful experience as well. Six of our young people have been preparing for their First Communion and will be receiving the Sacrament for the first time this night. Their names will be announced and their families will be invited to commune with them at the beginning of our distribution time. The First Communion banners that they made during class will also be on display that evening. The service will include the song "My Name is Judas" sung by Pamela Weltzein and Todd Fetsch. We will conclude with the traditional stripping of the altar as Psalm 22 is read. The lights will dim and we depart in meditative silence.

On Easter Sunday we begin with the ancient Easter greeting, "Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen! Jesus Christ is risen indeed!" As the world brings out fluffy bunnies, sweet treats, and eggs, we are rooted in the promises of the resurrection - forgiveness and grace that comes from our crucified and risen Savior Jesus Christ. On this festive day, we see Christ in all his glory and we receive the gift of grace as we share the sacrament of Holy Communion. Christ's light shines and lights our way. We are called to share this light, love, and grace with all whom we encounter. Let the Holy Spirit wash over you as you worship on Easter Sunday and know that God's love is why Easter matters. Thanks be to God!

Savor all the sacred moments of Holy Week. I look forward to all our Holy week worship opportunities and the blessed journey we share with Jesus to the cross and the empty tomb. Join us in-person or via Facebook live for these worship opportunities.

Let the light of Christ shine in your hearts, illumine your path and guide your comings and goings, so that you may always know the way, the truth and the life.

In Jesus love and service,

Pastor Cheryl Matthews

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