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The beautiful flowering trees on our church grounds are featured in this lovely deep listening/meditation video by Aphoria Music. Doug and Megan took the images, and John Franek supplied the beautiful music. #peaceful ...
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Timeline PhotosWhat do I need to do to become a mentor? ⁠Say YES! 🤩⁠The Dare to Dream program offers an opportunity to individually serve an aged-out or at-risk to age-out youth in foster care (11-24 years old). Our mentors are advocates, teachers, guides, role models, valued friends, and available resources.⁠Every day, ordinary people desire to make a difference and are willing to invest in deserving youth. ✅⁠Sign up today to be a New Jersey Angels mentor, and we will train you to SHOW UP for a local foster youth who needs someone to walk alongside them as they navigate life’s challenges.⁠What are you waiting for? Say YES!⁠More info through the link below!⁠www.newjerseyangels.org/daretodream.html--#newjersey #fostercare #foster #fostermom #fostering #fosterfamily #thisisfostercare #WeCare #DaretoDream #LoveBox #adoption #njmom #fosterlove #fosterparents #mercercounty #mercercountynj #middlesexcounty #bergencounty #hunterdoncounty #monmouthcounty #somersetcounty #gloucestercounty #sussexcounty #essexcounty #unioncounty #hudsoncounty #burlingtoncounty #morriscounty #passaiccounty #camdencounty ...
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It was a beautiful morning for worship. We bid farewell and Godspeed to our Seminarian Becca Laabs and had lovely livestream and outdoor worship services. #HeIsRisen ...
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Sunday April 18, 2021 ...
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Why does Pastor Peter have a jack-o-lantern at the children’s time today? ...
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All are welcome! ...
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Become active, dear church | ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton | April 16, 2021 ...
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We're thankful for our Seminarian, Becca Laabs, who provides this week's children's sermon...based on Acts 4: 32-35. ...
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We apologize for the late delivery of our Easter Sunday children's sermon. Our Seminarian, Becca Laabs, provides our Easter focus in this video. Thanks to Becca! #HeIsRisen ...
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Vicar Kayla here. We're sorry about the technological glitches this morning. Here's my manuscript from today's sermon. Peace be with you. --Imagine for a moment a place of serenity and peace. Close your eyes if you need to and try to take in the scene around you – the smells, the landscape, the noises. Perhaps it’s your favorite vacation destination, a hammock near the lake with your favorite novel in your hands, a café in a bustling city with vibrant noises and people surrounding you, a mountaintop by yourself among the pine trees, or your favorite spot on the Jersey shore, where you are burrowing your feet into the sand and hearing the gentle waves of the ocean in front of you. Whatever that place may be for you, I highly doubt that the scene you imagined was similar to our gospel reading nor similar to our reality during this past year. Though today’s text is often remembered for Thomas’ doubt, if there is any doubting here, it is that peace can be found within a locked room full of anxious disciples fearing for their lives. Over a week ago, the disciples had been breaking bread with Jesus. Shortly thereafter, they witnessed Pilate’s soldiers arresting their leader saw the crowd in Jerusalem who once shouted “Hosanna,” now cry out: “Crucify him!” And from a distance they witnessed Jesus being scoffed at and beaten as he carried his cross to the top of the hill where he slowly died, suffering the weight of the world. It all took place just a week ago and as his followers, were they next? In that very moment of deep fear and anxiety, Jesus meets them, declares Peace be with you, shows them the wounds of the cross, and breathes the Holy Spirit upon them so that they could go out into the world and minister in His name. But, one disciple was missing: Thomas. And when Thomas returned he insisted on seeing the wounds just like the others. Because seeing the wounds meant everything. For if Christ whom this world killed is NOT scarred by it then nothing else matters. For just as Christ was nailed to a tree; Injustice still spears the heart of justice; Fear and hatred hammers into the hands of love; And violence jabs the vision of peace. And do we not just like Thomas demand to see this peace? Demand that there is more to this world than disease? That there is more to this world than hatred, shame, and loneliness? We want peace to be genuine and real, not just a platitude – a nice smile and the shake of a hand. “Keep the peace” in our society has become a euphemism for “let things stay the same” – do not make any waves so that the status quo is maintained. But Thomas does not want this kind of peace. Thomas needs to know a peace which will turn this world upside down or the sake of justice and equality. He needs to know of a peace that will carry him through the storms; a peace that will never let go when waves of fear and shame over take him. A peace that will go where no other dares to go. And so once again with Thomas now in the room. The scene repeats. And when Jesus appears before Thomas showing him the wounds of the world – Thomas does not need to touch the wounds, for nothing in the text indicates to us that he did. Because Thomas sees it. Thomas encounters the Peace of the world right in front of him…The same body which fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish; walked on stormy waters; and raised Lazarus from the dead. The same body which Thomas saw brutally murdered on the cross. That same body rose from the dead, carrying the wounds of the world with him. Thomas saw that Jesus in his risen bodily form is the Peace – the embodied Peace for us. And with a gasp, Thomas responds with a proclamation of faith: My Lord and My God. Certainly, if peace were to come, who would have expected it to come like this – at nighttime, in a locked room, in the midst of anguish. And for this peace to come in the form of man, bruised and battered, but not defeated. Certainly, this must be the work of God for as shown throughout Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, our expectations are always contrary to the good news. God – the creator of heaven and earth came to us not as a superhero flying through the sky, but as a human, in the form of one of us. Through the incarnated God, we saw that Jesus did not keep company with human royalty, but with the poor, the widow, and the tax collector, those who were despised and neglected. And now, even in Jesus’ post-resurrected appearance, peace comes not at our favorite vacation destination in which we are removed from the world we know for a moment, but in a body, in wounds, and in the midst of fear. Jesus did not stop at the locked door, but meets Thomas and the disciples; meets them as he meets us, exactly where we are – in the midst of our confusion, and skepticism. And this reality is a game-changer. The disciples no longer need to remain locked inside a room for the peace which surpasses all human understanding and all human authority is with them. Empowered by the Peace of Christ and Equipped with the Holy Spirit; the disciples went out into the world, devoting themselves to the teachings of Jesus, baptizing others in the name of this Peace, and creating community centered around the Bread of Life. (Acts 2:42) What started in a locked room, eventually became good news worth proclaiming well beyond Jerusalem. And what about us? The ones Jesus calls blessed for believing without seeing? Even in Eastertide amidst our alleluias, we still live in a world plagued with disease, hatred, and violence.But here is the thing about the peace of Christ…Just because the disciples believed in the peace of Christ did not mean their lives were easy. All we have to do is flip through the pages of the Book of Acts to learn of the hardship of the earliest Christ followers: Peter, Paul, and Silas were imprisoned; Stephen was stoned; and James was killed by the sword. The apostles were familiar with tribulations and persecution and yet their belief in the Prince of Peace never ceased. The Peace of Christ does not mean that there will be no hardship in life. One look at his resurrected body and you know that peace is not conflict free, not painless, not easy, and not of this world.Through the abundant grace of Christ, Peace met them exactly where they were and through the wounds of the bodily resurrected Jesus, there is resurrected hope, which moves them to go out into the world proclaiming resurrection. In the places where we are hunched over with fear, Jesus meets us there are and whispers to us Peace. Though hardship will happen, peace gives us a promise of hope. And we find this peace not in world powers or political promises but in the breaking of bread, in wine, in water. And especially today, when we remain scattered in our homes out of love for one another, this peace goes there too. Well beyond the walls of this church, beyond the certainty of Sacraments, even beyond the well-tidied doctrines of our faith. This peace, mysteriously and miraculously, goes with you. As we move forward in this Easter season, may our passing of the peace be as bold as our alleluias because the Prince of Peace – has given us reason to hope beyond all understanding. May the Peace of the Lord be with you.Amen. ...
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Sunday Worship - Sunday, April 11, 2021 ...
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Due to the rainy weather, our outdoor service is cancelled. See you online at 9:30 a.m. ...
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Eastertide has just begun! Sing and proclaim your alleluias with us tomorrow at 9:30am for our livestream on FB and 11am for our outdoor service. (Keep your eyes peeled concerning rain cancellations should this be necessary.) This Sunday we will join the disciples in the locked room as they meet the resurrected Jesus who shows them his wounds. Resurrection transforms death. The Peace of Christ transforms our fear. Alleluia! Amen!Artwork: "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas," 15th century. Tempera on wood. Avila Cathedral Museum, Avila, Spain. ...
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