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May 5, 2021

Greetings!

I want to share good news from the church this Eastertime and Pentecost (May 23).

First, at its April meeting the session approved holding open worship outside on July 4 and August 1 with communion. Although the Covid-19 cases in the county peaked the week of April 10th at 1257 (with hospitalizations almost peaking), the number of weekly deaths dropped substantially to 4 from a peak of 22 a year ago. Hospital staff are weary, and we continue to be guarded. I, like you, am prayerful that the increasing vaccination rate and attentiveness to healthy habits are making gatherings possible. The exact conditions for gathering continue to evolve. In this light, the Session agreed to hold outside worship following CDC and County guidelines. We are moving forward to be inside fulltime starting September 12th. To hold outside worship July 4th in the backyard, we ask you to please bring your own chair or blanket to sit on. We will continue to permanently web-stream all the services, including the ones held outside.

This Sunday for Mother’s Day at 10 a.m., we have prepared a special worship using an Easter Play written near 500 A.D. by Saint Romanos, the patron saint of singers. He was the most famous hymnist of his generation. A native of Syria, he was born Jewish and converted around his 10th birthday. He served most of his life in Istanbul (then Constantinople) at the Hagia Sophia, the church was then the world's largest interior space.

The connection to Mother’s Day is that his Easter poem of the resurrection features the discovery of the empty tomb by the women (on which all the Gospels agree) and subsequent evangelism of the male disciples. The clear centrality of Mary, the bearer of God, and the women disciples was unique in the ancient world (and religions). Many thanks to Marijim for bringing it to my attention and the enthusiasm of the section leaders, Phyllis Timbs, Barb Cornish, and Sandi Knaup for performing and recording. It is accompanied by a modern Greek Easter hymn, Christi Ansesti (Christ is Risen) by Anna Gallos, edited and directed by Ann Marie Koukios of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Ann Arbor.
Let’s take time to pray for mothers and women who love, care and announce a new creation. "[I]f anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” -2 Corinthians 5:17

I am glad to talk with you anytime and pray for us all often. I am eagerly anticipating Sunday July 4th when we may see each other face-to-face.  

Yours in Christ,
                         Pastor Keith
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