Autumn Newsletter

Engadine Uniting Church

Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter.

Welcome to the Engadine Autumn Newsletter. This newsletter is for those with whom we have links through our various programs, activities, baptisms, weddings or funerals. It is an opportunity to let you know what is happening and share some reflections to help you think about God, life, hope and Spirituality. Therefore, we offer you these reflections with our prayers for your own spiritual journey through life. Please join us any time you are able, or would like to explore faith more deeply.

Upcoming Events

  1. Lenten Reflection groups – A 6-week study that focuses on Love. What happens, what changes, when Love comes to town – when God’s love enters our lives? The study ‘When Love Comes to Town’ looks at what it means to live as Jesus lived and be a disciple of Jesus. The study is being offered at the following times:

Monday1:30pm – 3pm 19th Feb until 26 March

Monday 8:00pm – 9:30pm 19 Feb until 26 March

Wednesday 7:30pm – 9pm,14, 21, & 28 Feb, 7, 21, & 28 March (we will not meet on the 14th March as Church council is on that night)

  1. Palm Sunday – An all ages interactive and creative service to celebrate Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem and reflection on Holy week

25 March, 9:00 am.

  1. Maundy Thursday Service – A quiet reflective service 29 March 7:00 pm
  2. Good Friday dramatic Service – 30 March 9:00 am
  3. Easter Sunday Service – All ages service of celebration 1 April, 9:00 am

You are invited to attend any of these events and feel free to extend this invitation to your friends and family.  These events are intended to relate to our lives and give us strength, focus and hope in our lives.

Please note Tammy will be on leave from Thursday 12th April to Tuesday 8th May.  The family are going on holiday to the USA.

Thoughts from Tammy

The kids are back to school, Hot Cross buns are in the shops – actually Hot Cross Buns have been in the shops since New Year’s Day! – and chocolate bunnies and eggs abound.  Easter’s coming!

This Wednesday, 14th February, is not only St Valentine’s Day, but this year, it is also Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent.  It is no surprise more people in the community will be celebrating St Valentine’s day than Ash Wednesday.  Marketing love is, after all, much easier than penitence.  But what do these days really mean?

St Valentine’s Day is named after St Valentine.  There are a number of legends about St Valentine giving rise to doubt over whether they are all about the same individual.  Valentine was a common name in the 3rd century and there are three different people by the same name mentioned in the early martyrologies for February 14.

In one legend Valentine is identified as the bishop of Interamna, the present-day Terni.  He was on house arrest with Judge Asterius and while discussing religion and faith with the Judge, Valentine vowed the validity of Jesus. The judge tested Valentine, presenting his blind daughter to him and telling him to restore her sight. Placing his hands onto her eyes, Valentine restored the child’s vision. In response Asterius broke all the idols around his house, fasted for three days and became baptized, along with his family and entire 44 member household. The now faithful judge then freed all of his Christian inmates.

In another legend Valentine is described as a priest who was martyred around 269.  He was arrested and imprisoned for marrying Christian couples going against Emperor Claudius II who decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so outlawed marriage for young men.  According to legend a relationship between the saint and emperor began to grow, until Valentine attempted to convince Claudius of Christianity. Claudius became enraged and sentenced Valentine to death, commanding him to renounce his faith or be beaten with clubs and beheaded.  St. Valentine refused to renounce his faith and Christianity and was executed outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14, 269. However, other tales of St. Valentine’s life claim he was executed either in the year 269, 270, 273 or 280.

A third legend credits him with attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured until he himself was gaoled.  As the legend goes, while he was in gaol awaiting his execution Valentine fell in love with the blind daughter of the gaoler and he performed a miracle on her, giving her sight.  Before dying, he left a love note for her ending it with ‘from your Valentine’.  It is this last legend that is popular today with the emphasis on romantic love and gift giving, especially Valentine cards.

A lot of time has passed since Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day at the end of the 5th century. Valentine’s Day has morphed into yet another consumer holy day but at its core it is about faithful commitment at all costs – even one’s life.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of a 40-day period called Lent.  It is actually 46 days before Easter Sunday because the Sundays are not counted in the 40 days. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes having ashes placed on the forehead in the shape of a cross. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us and that we are all God’s creation.  The 40-days of Lent are reminiscent of the stories in the bible.  These include:

  • The Noah flood story in Genesis that lasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
  • The 40 years that the Hebrew people spent wandering in the wilderness after being freed from Egyptian oppression.
  • The 40 days Moses spent on Mount Sinai with God, before receiving the Ten Commandments.
  • The 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness being tempted

This Lent the recurring theme is covenant or promise.  A covenant is an agreement between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.  In the case of God’s covenant with people and all of creation we see that even if we do not uphold our end of the agreement God is faithful.  The love and grace of God is unending

So this February 14 celebrate St Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Celebrate faithful commitment.  Celebrate the love that God calls us to share with each other and with all of creation.  Celebrate the love God has for the creation God made.  Celebrate the fact that “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow separate us from God’s love.  No power above or below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Grace and Peace,

Tammy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For any support, questions, comments, please visit or contact us on:

Cnr Cambrai & Chipilly Streets, Engadine NSW 2233

Postal Address:           PO Box 527, Engadine NSW  2233

Phone:                         0409001115

Email:                          tammy.hollands@gmail.com

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