Board of Directors News
Mark 7:8-9 “When you cling blindly to your own tradi-tions you completely miss God’s command. Then, indeed, you have perfected setting aside God’s commands for the sake of your tradition.”
I am writing this article after returning from the “Glorious Unfolding” of E-172. That was our theme song for the weekend and I think it is very appropriate for the Emmaus Community as we begin on the journey of a new facility at Meadowkirk at Delta Farms. The song talks about being “just the beginning of the beginning” of a new and glorious life in Jesus Christ. We, too, are at the beginning of once again working with a new facility and finding our way with building new traditions and trying to figure out how to best work within the constraints of a new location. Many of us still think back to the days at New Windsor, MD when everything was in its place and the weekends all looked the same. Since then we have worked at Sky Croft and Front Royal and each facility had some challenges. The team members of E-172 were very excited to break in the Meadowkirk site and we were very pleased with almost every aspect of the facili-ty. We know that E-173 may do things a little differently than we did and we look forward to finding the best way to adapt to Meadowkirk.
The reason I mention all of this is that like in Mark, we tend to cling to our traditions. We have all heard the comment “we never used to do it that way” or “we always have done it this way” when discussing a change or new program in the local church. We are creatures of habit and we like to work in our comfort zone with the familiar. We don’t want to set aside God’s command for the sake of our traditions, but that isn’t always easy.
The same holds true of Emmaus. We like to know that each event on the weekend has a “place” and it’s uncomfortable to have to find a new way. The team of E-172 found that our evening meetings took a little longer than usual as we had to evaluate and make changes on the fly for the next day’s activities. The facility worked very well, but it was “different”. I can assure you all that the staff of Meadowkirk was phenomenal. They went above and beyond to try to accommodate all our needs and we couldn’t have asked for better service.
I look forward to continuing to explore this new facility and to find ways to make the weekend flow more smoothly and to make Meadowkirk the right fit for us. But let’s not let this process get in the way of what is most important. We need to remember that the pilgrims and the experience that they have is much more important than where we hold table chapels or how we set up different events throughout the weekend. As Mark said, don’t lay aside the command of God to hold to tradi-tion. We look forward to this journey and hope that we can continue to serve God no matter what the setting.
Ps 95:1 "Come let us sing for joy to The Lord; let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. "
Life is full of God-winks. Even through songs. This rang true recently as we spent time at Emmaus events and with a relative in hospice.
One such incident is: "Old Rugged Cross" was a song great grandma sang to Jim's mom in the kitchen when Mom K was a little girl. Mom K had shared that with her granddaughter Tara, now an adult and music minister. As Mom K was in her last days, Tara sang it to her as we gathered bedside. I texted friends what this meant to us and how beautiful it was. One gal texted back immediately they were singing "Old Rugged Cross" at Emmaus Closing in Richmond, VA, at that moment. So sweet. So God inspired!
Texts continued from friends containing lyrics from songs that now mean more than ever! To think first God spoke to the writer and then to us through the same lyrics. The writer could only imagine how his words would touch and encourage others.
Pass along lyrics - sung or printed - that speak to your heart. God winks!
This month worship music at Ultreya will be led by the Praise Band. Next month will be by the men of E-173. Their theme song is "Christ in me" by Tim Timmons. All are welcome to join in music celebration
Our 2015 Weekends!!
E-172 ~ Mar. 12-15 - Kathy Woodley
All weekends will be held at the Meadowkirk Retreat Center in Middleburg, Virginia
Forgiveness has constantly been on my mind since before Christmas when I put together a sermon series that looked at the life of Louie Zamperini, the focus of the book and movie, Unbroken. How was he able to forgive the Japanese guards who were so abusive to him and so many others in the POW camps? But when you look into the nature of the forgiveness Louie offered, you find that he is just one of a number of fairly remarkable, people who have found a path of the spirit to forgive what many of us might consider unforgivable. The woman who forgave the drunk driver who killed her daughter, the people who find a way to forgive the people who murder a loved one, the Amish people who demonstrated amazing forgiveness and compassion toward the family of the man who murdered their children in the Amish schoolhouse, just to name a few.
But that’s really just what God in Christ Jesus has done for us in the passion of Holy Week and the joy of Easter. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Let us remember what we have done to deserve forgiveness. Absolutely Nothing!
As Paul wrote in Romans 5:8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Before any act of repentance, any expression of remorse, before any action to change our ways, Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins. And having already forgiven our sins, God pursues us throughout our lives, with the hope that we will come to understand our wrongs and reconcile with God. That’s more than amazing. That’s just how much God loves us.
We Christians talk a lot about being forgiven, but not surprisingly we are less talkative about the commandment Jesus gave us to forgive others. In fact, one of the reasons that forgiving the seemingly unforgivable is so impressive is our own reluctance and far too frequent lack of success as we struggle to forgive far lesser offenses and hurts committed against us.
In what is likely the most frequently prayed prayer in hu-man history, the prayer that Jesus taught us, we say, forgive us 4 the ways we have wronged You, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. (Mt 6:12 CEB). Have you ever choked on those words or even hesitated to make that declaration? Really? “Lord, forgive us, in the same way that we forgive those who have wronged us.” Does our level of forgiveness equate with the pardon achieved through the Cross and Resurrection, the pardon that leads to eternal life?
Now I am not claiming that extending forgiveness is easy. It doesn’t mean lying down and allowing the offender to repeated walk over you. It doesn’t mean forgetting, at least forgetting in a way that carelessly places one at repeated risk of hurt. It does mean giving up any perceived right to retaliate, and it means a willingness to move forward on a path that is open to reconciliation, rather than being anchored or chained by bitterness and the hurt of the past.
And as if that isn’t hard enough for us to do even once, Jesus tells us we need to be prepared to forgive many times. Check out forgiving a person seven times in one day as Jesus tells us in Luke 17:4, and in Matthew 18:22 we must forgive either 77 or 490 times depending on the translation. Jesus calls us to an unlimited openness to forgiveness. The number really just means more times than you are ever going to count.
The celebration of Easter is an opportunity to try to comprehend God’s love for us. Easter is about acknowledging God’s love and grace that leads to the Cross and the forgiveness of our sins, while we were still sinners. That love, that mercy that forgiveness was extended for all people. As we celebrate our forgiveness, we might pause to reflect on what has been forgiven of us. We may want to honor that forgiveness by seeking to be more forgiving of the offenses of others, more forgiving of the offenses committed against us. Because that’s just what Christ did on the Cross for us. May you know and reflect the joy of Easter into a world in need of love and grace.
I’ve been preparing for our Easter Sunday service and I was going through the lyrics of Via Dolorosa. I’ve heard that song many times and I’ve also sung it many times – but for some reason while looking at the words this time the lines “He chose to walk that road out of His love for me and you” hit me. As I say, I’ve sung those words many times – but the power of them only just hit me. Jesus CHOSE to go through what he went through for you!! Isn’t that mind blowing?
Maybe it was because I had just returned from a Kairos weekend where one of the talks is all about choices – how everything we do is a choice and the choice we make has consequences – sometimes good, sometimes bad.
It’s so easy for us to force our choices on to our youth – in the form of rules and regulations. We really should be encouraging our youth to make their own choices while at the same time mentoring them to understand the rami-fications of their decisions.
I see our role as youth leaders as that of a shepherd and his sheep. A shepherd will allow his sheep to roam – to choose where to go and what to eat. But if that sheep gets too close to the edge of the mountain, the shepherd will pull it back and set it back on the ‘right’ path again.
The translation of 1 Peter 1-3 in The Message tells us “I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.”
Fly with Christ
NCA Chrysalis Lay Director
I am the Community Palanca Cha. I need volunteers to make placemats for me. We need 270 decorated placemats for each team that goes to the Mountain.
I will have blank placemats at the Ultreyas each month. You can create your own design, either free hand, trace from a coloring book, use markers, glitter and glue to create your designs. You can either do them yourselves or get your Sunday School classes to do them. The pilgrims really like them when they come from the children. There are two kinds needed: the ones that are decorated with cute pictures and words, and ones that specifically say “DeColores”. It does not matter what the picture is, it only needs to say “DeColores” somewhere on the placemat. If you wish to make a set for a specific weekend that is great but you need to mark the envelope this is for E-# and I will make sure it goes on that weekend.
You can do placemats for Chrysalis they need the same decorated and instead of saying DeColores they say FLY WITH CHRIST. If you want to do them for Chrysalis you can get them from Terry Downer and return them to her or you can give them to me and I will make sure she gets them.
Or what about your cloth Palanca bags that you received on Friday. How many of you sew? You can go to your fabric store and pick up some material. Rainbow material works well, I guess because most people don’t want to use it as a dress. I will have the dimensions available for you if you’re interested at the Ultreya.
Do you remember your Joy Flag Parade? Joy flags are always needed. These can be made from paper or fabric, and can be as simple or intricate as you desire, as long as they say “Joy” somewhere on the flag. These should always be the pennant shape, too. You may also specify the joy flags for specific weekend also.
First stones are simple. Go outside, pick up a rock, and write “First” on it. Please write “F-I-R-S-T” and not “I-S-T on it. We have felt for the “I’m Lovable” flower pin that you received on Friday. Men get a pennant-shaped ribbon, and felt is available for both. Do you remember being showered with Warm Fuzzies on Sunday? If you love yarn, then this is the project for you. At the Ultreyas there will be the prayer wheel for you to sign up to pray and also, there will be a sheet passed that will have snacks for the weekend. You can sign at the Ultreyas. Food for the weekends needs to get to the Head Cha before Tuesday of the week that the team is going unless you are sponsoring someone and will be going to the mountain on Thursday.
Where do I get all of the material or instructions, you may ask. Well, you can pick up placemats, felt for flowers and banners, and yarn for warm fuzzes at the Ultreya each month. You can also pick up or return items at the Ultreya. There is usually a table near the church’s entrance where items are placed. Or you can find me and hand items to me.
If you’re not available to attend the Ultreya, you can contact me. My email address is LindaLSmith999@verizon.net and phone number is 703- 216-2469. And if you’re concerned about getting an item to me quickly, we can always keep in touch by phone and work out something. If you are willing to serve as Palanca Chairman for your church please fill out the information on the clipboard that I will have at each Ultreya in the front. Please list which items your group is interested in doing, so when I am running low on items I can contact the chairman.
If you are in a reunion group this is a good project that you could do. So, check with your group and see what items you all would love to do. If someone from your church has already signed up then you don’t need to. I am looking forward to working with you!
"If you would like to get placemats please call Linda Smith 703-216-2469 and she will meet you to get them to you"
Thank you and DeColores!
Linda L Smith
Revised Procedures for Ultreya Prayer Concerns
The Board of Directors recently addressed the topic of prayer concern procedures during Ultreyas. The Board was advised that prayer concerns at Ultreya, written out for the presiding Spiritual Director to read, in many cases contained sensitive and private information. As a result, the Board decided to revise the procedures and implemented their decision at the December Ultreya. The revised procedures ask that prayer concerns be written on a piece of paper (provided) and dropped into a box. At the appropriate time during the Ultreya, the box containing the prayer concerns will be brought to the presiding Spiritual Director who will lead the community in prayer.
If individuals feel that more information should be shared regarding a specific prayer concern, please submit that concern to the community through the Holynet after checking with the parties involved to obtain their consent. Prayer concerns for publication on the HolyNet should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board of Directors has set the Weekend Fees for 2015 as follows:
From the returning second-year class of Directors, one lay member is elected by the Board to serve as the Community Lay Director for a one year term.. This person then selects an Assistant Lay Director from the second-year class.
The second-year Spiritual Director serves as the Community Spiritual Director, with the first-year SD serving as the Assistant to the Spiritual Director