The Time After Epiphany: A Season of Light

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Here at Our Savior’s, we celebrate all the seasons of the church year, not just the well-known seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.

DID YOU KNOW? The Sundays after Epiphany are known as a season of light!

Why tho?

Well, Epiphany itself is celebrated on January 6 and signals the end of Christmas by celebrating the arrival of the magi who followed a bright star. Then, the Sundays after the Epiphany detail the revelation of Jesus’ light to the world by telling the stories of his baptism, his first miracles, and many of his key teachings.

The season ends with a celebration of the Transfiguration, when “light” goes from being a metaphor to being literal. In the story, Jesus amazes and confuses his disciples on a mountaintop when his clothes “become as bright as a flash of lightning” and Moses and Elijah appear in the dazzling light with him. The Transfiguration is always celebrated on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday — this year, that Sunday is March 3. 

Finally, for us in the Northern hemisphere, the Sundays after Epiphany coincide with the time of the year when the days are slowly getting longer, driving home the theme of light for us.

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Sunrise from Mount Norwottuck, a few miles from Our Savior’s.
Photo credit: Christopher, Tania, and Isabella Luna

OKAY. SO HOW DO WE CELEBRATE THIS SEASON OF LIGHT?
Great question! Here’s what’s happening at OSLC during the season after Epiphany!

WORSHIP
First and most obviously, join us any Sunday from January 13 through March 3 at 10:15AM for our weekly service of word and table as we hear the stories of Christ’s light being revealed to the world and gather at the family table to be fed by the light of Christ in bread and wine.
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ADULT EDUCATION: GENESIS (THE BOOK OF THE BIBLE, NOT THE BAND)
Beginning on February 10, join Pastor Anna in the fellowship hall every Sunday at 9AM as we discuss the book of Genesis and all the questions (both silly and existential) that it raises. The series will continue every Sunday through the end of May, with the exceptions of Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday (April 14 and 21, respectively).
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DON’T FORGET THE KIDDOS!
We’ll also have Sunday school and kid-oriented worship on the first Sundays of February (the 3rd) and March (also the 3rd) at 9AM. Be sure to invite the kids in your life to join us for this fun time of learning, music, and snacks!
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BEER & HYMNS
February’s weather got you down? Join us on February 25 at 6PM at Sok’s Bar (30 Bridge Street, South Hadley) and raise your spirits, your voices, and your glasses with us!
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THE TRANSFIGURATION: LAST LIGHT AND LENTEN PREP
Where do Ash Wednesday’s ashes come from?
Simple – Palm Sunday’s palms from the previous year. 

Finally, on March 3 at 10:15AM, join us for worship as we remember the Transfiguration of Jesus, then join us after the service for some traditional pre-Lenten sugary treats – and a fire! We will be burning last year’s Palm Sunday palms to make Ash Wednesday’s ashes.
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As you can see from last year, we’ll burn the palms on Transfiguration Sunday – rain, snow, sleet, or shine! 

The Ash Wednesday service will be held this year at 6:30PM on March 6, ending the season of light and ushering us into the penitent days of Lent.

We hope to see you soon during this season of light! 4139846569_132a094861_b

Advent and Christmas at OSLC

As you probably already know, December and January hold some important stuff for Christians! At Our Savior’s, we are preparing and celebrating in a number of ways, each of them free and open to the public.

ADVENT
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Our Savior’s Second Annual ADVENT FESTIVAL: December 2, 9AM, Fellowship Hall
Join us for an inter-generational time of making Advent wreaths for our homes. Adults, teens, and children of all ages are welcome. In addition to the Advent wreath that you and/or your children will create, you’ll receive prayers to use with your wreath in your home throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons. If you’re planning to attend, help us with our planning by emailing Gail Mailhott-Foster at gemfoster@gmail.com.

RAISE YOUR (CHRISTMAS) SPIRITS – Pioneer Valley Beer & Carols: December 3, 6PM, Sok’s Bar (30 Bridge Street, South Hadley)
Did you know that beer + hymns is a great combination? Come raise a glass and sing with us in South Hadley. As Advent begins, we’ll be getting into the Christmas spirit a little early with some carols. Join us!

Wednesdays in Advent: December 5, 12, and 19 from 6:30PM-8PM
Community Soup Supper & Reflections
PresentationIt’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
In recent years, apocalyptic and dystopian literature have captured the collective imagination of the western world. The Handmaid’s TaleThe Hunger Games, Man in the High Castle, American Horror Story: Apocalypse — the list is long. During Advent, the Bible readings for worship also strike an apocalyptic tone. What do these works all have in common, what do they tell us about being human, and what the heck do they have to do with Advent and Christmas?! Join us and find out!
Dinner is provided each week by generous volunteers from the church; come relax and contemplate the holy with us during this sacred season!

Sundays in Advent: December 2, 9, 16, and 23 at 10:15AM 
Advent services of Word and Table
THE BEGINNING IS NEAR!
Join us as we hear the Word and gather at the table to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ among us. You’ve been hearing Christmas songs in stores since October, but in here, it’s Advent! Join us and practice the sacred practice of anticipation.

CHRISTMAS
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Christmas Eve at Our Savior’s: December 24, 6PM
Christ-mass: Service of Word, Table, and Light
Come celebrate with us! Adults, teens, and children of all ages are welcome and wanted at this special yearly celebration.

First Sunday of Christmas: December 30, 10:15AM
Service of Word and Table
Say goodbye to 2018 and celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas with us!
The Rev. J. Eliot B. Moss, professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, will be our guest preacher and presider.

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Epiphany: January 6, 2019, at 10:15AM
Service of Word and Table / Blessing of Chalk for New Year Home Blessings
Join us for the celebration of Epiphany, or the arrival of the magi who came to visit and bring gifts to Jesus as a young child. In keeping with ancient Christian tradition, we will also bless chalk so that we may bless our homes for the New Year.

Epiphany also begins the Epiphany season, or the winter celebration that celebrates Light as the winter days begin to get longer.

 

Fall 2018: Education and Service Opportunities Ahead!

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Some of the awesome foliage coming to Our Savior’s campus again soon! 

EDUCATION
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For children (all ages): Sunday school begins on September 9 at 9AM in the fellowship hall and continues every first Sunday of the month at 9AM through June 2019.

September 9 at 10:15am, join us for a kid-friendly worship service with a backpack blessing. Kids, remember to bring your backpacks (teachers are also welcome to bring their school bags) as we bless them (and you!) for a new school year!

For teens and adults of all ages: Pastor Anna is leading a deep dive on the Gospel of John that begins on September 9 at 9AM and continues every Sunday* through October 28. Bring a Bible if you have one; if not, we have plenty!
*we will meet during coffee hour, after the 10:15AM service, on September 16 only.

SERVICE
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Part of Our Savior’s 2017 “God’s Work/Our Hands” work crew. 

Join us after the 10:15AM service on September 9 as we help out some neighbors who need us. (Bring clothing and shoes suitable for yard work.)

RAISE YOUR SPIRITS!
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Raise your spirits: our next Beer & Hymns event is happening on October 22 at 6PM at Sok’s Bar. Beer & Hymns is just that: beer + hymns (+ lots of joy)!

Join us for a night of craft beer and a singalong of some of your favorite hymns.

Important Note: Alcoholic beverages reserved for those 21 and older, per federal and state law. Children and teens are welcome to come and sing; a variety of non-alcoholic beverages is available for those who are underage and those in recovery.

It’s gonna be a fall to remember at OSLC! Join us! 

Coming Up: Our Savior’s Ascension Picnic

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2017 Ascension Picnic

Saturday, May 19
Noon (Goal summit time. Further details below.)

To celebrate the Ascension of Jesus, we will be taking a hike/drive up Mt. Holyoke for a brief worship service and a picnic.

Find yourself a sandwich, plenty of water, and comfortable clothing and join us on the mountain!

Hikers
 will be leaving from the church around 11:00. Those who would like to meet at the trailhead should arrive by 11:15. We will be using the Taylor’s Notch Trail to the summit road, where we will take the MM trail to the summit.

How to get to the trailhead: Leaving South Hadley, the trailhead is on the right on Hockanum Road (MA-47) about a quarter mile past Mitch’s Marina on the left. Look for the dirt parking area on the right.

Advice for potential hikers: The hike is about a mile and will take about 45 minutes. The trail is relatively steep and challenging, but we will take breaks. Those who hike even semi-often should have no problem. Those unsure if they can make the hike should talk to Pastor Anna on Sunday or inquire of others who have done the hike in the past. Driving/riding up the mountain is a perfectly valid option — the view is the same!

Drivers/riders should meet at the Summit House (195 Skinner State Park Rd) at noon. Carpooling from the church is encouraged — folks will be encouraged to ask around at worship on Sunday.

If you’re planning on joining us, sign up and share on Facebook here!

Join us on this wonderful yearly event linking two of our favorite things: the outdoors and a good Jesus story! 

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EVENTS: SPRING 2018 @OSLC

GREEN BURIAL WORKSHOP
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How to do a Family-Directed Green Burial in Western Mass
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 9-11 am
Our Saviors Lutheran Church (319 Granby Road, South Hadley)
Event is free and open to the public. 

Come learn about how to take care of your family members the way you want to when they pass away.
 
We’ll go over the basics of:
·         how to prepare so that you’re ready when someone passes away,
·         what to do in the first hours after someone passes away,
·         how to work with your town/city hall to obtain a death certificate and burial permit,
·         how to work with Middle Farms Cemetery in Westfield (the only cemetery that we know of in this part of western Mass who will allow family-directed green burials), and
·        where to get green shrouds or boxes.

For more information on what constitutes a “green burial,” visit The Green Burial Council’s website.

 
Facilitated by:
Carol Coan, Green Burial Massachusetts

Lynn Benander, daughter of the Rev. Bruce Benander (Lynn directed her father’s green burial last month) and friend of Our Savior’s

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Pioneer Valley Beer & Hymns
Monday, April 30, 6pm
Sok’s Bar (30 Bridge Street, South Hadley)
No cover. Open to the public. 

This event delivers no more and no less than what it advertises: a night of craft beer and a singalong of your favorite hymns and other songs, both sacred and secular. Join us!

Note: Sok’s has a diverse drink menu including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. If you don’t drink beer, don’t drink at all, and/or are in recovery, you are still welcome to join us as you are able and comfortable. Singers under 21 are welcome to join us and raise a non-alcoholic beverage, too! All attendees are obliged to consume responsibly.