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This is an experiment with publishing some of the newsletter content by clickable headlines, on our website. This is only the top few portions of the enews for April 8, 2021. For a link to the full content of this week's news, please see the archive links below.

This Sunday

  • This First Sunday of Eastertide, Rev. Maribel Celiz will preach the sermon based on John 20: 19-31, Peace Be With You. Throughout the Easter season, we hear that God is with us, defeating death. Through Jesus, God brings peace and life. There is power in the gathered fellowship of believers. We discover such power when we live in unity with Jesus in our very midst, bonding us together and lighting our journey of faith.

  • The music this Sunday celebrates the joy of these 50 days of Eastertide. The Quadrilateral Quartet will share Easter Gloria by Mark Hayes. “In the stillness of the night, Love was born . . On a lonely, barren hill, Love was slain . . On a bright and glorious morn, Love arose!” The stains of victory resound throughout this anthem. The prelude and postlude are based on the hymn tune VRUECHTEN, This Joyful Eastertide. Hymns for the morning are Bind Us Together #2226 and We Are Called #2172.

Devotions This Week and Next

For these first 12 days in Eastertide we are offering 12 Stations of the Cross, from our Good Friday Service. We are offering these devotions as a way of inviting viewers to see our last year in Madison and in our lives of pandemic, racial unrest, grief and mourning as the reality in which we have lived as we moved toward Easter and the message of Resurrection - He is Risen! Alleluia! This is a time to pause with each station and be with the message of Easter renewed as we continue in the life of pandemic. We will return to our regular schedule of devotions later in April.
Catch up on any Holy Week virtual worship you may have missed here: First Church YouTube

Christian Formation This Week
Sharing our Journeys: The Sharing Our Journeys class meets every Sunday morning at 10:00 am via zoom.
Holly Johnson, Director of A/V Technology and Digital Ministries, will be our guest speaker on Sunday, April 11. We will get a chance to learn more about Holly and how she got interested in this high-tech work. Holly will also demonstrate how she puts pieces of the service together to make such a seamless and marvelous online church service.
If you have not been attending and would like to do so, please email Rich Oliver or contact Rich by phone, at 573.999.0759.
Emergent Theology: Sunday at 11:15, we will discuss Good Without God. Email Ann Hamon or Joan Maynard for a zoom invitation to the next discussion series.
The Table: First Church Young Adults will begin a new spiritual book study, “The Quest for Holiness”, this Sunday, April 11th. The Table will gather in-person on Sundays at 4 PM for fellowship and book study discussion! Contact Megan for more information.

Children and Youth
Children's Sunday School
Laurie's videos are shared to our website and Facebook every Monday, and we are featuring a Children's Moment each week during the video worship. Laurie is also sending zoom invitations for weekly Sunday School classes. These Garden of Gethsemane dioramas are a fun example of some of the crafts we've done! If you would like to join Zoom Sunday School, contact Laurie here.
There are Youth Zoom discussion and gathering opportunities! All are welcome! Contact Megan with any questions. TONIGHT, we are meeting for a picnic in the park! (rain alternate: Fellowship Hall)
Thursday, April 8th at 5:45 PM 
Meet in the First Church Parking lot, bring your mask, and we will walk to James Madison Park. In case of rain, we will gather in Fellowship Hall.
We will enjoy Milio's sandwich boxes! Bring something (a story, joke, item, etc.) that makes you laugh! Looking forward to seeing you! All are welcome.

Local Mission Partner Offering for Lent and Eastertide, Part 2
At the beginning of Lent, we launched an effort to encourage donations to one or more of our local missional partners. By supporting these agencies, we help to gird up body, mind, and spirit of the people who most need our help.
We have assisted some of these organizations for a number of years, but we have also added several different ones this year. Below is some information taken from their websites, and links for each of these agencies:
If you have not already contributed, we encourage you to do so during the remaining 50 days of Eastertide. We can continue to make a difference! Support their crucial work by clicking here, and clicking the Give Now button.

From Your Pastor of Pastoral Care
I want to take just a moment again to thank so many of you who have brought me messages from church members as to their well-being. We are a caring community. It's as if we express what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had in mind when he wrote his powerful book, Life Together. Our lives are together, even if separate. As we will learn in an upcoming sermon We all abide in Christ. Our need for this ministry to grow continues.
So that those who are not sure they want or should share their concern with a pastor, know that is what I and my colleagues are here for. So that those who feel the church has neglected them can feel free to reach out and express that concern. Perhaps undo some wrong or get beyond an unintentional oversight. If a church member tells you of a crisis, or an emergency, or a health issue, or a question around someone who might be dying, that you can encourage them to reach out and talk to a pastor. This ministry continues to grow. Our care deepens. How God has blessed First Church not only in its ministry of care to the city and to the world but also to each other. Thanks be to God!

@First Newsletter Archive:

April 8, 2021: Mission Partners and Pastoral Care

April 1, 2021: Holy Week and Easter


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