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March 10, 2017

This week's Lenten worship service is themed "From Fear to Hope". Join us as we reflect and wrestle with the difficult challenges that confront us on our journeys of faith.

Reflection -
From Fear to Hope - Miss Rebecca Francisco
From the Pastor's Desk . . .
Beloved Community,

You've probably noticed there have been some changes in the bulletin (like larger font and text for all of our prayers and readings) and that we have experimented with different rituals (like individual blessings on Communion Sunday and writing our concerns on dissolving paper on Ash Wednesday.) These changes aren't arbitrary; they are a way to make worship come alive for people with different learning styles.  In 1983 Howard Gardner developed his theory of multiple intelligences, asserting that there are 7 different ways people might learn, remember, perform, and understand about the world.  His categories of intelligence include visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmic, inter-personal, intra-personal, verbal-linguistic, and logical-mathematic.  I've learned over the years that the way we receive information deeply informs what we value in worship.

Visual-spatial people are very sensitive to the worship environment and yearn for visual storytelling.  This could include visually stimulating altar spaces, liturgical drama or dance.  These are the folks that really valued the transformed altar space during our last Ash Wednesday service.

Bodily-kinesthetic learners need to do ritual: light a candle, touch the baptismal waters, tear a piece of communion bread.  For these folks, worship comes alive when it is participatory.

For our friends who posses musical-rhythmic intelligence, music is paramount in the worship service.  Different people gravitate towards different genres, but you can tell who these people are by who comes early to listen to the choir practice and who gets excited when we integrate different forms of music.

Those with inter-personal intelligence thrive in community and need interaction.  The Passing of the Peace may be the most important part of the service for inter-personal learners.  They also crave spoken prayers of the people and will often jump at the opportunity to speak in worship.  

In contrast, the intra-personal learners crave extended periods of quiet, reflective time.  Rather than focusing on the outward, they crave a chance to go inward.  Perhaps the most important parts of the service for them are the moments of silence after the sermon.  Opportunities for contemplative worship are critical to their spiritual nourishment.

Our verbal-linguistic folks are our “word people.”  For them, the sermon is often the meat of the service. They also also gravitate towards the written parts of the liturgy because words are their invitation into something deeper.

Finally, our logical-mathematical folks look for all the parts of the service to connect.  They value a through-line in any service.  Are the prayers, music, and sermon logical continuations of a unified theme?  Does the arc of the service move in a clear direction?  The more discernable the pattern of a service, the richer their experience will be.  

We may find ourselves reflected in many of these categories, but for most of us, one or two will emerge as our dominant way of experiencing worship.  And here’s the corollary: If something in worship doesn’t feed you, it’s almost certainly stimulating some of your neighbors.

So what feeds you in worship?  What makes the service come alive?  What do you hate?  Is there someone you know who gets most excited about the very thing you would get rid of?  It's important to pay attention to the different ways people find meaning in worship, because making room for all people to be fed is just one of the many ways we show hospitality.

See you Sunday,


Lent: Make Us Holy, Make Us Whole

In an ancient Japanese art form called Kintsugi, broken pieces of porcelain are remade into pots using gold resin. It is believed that a vessel fixed this way is more beautiful – more precious – than before it was broken.
In a way, Kintsugi is like a visual reminder of God’s grace. We’ve all experienced brokenness … regrets of things we’ve done or left undone … words we wish we had never spoken. But God’s ultimate promise is that brokenness is never the end of our story. And that’s what the journey of Lent is about: moving from death to new life. From pain to healing. From empty to filled. From human brokenness to God’s wholeness.
This year our Lenten theme is “Make Us Holy, Make Us Whole,” and each week we’ll explore different ways that God takes the broken pieces of our lives and puts them together to make something more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
Joanne, Becky, and I have designed what we hope will be a very deep and meaningful journey this Lent through scripture, image, prayer, and song. I promise, this is a series you won’t want to miss!
1-Mar Ash Wednesday From Broken to Whole
5-Mar Lent 1 From Empty to Filled
12-Mar Lent 2 From Fear to Hope
19-Mar Lent 3 From Secrecy to Vulnerability
26-Mar Lent 4 From Condemned to Forgiven
2-Apr Lent 5 From Innocence to Wisdom
9-Apr Palm Sunday From Call to Response

Looking Ahead...
Sunday, March 12, 2017 – 
9:00 a.m. -  Bible Study with Rev. Bob Moore
10:00 a.m. - Worship, Second Sunday in Lent
11:30 a.m. - Second Hour Adult Forum with Dr. Charles McCollough

Could you host a coffee hour? There is a sign-up sheet in the fireplace room.

Saturday, April 1, 2017, Christ Congregation Book Discussion will be held at the McCollough’s. Light refreshments will be served as we discuss J. D. Vance’s bestselling book “Hillbilly Elegy”

Alexis Fuller-Wright can be contacted via email at Her Sabbath days are Mondays and Saturdays, so please only contact her in case of emergency on those days.
To submit announcements and suggestions to be included in the CC Newsletter, email by Wednesday each week.
Christ Congregation
50 Walnut Lane
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 609-921-6253
The Rev. Alexis Fuller-Wright, pastor
Joanne Hardgrove, Organist-Choir Director 
Brandi Grove, Church Secretary
Rebecca Fransisco, Seminary Intern
The Rev. Jeffrey Mays, Pastor Emeritus
Office Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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Christ Congregation · 50 Walnut Lane · Princeton, NJ 08540 · USA

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