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"Centenary United Methodist Church"
3 W Washington St
Bath, NY
Pastor - Leanne Zeck
Phone - 607-776-3434
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 March/April 2022
Pastor’s Page

Grace and peace to you.

This will be our newsletter for March and April. We thank you for the patience as we work out the bugs in this new format.  March and April are busy times in the Church calendar, both our congregation and the universal church. March always falls in some part of Lent. Sometimes Easter falls in March as well. This year Lent begins March 2 and Easter is April 17.

Christians have observed Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the season of Lent for centuries. Ashes in scripture were used to mark repentance and mourning. In the Early church, Lent was the prepartory season for new converts before they were baptized on Easter Sunday. For all Christians, Ash Wednesday invites us to remember we are mortal and our life is short. It is a time to make amends, to repent, to choose to practice the presence of God in a new way, to prepare to be a new creation again Easter morning.

Ash Wednesday is March 2 this year. We will have a noon service and a 6 pm service. I encourage all to attend one of the services as we intentionally set our face towards the Cross and ask the Spirit to lead us through Lent—giving up what keeps our attention away from Christ and picking up a practice that focuses us on Christ.

We will be arranging the sanctuary to be in the round once again. I know this is not everyone’s favorite arrangement. It is intimate—we are seeing each others. You who sit in the back of the sanctuary lose your inivisibility—all can see your face during the service. I cannot help but think of the story of Hagar—where she names God El Roi—the God who sees. Or the story of the Woman at the Well who exclaims she has met the Messiah because he has seen past all of the ways the world has judged her and seen her. We are invited to see---God and each other. To see each other at our best and at our worst as people made in the image of God, marked by the Spirit of God as beloved. And so on the journey of Lent, as we seek to grow closer to Christ, we seek to see Jesus in each other’s faces as we join in worship. Church in the round also centers us on the Table. Our relationship with each other is sacramental—sacred moments—because of our Communion with God.

The Narrative Lectionary has us jumping right into Holy Week. March 6 we journey to the Tomb of Lazarus and hear Jesus’s words “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” March 13-we are in Holy Week—the foot washing before the Last Supper. March 20 through April 10 we are in the final 24 hours of Jesus’s life. So we will be invited to the Table each Sunday in Lent. As we remember the Sacrificial Love of Jesus, we will gather together to reflect the Sacrificial Love of Jesus to each other and to the world.

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday we will have 6 pm services at the church. The Bath area pastors will be discussing Holy Week this week so we may have more information on ecumenical services, including a possible Sunrise Service. Information about these services will be in the weekly letters and Sunday morning.

For each of these Special Services, I know our music department and soloists have already been hard at work to create a worshipful atmosphere for us to experience God’s presence, draw us closer to Christ and invite us to be the justice and peace of God’s Kingdom in our world.

I want to thank our Sunday School teachers—EmyLou Snyder and Dan Bunce. They have stepped up to help fill Melanie’s shoes as she has been caring for her mother. They are dealing with a wide range of ages. We are excited to have our Sunday School helping with our Sunday morning worship. If anyone wants to help be a point person for our children in lighting the candles and bringing the offering forward, I would appreciate it.

Our youth continue to meet on Sunday evenings and our youth continue to invite family and friends to our meetings. We have 3 teens who would like to go to camp this summer. So we have some fund raising and support needed to help get them to Casowasco. It will be exciting to have some of our youth go to camp and come back with the excitement and stories we have all found at Casowasco.

Thank you to Bob Dunham for working with us on fund raisers. I can’t wait til next year’s Souper Bowl drive as we expand into our community with all that delicious soup.

Thank you to Shawn Clark and the ice cream! How delicious of a fund raiser. I am certain it was a lot of work as well.

The Bath C3 Closet is continuing to bring clothing to children in our area. We have constant traffic in to the closet each week.

As we get closer to spring and summer, our partnership with Avoca UMC to build ramps for those in need will begin again. I would invite anyone who would like to be part of building ramps to contact me and we can help do this wonderful work.

God is doing amazing things here at Centenary and in each of our lives. We have a God Sighting table and board in our lobby outside of the sanctuary. Please share how you have seen God at work!

Pastor Leanne

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