Ruth Palmer, Artist

Ruth Palmer, Artist

Here we are, in these forty days of Lent. It is a season of being drawn more deeply in relationship to God and to one another. We do this is through the simple practices of prayer, fasting and works of love. Christians all over the world are spending these weeks in additional prayer, in giving things up and in actions which demonstrate compassion and generosity.

Here at St. Peter’s, while we many are doing these things, I am also encouraging everyone to pray the Lord’s Prayer everyday day, with intention and care.   Please join with us, as God shapes us through this prayer.

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Join us this for our Ash Wednesday service this Wednesday, February 25th at 7:30 p.m.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 day season of Lent. Our foreheads are marked with a cross of ash to remind us of our dependence on God and our mortality. It traces the cross which was made on our foreheads during our baptisms, reminding us of God’s forgiveness, of God’s abiding mercy and God’s call for us to follow Jesus.

We begin, on this day, the season of Lent marked by the disciplines of prayer, fasting and works of love.

For at least 15 years, St. Peter’s has been helping to support of the work of EPES, in Chile. EPES (Educacion Popular en Salud) was founded in 1982 during the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet as a health training project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile. Inspired by a vision of quality and fairness of health care for the poor, it offered training, guidance, and support for community health groups. Over the past 20 years, EPES has grown from a small emergency-response team to a leader of systematic community mobilizations to improve health services and awareness.

We continue to support the work of EPES and their miraculous work changing lives of people in Chile (and throughout the Central and South America through Action for Health in the Americas).  Through financial support and our prayers, we are able to help respond to the real needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Through them the world becomes  little smaller and we realize that we are, indeed, interconnected in one body of Christ.

EPES is one of many organizations that are part of the global partnerships that we share throught the ELCA’s Global Mission. In partnership with Lutherans and other Christians living in over 90 countries around our world, these missionaries are working to make God’s vision of health for the sick, food the for hungry, water for the thirsty and justice for the oppressed a lived reality.  God is doing amazing things in this world and it is a gift that we are able to participate in this work by supporting EPES.

At worship this Sunday, we will be signing our commitment to supporting EPES for another year, and lifting up their transformative and miraculous work for God’s people.

These are hard days for many of us, with people losing jobs, high utility costs with these cold days and other difficulties which make it harder and harder to make ends meet.

In the midst of it, there are many people who are working to provide resources and assistance to those who need it.   The Somerset County Board of Social Services has an office right in town, and they are really helpful.  We have a community Food Bank which people can access just by getting in touch with a member of the clergy in town.  There are other places which distribute food and clothing throughout the month, as well.

If your are worried about foreclosure, need help with utilities or are seeking other assistance in making it through these tough times, here is a document with links to all sorts of agencies that might be able to help you.  There are more resources also available at Borough Hall.  In addition, we are here to help in whatever way we might be able.  It is, after all, what we’ve been commanded to do: to love our neighbors as ourselves.  And through it all,  we continue to pray for and with all those who are in special need these days.

an artist’s impression of Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom by Sliman Mansour, a Palestinian artist

Peaceful co-existence: above: an artist’s impression of Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom by Sliman Mansour, a Palestinian artist

In the beginning of January, ELCA bishops from throughout the United States visited the Holy Land.  They visited Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. The visit focused on supporting the mission and ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), learning about what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians, and advocating for peace and justice for all people there.

To learn more about their trip, please see their blog here. You can also read the statements released about their trip here.

The Lutheran churches in the Holy Land and Jordan are doing amazing and reconciling ministry with hospitals, schools and other humanitarian responses for the Palestinian people.  Through the hands and work of these communities, we are participating in responding to the humanitarian crisis, building justice and hope in the midst of violence and despair.

We are also called to work to advocate for a just peace for the people of Palestine and Israel, to challenge systems of oppression, to accompany our brothers and sisters, and to work for a lasting peace and security for all the people of the region.  To learn more about ways to advocate for a just peace, see the ELCA’s campaign called “Peace Not Walls”

I encourage you to write letters and e-mails, to make contributions to support movements for a just peace, and to pray for all the people of this region, that God’s vision of peace and justice might truly be known in that most holy place.

-Pastor Sara

This week, Christians around the world are gathering together in prayer for Christian unity.

In North Plainfield, we will join with other churches for a Prayer Breakfast, Saturday January 24th at 9:00, at St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church. It promises to be a wonderful morning of conversation, prayer and building up the body of Christ.

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Feast of the Three Kings

Fiesta de los Tres Reyes

January 4th, 2009

3:00 p.m.

Elizabeth Lutheran Center


Come and celebrate Epiphany

with worship, food, music, entertainment

and fellowship withseveral Lutheran congregations.


Elizabeth Lutheran Center

920 E. Jersey Street

Elizabeth, NJ 07201

908/351-0294

This coming Sunday, December 28th, we will have our Annual Christmas Carol Hymn Sing to enjoy all those wonderful carols one last time until next December.

We wish you all most blessed New Year,with this simple prayer:

Eternal God, you have placed us in a world of space and time, and through the events of our lives you bless us with your love. Grant that in this new year we may know your presence, see your love at work, and live in the light of the event that gives us joy forever — the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(LBW 159)

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The poinsettias are out. The trees are decorated. The candles are prepared.
All are welcome to join us for our Christmas Eve service of Candlelight and Communion.

Christmas Eve, Wednesday December 24
9:00 pm

It will be a wonderful service with carols, the Christmas story, communion, candlelight and other great music. We’d love to have you celebrate with us!

images1Feeling blue this Christmas? Need a break from the dazzle of the holidays?
Looking for healing, hope and a space to be?

Please join us for a quiet time of music, reflection and prayer.

Blue Christmas Service
Sunday, December 21st at 7:30 p.m.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
North Plainfield

The constant refrain on radio and television, in shopping malls and even churches, about the happiness of the Christmas Season, about getting together with family and friends, reminds many people of what they have lost or have never had. Experiences of loss: the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or other losses can contribute to a feeling of being alone, of ‘feeling blue’ in the midst of the society around us which seems bent on ‘being happy’ and ‘celebrating’.

It’s at such times that we need to make the space and take the time to acknowledge our sadness and concern. We need to know that we are not alone. For these reasons, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church invites you to come and join in sharing and hearing prayers, Scripture and music and silence that acknowledge that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle – and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness.

The brief service will be followed by a time for light refreshments and fellowship. Please accept this invitation to be with us – a time to move from feeling ‘blue’ to experiencing the wonder and hope of Christmas. Our doors will be open to all who come so please feel free to invite others to come with you, as your support, or if you know that they too, are experiencing a blue Christmas.