GREETINGS FROM FR. ISAIAS - MARCH
Free musical event, THE EASTER CANTATA, presented by the Gracias Choir at St. Margaret's Church, 1000 Washington Ave., Plainview, NY. Please join us!
MARCH 2018 GREETINGS FROM FR. ISAIAS
In Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians he writes, “Now is the acceptable time.” The season of Lent has now dawned upon us. As Christians on the journey to Easter, Lent beckons us to live a new way of life. It urges us to abandon ourselves to the possibility of new life.
This season affords us the acquisition of virtues, practices and discipline in our desire to live out our calling. All this is possible only through the love of God the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and in unity of the Holy Spirit.
The church therefore urges us to take on the disciplines of Lent. I would like to encourage each and every one of you to begin to read the Scriptures with a greater sense of regularity during this period. Also let us intentionally continue the practice of prayer and fasting and holy giving. All of these practices allow us to grow closer in relationship with our Lord and each other, enriching each other’s lives in the process.
As a parish, we have several activities planned to help us go deeper into the spirit of Lent.
Wednesday Lenten Soup Suppers
Everyone is encouraged to join the parish for Evening Prayer at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday of Lent. This short service will be followed by a simple soup supper at 7 p.m. in the Undercroft. We’ll eat silently and contemplatively as we experience the Spirit in the Scriptures and share food with one another.
The “Gracias” Easter Cantata
On Saturday, March 10, St. Margaret’s will host a large choral concert with music focusing on Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection. This inspiring evening comes to us through the Korean-based Good News Church and the International Youth Festival organization. Please invite your friends and family to this wonderful free event, which begins at 7 p.m.
We’ve been invited to visit and learn more about the nearby St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Center at 90 Woodbury Road near the Cold Spring Harbor LIRR station. You may be familiar with the festival they hold every year, showcasing ancient Christian traditions and food. We will meet in St. Margaret’s parking lot at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 to travel together (or you can meet us there at 7 p.m.). Fr. Guirguis will give a tour and presentation, and we’ll share some delicious Egyptian food with parishioners.
This offer of friendship continues our series of visitations and conversations with neighbors of faith. Last year,
we hosted the Women of Faith luncheon, and now we will be guests of our Orthodox Christian neighbors. It’s a wonderful opportunity to expand our experiences and learn more about the many faithful communities in our midst.
Fr. Isaias Ginson
FEBRUARY 2018 GREETINGS FROM FR. ISAIAS
I grew up in a family where education was highly valued, especially as a means to get out of poverty and marginalization. I had to work hard, my parents con-stantly admonished me, if I was not to be like our poor neighbors. When I was in college, my parents instructed me not to get involved in politics and radical social trans-formation, for that would only divert me from the goal of getting out of our sorry situation. But their worst fears came to reality. I became aware of the politics of domination and the suffering of the Filipino people, and that got me involved in the struggle for social transformation. As it turned out, my quest for educa-tion, which was primarily to escape poverty and suffer-ing, brought me back into the pains of our world.
This experience was formative to my understanding of my vocation, first as a theology student, then as a priest, and now here at St. Margaret’s. My experience has shaped where I fit in socially, what I see, and what I preach and teach. When confronted with the urgent life and death concerns of the people around me, I was not content to deal only with the abstract Trinity, but preached and taught the gospel in response to the conspiracy of a different, unholy, trinity: the absence of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
As I look back at those experiences, I find it necessary for our Christian community to hear God’s call to be of service to people beyond the walls of our church. This month marks the beginning of the season of Lent. As children of God, we are called to bridge the gap between the margins and the center, raise the consciousness, encourage new experiences, and reconstruct a world in which difference is not treated with indifference.
On Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday, we will gather as a community to begin a journey together. Ashes will be distributed during the services at noon and 7:30 p.m. Ashes To Go will be available 11 am - 2 pm.
Beginning Feb. 21, we will introduce an Evening Prayer service at 6 p.m. every Wednesday during Lent followed by a silent soup dinner in the Undercroft. Emphasis will be placed on recapturing the meaning and value of silence so as to help us quiet ourselves and listen to God’s voice by reading spiritual and biblical texts as we eat our meal. This will also help us enter into the discipline of fasting during the season.
On Saturday, Feb. 24, Barbara Festa and I will be leading a Parish Quiet Day as part of our Lenten preparation. We will encounter our Lord in prayers, meditation, journal writing, whole-body prayer and music. This invitation is also being extended to our deanery (cluster of Episcopal Churches in the area). I do hope you will join us in this journey through Lent and be ready for an encounter with God as God continues to call us to be disciples.
Fr. Isaias Ginson