Ash Wednesday – February 18, 2015
Greetings Canaan English Ministry members and friends!
This year, the Lenten Season and the Lunar New Year start at the same time. It’s odd to give or get red envelopes filled with cash just after we mark our foreheads with black ash (even if it is symbolic). But I don’t think our cultural and spiritual heritages clash. The emotional juxtaposition of celebration and confession is difficult to hold together, but reflects, nevertheless, the down-to-earth and realistic understanding of life that Christian faith offers. Jesus does not offer us an escape from the tensions of joy and suffering, but gives us meaning and purpose as he walks with us through the contradictions of life.
So let’s celebrate the Lunar New Year not as most people would. Rather, let us be reminded that our cause for celebration is rooted in Jesus’ ultimate triumph through the valley of the shadow of death!
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Hey Everglow youth! Welcome back! I heard you had a wonderfully inspiring retreat. Even though we missed your presence at worship service, I hope you’ll remind the entire church to encourage you to take your faith to the next step!
This Friday, the Everglow parents are hosting a Lunar New Year Potluck Celebration. If you’d like to come, please ask Mr. Wendy Huang [email Wendy] what you can bring to the dinner.
Next Tuesday at 7:45 pm, our Young Adults Fellowship will hold a Lunar New Year Hotpot! Invite your friends. For details contact Chris Su [email Chris].
This Sunday, Pastor Chris Liu will begin our Lenten Sermon series with a sermon entitled “Preparing for Ministry” (Mark 1:9-15). During Lent, our sermons will focus on a “House Cleaning” theme. Is there “dirt” in our lives that need to be cleaned up? Come with ready hearts.
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Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter. Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.
Here are three resources and opportunities for Lent:
1. 40 Ideas for Lent 2015 (by Rachel Held Evans)
2. Living Waters: Reflections and Activities for Lent (by World Vision)
3. Fast from Fast Food campaign (by Interfaith Workers Justice)
As many as four million fast food workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet. Many workers are standing up for $15 per hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.
In solidarity with workers, we pledge to Fast from Fast Food and commit to pray for them, their families and the growing Fight for $15 movement every day, from Feb. 18 until April 4. Fast from Fast Food coincides with the 40-day Christian season of Lent, a period of prayer, fasting, repentance and sacrifice. It is also a time of solidarity, particularly with those who have the least.
People of all faith traditions are invited to join in the fast by committing to Fast from Fast Food and “go without” for 40 days. By doing so, we are also choosing to walk hand-in-hand with our brothers and sisters who are leading the struggle that would lift millions of working families out of poverty and put us all on a road back to prosperity.
Other Important Announcements
1. The weekly Canaan English Ministry Calendar has been updated. Go to canaanem.org/calendar/
2. The BASS [Bay Area Sunday School] Convention (March 5-7, 2015] offers excellent workshops for anyone who serves in church. Visit bassconvention.org and get the church registration code from Nelson Lu [email Nelson]. Shirley will carpool to BASS Convention on Friday morning Mar 6 until 2 PM. Meet at her home [email Shirley].
3. Service Opportunity: City Team San Jose Kitchen support needed at 580 Charles St, San Jose 95113. Only a few slots are available for Saturdays 3/21 (9 am – noon). Contact William Effendy [email William].
– Duties: Help prepare and serve food to the homeless and program residents; clean up dining room and kitchen after meals; sort and shelve food.
– Qualifications: All volunteers must be over 14 years old. All female volunteers should dress modestly. We strongly urge that all females be accompanied by at least one adult male.
4. Summer Mission Opportunities update:
- Our Taiwan Summer Mission Team (6/30-7/18)! Contact Pastor Chris Liu or mission deacon William Effendy if you are interested [email William]. The brochures and applications are now available.
- Belize Missions with Pastor Brian Leong of Lord’s Grace Church (July 10-19). The Belize mission information file and applications are now available. Let me know if interested [email me].
- Luke Medical Missions is offering a Taiwan MSCE Mission (Medical Students Cultural Exchange) on July 11-19, 2015 at Mackay Medical College, July 20-25 for other service opportunities in Taiwan (optional). We also welcome applicants to consider possibility of a more extended stay/shadowing/service in a Christian Hospital for 2-4 weeks (we can match for them). The application Deadline: March 31 MSCE home page: https://mscesummercamp.wordpress.com/ Application: https://mscesummercamp.wordpress.com/apply/
5. Don’t forget! Daylight Savings Time begins March 8. Move your clocks ahead one hour, lose one hour of sleep. So go to bed earlier so that you won’t be late for 10 AM worship!
6. The next Testimony Sunday is March 15. The theme is “By Grace.” 3-4 persons are invited to share their testimonies based on this theme from the lectionary texts for that Sunday (Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21] Email me if you are interested.
7. The next opportunity for baptism, confirmation, or to join Canaan as a member will be Easter Sunday, April 5. Applicants and inquirers should join Canaan Basics, which will be offered on March 1, 8, and 22. Speak to me for more details [email me].
8. SAVE THESE DATES: August 7-9, 2015. All-church Retreat at U.C. Santa Cruz. We will have English Youth, English Adult, Children’s, Mandarin, and Taiwanese tracks. We’ll also be at Stevenson College where there are newly renovated housing accommodations. Volunteers are needed to help organize the retreat! Please let me know if you are interested in helping! [email me]
9. Are you interested ins starting a VisionQuest group? Let me know and I’ll help you set one up! [email me]
10. Finally, a word to everyone who serves:
This year, there is no reimbursement budget for Sunday snacks and refreshments. Please consider donating so that we can continue to offer snacks and refreshments each Sunday.
Our volunteer coordination system is called Planning Center Online (PCO). If you are serving, please respond at least 3 weeks in advance to requests. Better yet, please schedule your available dates to serve at least a year in advance.
- Members of Praise Band and Greeters should contact Christina Chen [email Christina];
- Sound and video tech should contact Brian Chen [email Brian];
- Snacks and Coffee/Tea set up & clean up should contact Stanley Chow [email Stanley];
- MCs should contact me [email me];
- Children’s ministry should contact Nicole Lu [email Nicole] or Shirley Tai [email Shirley].
- See you Sunday!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries