ORUCC Holy Week Invitation from Pastor Julia

“Seeing pain up close can give you an incredible experience of awe. It’s like seeing a garment turned inside out and all the rough seams are showing. You see someone’s absolute humanity shine through all the pain, and that vulnerability makes them more -not less – beloved.” -Kate Bowler & Jessica Richie, Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection

Dear Ones of Orchard Ridge UCC,

If during Lent we follow Jesus into the desert wilderness for 40 days, we are halfway through this ritual journey into the depths of our human experience. We have been in a place of welcoming the sadness and suffering of our own lives and of the world, sitting with what is, lamenting and allowing ourselves time for introspection and contemplation.

Spring Equinox on the Horizon

We are now halfway through Lent, and the natural world is beginning to give us hints of Spring with rain today and a few gorgeous warm sunny days this week, which gives us hope of what is to come. Monday March 21st we celebrate the Vernal Equinox, where in the northern hemisphere the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night are in perfect balance. How do you look forward to the balance tipping to light rather than night? How might you welcome hope into your life?

Easter April 17th

Easter is on April 17th this year. This is the first Easter that ORUCC as a community will celebrate in-person together in 3 years, so it is an understatement to say we are joyously anticipating Easter! It will be my first in-person Easter with you. I am eagerly awaiting this day together.

6am Sunrise Service & Easter Egg Hunt

We will have 6am in-person Sunrise service on the ORUCC lawn, followed by breakfast together in Friendship Hall. Sunday School and adult programming are on pause for Easter, so that we can have this time of food and fun instead. 10 am Easter service will be live-streamed and then following service we will have an Easter Egg hunt on our church grounds. But before we get there…

Holy Week

Lent is a period of preparation for our souls to experience the glory of the resurrection on Easter and Holy Week is the time we ritually remember the last supper on April 14th with Maundy Thursday, the death and betrayal of Jesus on Good Friday April 15th. Our observances of Holy Week are as follows:

Maundy Thursday Agape Meals April 14

On April 14th Maundy Thursday some wonderful hosts at ORUCC are opening their homes and inviting you to share a meal with Middle Eastern cuisine, to have communion over the meal, to casually connect with each other to build and strengthen our relationships. This practice is also known as an Agape Meal or Love feast. Christians from all over the world will gather to remember the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples.

Sign up for a Meal!

So far we have 56 slots, and if these meals get good traffic and fill up quickly, we will reach out to more hosts. Please consider as you read this if you might feel a call to host one of these meals, then reach out to me to explore the idea.

When you sign up to attend a meal, please indicate whether you have any dietary restrictions. The host will contact you directly to give any further instructions. We ask that everyone be vaccinated and boosted who attends or have a negative COVID test within 24 hours before the gathering. We invite people to arrive masked, and remove masks for meals. Hopefully the weather is nice so that we can enjoy indoor-outdoor space.

Good Friday April 15

At 6pm in our Worship Hall we will share in a contemplative Good Friday service with Madison Mennonite Church. We may have a Labyrinth walk from 5-7:30 for some introspective devotional time before or after the 6pm service.

Good Enough:Mid-Week Devotionals Wednesday, 5:30pm-6pm March 23, March 30, April 6

I would love to have you join for any or all of these. I will lead a devotional for about 10 minutes and then we will have about 20 minutes to connect and chat.

“Written gently and with humor, Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals For a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie is permission for all those who need to hear that there are some things you can fix—and some things you can’t. And it’s okay that life isn’t always better. In these gorgeously written reflections, Bowler and Richie offer fresh imagination for how truth, beauty, and meaning can be discovered amid the chaos of life.

Their words celebrate kindness, honesty, and interdependence in a culture that rewards ruthless individualism and blind optimism.

Ultimately, in these pages we can rest in the encouragement to strive for what is possible today—while recognizing that though we are finite, the life in front of us can be beautiful.”

I hope that these devotionals are accessible for the busy parent or teacher, the hopeful recent retiree, the weary caregiver, the devoted choir member, those who are grieving, those who are looking for delight and humor amidst the mess of life. I hope you can join for a little time of connection and blessing

Here is the ZOOM link: Good Enough

and if it is easier to copy and paste:


Abundant blessings to you,

Pastor Julia