Thursday, February 26, 2009

ashes to ashes

"Ashes to ashes, we all fall down." That's how the "Ring around the rosies" nursery rhyme ends. And it's the phrase that's lingering for me this Ash Wednesday, as I prepare for our special observance @ 6pm tonight. I'm not much for talk of humanity as ashes and dust, not much for the suggestion that we can only come to God on our knees. But there are times when the spiritual discipline of humility and simplicity just feels right. Times when I need to come before God with my head bowed, saying "Not my will, but yours." Imagine Lent as just such a season, an experimental time to practice getting quiet enough to hear God, humble enough to put God first and lay some of our own desires into the dust. For a little while, it's alright to fall down before God. How else do we know what it means to be raised up?

this week @ the crossing
WEDNESDAY @ 6-6:45pm / Ash Wednesday Service
Come as you are for this contemplative worship service designed to carry us into Lent with intention and silence. Includes the traditional imposition of ashes. [NOTE: Thursday worship also on.]

WEDNESDAY @ 7pm / Unlikely Heroes in Unlikely Places: A Pub(lic) Bible Study in Cambridge
Come straight from the Ash Wednesday service to join our every-other-week Bible Study on stories you don't usually hear from the pulpit ... but should. Date: Every other Wednesday @ 7-8:30pm. Location: The Field Pub, 20 Prospect St., Central Square, Cambridge. Contact: Travis Stevens @ or Jason Long @ or 617.519.1538.

THURSDAY @ 5pm / Episcopal Church 101: A Catechesis
This interactive class focuses on the history and practices of the Episcopal Church, and how The Crossing fits into the big picture. NOTE: Everybody's invited, but this is also perfect preparation for the Rite of Confirmation or Reception into the Episcopal Church (see below, under Lenten Practice). Dates: Runs Thursdays during Lent (2/26 - 4/2) at 5-5:45pm at The Cathedral. Contact: Rev. Steph at or Jason at

THURSDAY @ 6pm / Worship
Marie Harkey offers a reflection that takes us into Lent, while Kevin Casey finishes the month with a practice drops us on the wilderness road with Jesus. Getting here: St. Paul's Cathedral, 138 Tremont St. Subway: Park St. T, across from fountain OR Downtown Crossing T, up Winter St. and left on Tremont. Driving: Park @ Boston Common Garage, Charles St., b/t Common and Public Gardens. More info:

THURSDAY @ 7:30-9pm / Sexuality, Relationships and Keeping It Real: A Crossing Community Forum
In the final forum in the series, we look at sexuality and faith through the lens of being single. Contact: Chris Ashley at

lenten practice
The season of Lent begins today and ends with the Great Vigil the night before Easter. These weeks mark a time for deeper intention, deeper prayer and deeper engagement with Christ's journey to the cross and beyond. Here are some opportunities to make the journey together @ The Crossing:

** Wed., 6pm / Ash Wednesday Service
** Thu., 5-5:45pm / Episcopal Church 101: A Catechesis Group
** Lenten Practice: Living The Rule of Life: Throughout Lent, we will focus on each of the six sections of our Rule of Life (a "rule" is a set of commitments you take on as part of a community living the way of Christ in the world). At the end of Lent, we will share a ritual of commitment to living The Rule together.
** Sat., 4/11 @ 7pm (tent.) / A Soulful Easter Vigil: For centuries, the church has gathered the night before Easter Sunday to recall the stories of God's redemption and pray their way into the celebration of the resurrection. We continue that practice with the Soulful Easter Vigil, using chant, hip-hop, spirituals, slam poetry and other art forms to share the story and celebrate in the voice of all God's people. Contact: Rev. Steph at to help with the service or to discuss the rite of Reception, Confirmation or Baptism (which ideally happen at an Easter Vigil).

small groups and formation
Check these ongoing opportunities to link with a small group and grow in faith and commitment.
** Wed., 2/25 @ 7pm: Unlikely Heroes in Unlikely Places: A Pub(lic) Bible Study at The Field Pub, Cambridge (every other week)
** Thu., 2/26 @ 5pm: Episcopal Church 101: A Catechesis Group (every week)
** Thu., 2/26 @ 7:30pm: Sexuality, Relationships and Keeping It Real: A Crossing Community Forum
** Next Tues., 3/2 @ 7-9pm and Wed., 3/3 @ 6-8pm: Covenant Groups. These small groups of Crossing members share reflection, stories, spiritual practice and intentional commitment to growing as Jesus' followers. Each of the sessions focuses on an aspect of The Crossing Rule of Life. NOTE: Both groups gather every other week, and are open to newcomers for another week. Contact: Kim at or Jason at

transformational events in february and march
Hundreds came together at Park Street on Saturday for Shane Claiborne's talk on Gratitude and Creation. There's more where that came from ...
** Sat., 2/28, 10am-2pm: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori leads a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the consecration of our own Bishop Barbara Harris (first woman bishop in the whole Anglican Communion). St. Paul's Cathedral. Register @

** Sat., 3/7, 10am-3pm: Brian McLaren will keynote a day of learning, sharing and action, shaped by his book Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises and a Revolution of Hope. Register at WANT TO VOLUNTEER? Contact Julia Wilkinson @

** Thu., 3/26, 2-7:30pm: Phyllis Tickle comes to The Crossing for a learning event shaped by her new book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. Register at WANT TO VOLUNTEER? Contact Marie Harkey @

internship opportunities
If you're wondering how you could spend the next year serving God, exploring your own vocation, getting serious about Christian discipleship, and gaining skills to make a difference in the world, consider applying to one of the Diocese of Massachusetts' Young Adult Internship Programs ( Application deadline: March 15!

** The Micah Project: Interns live together in Christian community, discerning their own vocational calls while serving the Boston area in social justice-related projects. Contact Noah Evans @ or 781.396.7215.

** The Relational Evangelism Pilot Project: This new intern program trains young adults in community organizing and then places them with churches and chaplaincies (like The Crossing!) to engage more young adults in God's mission -- social action, community building, spiritual formation and small groups. Contact: Arrington Chambliss @ or 617.277.5523. FYI: Jason Long has been serving as our Relational Evangelist this year. Feel free to ask him about it!

ongoing community notes
Giving @ The Crossing
If you'd like to make a contribution to support the ministries of The Crossing -- and yes, this ministry depends on all of our giving, to meet our goal of raising $20,000 in 2009 -- we've got new pledge cards available at worship. You can make a one-time gift, or prayerfully consider pledging (setting out an amount you'd like to give over the course of a year). Give however you're able: cash, check or credit cards. Contact Chris Ashley at to learn more.

Share the Groove -- Buy a copy of The Crossing's new CD
The Crossing has released its first CD, Songs @ The Crossing. It's a collection of 14 favorite songs from our worship community, and you can get it for $15. Reply to this email or buy one on a Thursday.

Fair Trade @ The Crossing
Want to pitch in with our effort to become a Fair Trade Ministry? The first move: changes in hospitality (fair trade/organic food, eco-friendly products, re-usable dishes that we wash after worship). To help and imagine more ways to transform life @ The Crossing, contact Bill Comer at or 617.818.5124.

ongoing justice and healing opportunities
We're serious about joining ministries that serve our homeless and hungry brothers and sisters. Please join us any day of the week!
** Monday Lunch Program takes place here at The Cathedral every Monday. Show up @ 10am to help with set-up, or at 11:30am-12:45pm to help serve & build community with our neighbors. Contact Jeremy at
** St. Francis House: Volunteers needed everyday to help serve meals and provide care. Boylston St, near Chinatown. Contact Lynn Campbell at or 617.654.1212.
** Haley House is a Catholic-worker style community in the South End. Volunteers needed for meals programs 6-10am every day AND 1:30-5pm Saturday and Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Could also use help tending an urban orchard in Mission Hill. See

getting connected @ the crossing
If you'd like to be in touch, we'd love to connect with YOU! Look at the list and then reach out:
** Stephanie Spellers: / 617.482.4826, x318 (priest, communications, pastoral care)
** Jason Long: / 617.617.519.1538 (newcomers, small groups)
** Chris Ashley: (budget, hospitality)
** Lynn Campbell: (ministries with the homeless, pastoral care)
** Andrea Castner-Wyatt: (worship arts, "the groovement")
** Kieran Conroy: (emergent cohort)
** Marie Harkey: (admin, general)
** Ashley Merrell: (music ministry)
** Travis Stevens: (arts & community, Emerson College)

Blessings in the groove,
Rev. Steph

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