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Most Recent Blog Entries

The Diaconate Easter Offering: Into the History and Heart of It

April 13, Redeemer has the opportunity to give to the Diaconate Easter Offering, an annual tradition since the church was founded in 1999.

Lori Lawrence, a first generation deacon, comments, “Before we had a diaconate there was a Mercy Team, and the offering in those days was for their work, with similar mission and goals as today.”

Though the “Mercy Team” has been renamed, mercy ministry is at the core of the Easter Offering.  As Deacon Sonny Grupta mentions, “The message of Easter is ‘new life,’ and that is what we hope the diaconate can offer to those that are in need.”

The purpose of the offering is two-fold: first, to create a means for the church to provide financial, emotional, and spiritual support to attendees in times of crisis, and second, to support our community through local ministries with whom we have strong relationships.

The care of our congregation is primary:  “Taking care of the needs of people in our congregation is our first priority; it’s what we allocate most of our funds to. We meet with members who are going through tough times. Often our assistance involves mainly prayer and guidance to available resources, but often there is financial assistance given, as well. We look for ways we can come along side and assist people in our church body who are struggling,”says Diaconate Chair Sara Peterson.

Last year the offering raised $13,000.  With it, Redeemer families were supported along with various ministries.  For example, money was used to provide food for our volunteer nights at the homeless shelter, some scholarships to New City Kids, and support for In Jesus Name and Open Door ministries when supplies were low.

As Redeemer continues the offering, it can act on compassion by giving, feeding, clothing, and praying for our brothers and sisters.  And when we do this, we are essentially helping Jesus get back on his feet.  Now that’s beautiful.

 

 

Good Easter Reads

This month we celebrate the greatest event of human history: the resurrection.  April is a great time to meditate on Christ’s victory over death.  Check out some recommended Easter reads from a few Redeemer Hoboken book fans.

Short, Accessible (Meaning Free and Online)

book7The Poetry of George Herbert

 Browse his poems online or buy a pretty book of his collected work. George Herbert (1593-1633) has come to be one of the most admired of the metaphysical poets. Though he is a profoundly religious poet, even secular readers respond to his quiet intensity and exuberant inventiveness… An Anglican priest who took his calling with deep seriousness, he brought to his work a religious reverence richly allied with a playful wit and with literary and musical gifts of the highest order. His best-loved poems, from “The Collar” and “Jordan” to “The Altar” and “Easter Wings,” achieve a perfection of form and feeling, a rare luminosity, and a timeless metaphysical grandeur.

biblesquaresmallChronological Reading of the Four Gospels

Sign up for an online chronological Bible plan (like this one) or print a plan, and skip to the gospels.  Read the stories as told in time.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI Corinthians 15

Read about the resurrection by Paul himself.

Other Reads

atthecrossChristians at the Cross: Finding the Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus by N.T. Wright.

Anglican bishop N. T. Wright is a respected ecumenical voice among Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians. When Wright preached to the members of a mining community in northern England who had suffered grievous losses, he reflected on Jesus death and resurrection, encouraging the people to unite their pain with the journey of Christ to the cross. The wisdom of his biblical reflections, gathered here, apply to anyone who is suffering and offers a passage to hope through Christ and his victory over death.

relivingpassionReliving the Passion: Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and the Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark by Walter Wangerin Jr.

The meditations in Reliving the Passion, which received a Gold Medallion Award in 1993, follow the story as given in the gospel of Mark—from the moment when the chief priests plot to kill Jesus to the Resurrection…Walter Wangerin enables the reader to see the story from the inside, to discover the strangeness and wonder of the events as they unfold. It’s like being there. In vivid images and richly personal detail, Wangerin helps us recognize our own faces on the streets of Jerusalem; breathe the dark and heavy air of Golgotha; and experience, as Mary and Peter did, the bewilderment, the challenge, and the ultimate revelation of knowing the man called Jesus.

book3The Awkward Season: Prayers for Lent by Pamela C. Hawkins

The Awkward Season: Prayers for Lent offers Christian pilgrims a prayer path to follow through Lent. For each day of the week, prayers of invocation, confession, intercession, and thanksgiving are shaped around a theme prompted by the psalm for the day. A daily scripture reading is provided, but Hawkins welcomes readers to use a different passage if it comes to mind; this book, she reminds the reader, is designed to support rather than dictate a Lenten journey. A finger labyrinth at the back of the book serves as an optional prayer tool for those who wish to try it and an order for Lenten praise and prayer provides a simple, beautiful way for groups who meet weekly to share this Lenten experience. Whether used individually or in a gathering, The Awkward Season will be a road map for the journey as you spend time with the One who longs to be your companion in this season and always.

book6The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie— step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change … and a great sacrifice.

book4The Seven Last Words from the Cross by Fleming Rutledge.

For at least a century, at special three-hour services on Good Friday, it has been the custom in many churches to reflect on the Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross. In this tradition, Fleming Rutledge here presents seven eloquent meditations on these final sayings of Jesus. Rutledge links the sayings from the cross with contemporary events and concerns, but also incorporates recent biblical scholarship and modern questions about the death of Christ, particularly in light of Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ. Rutledge shows how each word or saying from the Cross affords an opportunity for readers to gain a deeper understanding of the horrific death suffered by Jesus…The book includes frequent references to hymns associated with this special day, and each meditation ends with an appropriate hymn text for personal prayer and reflection.

whomovedWho Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison.

First published in 1930, Who Moved the Stone? analyses texts about the events related to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Frank Morison was skeptical regarding the resurrection of Jesus, and set out to analyse the sources and to write a short paper entitled Jesus – the Last Phase to demonstrate the apparent myth. In compiling his notes, he came to be convinced of the truth of the resurrection, and set out his reasoning in the book Who moved the stone?. Many people have become Christian after reading the book, and some have used the work as a reference for more work on the subject.