Eight youth from Saint Stephens, along with pastor Joe and parent volunteers traveled to Gettysburg, PA for a mission trip April 17-21. They were part of a group of 40 teens from Central Massachusetts involved in LIPY (Lutheran Inter-Parish Youth) who took five days of their school break to volunteer at a food bank and food pantry, assist senior citizens and work with families living in poverty.
The theme of the trip was “Swords into Ploughshares,” and included a visit to the Gettysburg National Battlefield Visitor’s Center, and worship at the Gettysburg Seminary Chapel. With a historic look at the horrors of war, participants also saw the hope that’s offered in solidarity, service, and sharing. Students stayed at Camp Nawakwa in Biglerville, PA, where they enjoyed on-site free time at the end of each busy work day, as well as one evening out bowling.
Organizations where Saint Stephen Youth and others from LIPY served as volunteers included Cross Keys Village - The Brethren Home Community, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Adam’s Country Food Pantry, and Adam’s Country Support Circles.
From a procession with palms on Palm Sunday through the festive celebration of Easter on Sunday, April 16, there will be a variety of opportunities to worship during Holy Week at Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborough. Each service will have a distinct theme and tone – and one will add a colorful surprise.
The April 9 Palm Sunday service at 9:30 begins as worshipers walk into the sanctuary, singing and waving palms. Through readings, music, and message, the tone changes from joyful to contemplative. Services on Thursday and Friday, April 13 and 14, will both be at 6:30 p.m., but will mark different events. Thursday worship “commemorates the night in which Jesus was betrayed, when he gave himself away as bread and wine in Holy Communion,” said the Rev. Joseph Graumann, pastor. On Good Friday “we remember the day Jesus died, transforming a cross of death into a tree of life.”
Easter Vigil, with Yarn
On Saturday, the Easter Vigil takes places after sundown at 7:30 p.m. “We will light the paschal candle from an outdoor fire, and celebrate with alleluias as we hear the Easter Gospel,” the pastor noted. The service also will include a Thanksgiving for Baptism and Holy Communion, as well as a surprise project from the Knit Wits knitting group.
Easter Sunday service at 9:30 will be festive, with special music by voice and bell choirs, and be followed by a pot luck Easter brunch. Music will be “celebratory and uplifting to reflect the joy of the day,” said Stan Hanson, music director. Choral selections will include Mozart’s classic “Alleluia” and a “rhythmic and energetic anthem, ‘O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing,’ by contemporary composer Aaron David Miller, ” Hanson added. “Vibrant music by the handbell choir will include a joyful arrangement of the hymn, ‘Alleluia! Jesus is Risen’ and Darlene Zschech’s ‘Shout to the Lord.’” All are welcome to stay for the brunch.
For more information, visit saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, and Bolton.