Looking for Birds

Earlier this week I spent a couple of hours walking the trails through Jackson Park. Maggie and I enjoy walking through the park every week or so, but this time I went by myself. I was hoping  the spring weather would lure some migrating birds. I stood in one spot near the lagoon for a while, watching as different birds darted and swooped from tree to tree, their chirps a sure sign that warmer weather is on its way.

More than once I had been looking into the branches only to find that a bird had been there all along. I'd been looking but not quite seeing. The bird calls had directed my attention but it took some willful noticing before the bird revealed itself to my amateur eyes.

I'm thinking about noticing as we near the halfway mark of Lent. Noticing - really seeing - is a prerequisite for the sort of reflection and repentance that characterizes these weeks leading to Easter. It's not something most of us are naturally good at. We're always looking around. There's so much in this world competing for our attention. How often do we notice?

One of the attributes of sin is its ability to blend in. We accustom ourselves to greed, hate, selfishness, and the like. We overlook how food and drink have become idols enslaving our imaginations. But none of this changes sin's destructive and divisive aims. Sin pushes us from our God's welcoming arms; it damages our desires and emotions.

So the Lenten invitation to notice is an invitation to forgiveness and life. We stop and look intently enough, perhaps with the help of a trusted friend, to see what we'd previously missed. Our eyes grow accustomed to the sins we have grasped but also to the grace that Jesus offers to us again and again and again.

- Pastor David

PS I know there have been many announcements lately (see below!), but please be sure to scan them all. There are some important opportunities coming up.

 

Community Prayer Requests

1) Sankofa Journey: Pray for Chuck, Jarret, Steve, and Pastor David as they join others on the Sankofa Journey this weekend. Registration is open for the next journey in October.

2) 5th Sunday Serve: We'll be serving our friends at Jackie Robinson Elementary this Sunday. Pray for a great turnout and that we can accomplish all of the jobs the school has identified for us.

3) Summer Outdoor Prayer: We are investigating how to partner with other churches this summer to be prayerfully present in the neighborhood. Pray for good connections and that we can serve faithfully in this way.
This nine week financial course will take place each Saturday from 3:30-5:30 at the Ministry Center beginning on May 4. More info and registration coming soon.
The Strides for Peace Race is a big fundraiser for New Community Outreach. Register today for this amazing event and help us support the great work being done with youth and children in our community.

Calendar & Opportunities

Fifth Sunday Serve | Sunday, March 31
On months with five Sundays we use the fifth Sunday to serve our neighbors. Meet at Jackie Robinson Elementary School at 10AM (4225 S Lake Park Ave).

Mid-Lent Worship | Friday, April 5; 7:00PM
A time of praise and petition as we seek the Lord together.

Prayer Around The Schools (PATS) | Saturday, April 6; 9-10 AM
On the first Sunday of the month we meet in front of Kennicott for a prayer walk around three local schools. 

Potluck | Sunday, April 7
Our next monthly potluck is in two weeks! Please bring something to share.
 
April Bible Study Schedule | Thursdays; 7:00PM
Everyone is welcome to our Thursday night Bible Study at the Ministry Center (3627 S. Cottage Grove). We will  meet on April 11, 18, and 25.

Good Friday Service | Friday, April 19; 7:00PM
Join us at Kennicott Park (4434 S. Lake Park) as we meditate on Jesus' crucifixion.
 
Resurrection Sunday Baptisms | Sunday, April 21
Are you interested in being baptized on Easter? Please email Krystle for more information.
 
NCO Art Show | Saturday, April 27, 3:00-6:00PM
RSVP to support Dyett High School students at the New Community Outreach Art Show at the Bronzeville Community Clubhouse (3847 S. Giles). Email Melody for more info.

Newcomer’s Lunch | Sunday, April 28, 12:30PM
If you are new (or have never been to a newcomer’s lunch), please join us for a meal after service on April 28. Email Krystle to sign up.

Financial Peace | Saturdays; 3:30-5:30PM
This nine-week course beginning on May 4 covers a lot of critical financial information with an emphasis on being debt-free. More info and registration coming soon.
 
Justice Institute: Women’s Empowerment | May 16-17
The Justice Institute is hosting a two-day conference on Women’s Empowerment (for women and men!) at Grace and Peace Church (1860 N. LeClaire). Speakers include Pastor Ramelia. Email Krystle for more information.

Faith & Race Workshop | Saturday, May 18, 9:00AM-4:00PM
Register early for our annual workshop at Glorious Light Church (4351 S Drexel Blvd) using the password "faith&race." We’ll explore the legacy of Ida B. Wells to discover how to use Christian activism to combat racism, sexism, and our own apathy.
 
All Church Retreat | Friday - Sunday, June 21-23
Registration for our annual church retreat has begun! Forms are available at the hospitality table on Sundays. For questions or scholarship info please email Melody.

I Am Women’s Conference | July 18-21
Every three years our denomination hosts a global conference for women.  Pastor Michelle will be teaching a workshop.  The conference is in Minneapolis, MN and there are scholarships available.  Email Jennifer Dorrough for more info.

Jackie Robinson Volunteers through New Community Outreach
For those who want to volunteer, please be sure and finish the CPS approval process. If you have any questions, email Markeyta.

Open AA Meeting | Thursdays 7:00-8:00 PM
Sponsored by The Chicago Area Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous, the meeting is open to all who desire to stop drinking and is held in Room 425 of Mercy Hospital (2525 South Michigan Avenue; 312-567-2000).


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