Lent & Holy Week - An Invitation to Journey Together


    Pastoral Invitation


    Beloved Epworth Community,


    “May you live in interesting times” is a common saying suggesting a blessing. The irony of the saying is that “interesting times” are often not peaceful times. Periods of history in which disruptions and shocks occur on an almost daily basis are what is referred to by “interesting times.” I believe we are going through such a period, and as a result, we are experiencing a kind of heightened anxiety as a church, a nation and as a human community.


    As Christians, we believe that through the wisdom of our traditions we can respond in faith to times of heightened anxiety. This Lenten season, we’ll be using theologian and activist Elaine Heath’s book God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church to source some of that wisdom. In worship and in small groups, we’ll explore such questions as the Christian’s role in a pluralistic world, how we stay grounded in a world that is changing so quickly and often violently, and a response to life-changing diagnoses.


    In reflecting on your own life, what are the dimensions that cause you anxiety. What are the spiritual practices that counter that anxiety and transform it? We’ll be exploring this, too.


    Once again, I’ll be leading a group through Heath’s book on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. Other groups will be offered throughout the week. If you’d like to be a part of a group, please sign up through this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0449A9AA29A2F94-lenten1

    You can order the book here: https://upperroombooks.com/book/god-unbound/


    The season of Lent, as we walk with Jesus toward his crucifixion and resurrection, is a time for a deep dive into the valleys of life. I strongly invite you to journey with your community of faith in worship and in small groups. We’ll begin this journey on Ash Wednesday, February 26 with the traditional imposition of ashes in the sanctuary at 6 p.m. I look forward to being on the journey with you.


    Pastor Kristin


    Small Group Descriptions:

    "History of Early Christian Plurality" Led by Jacob Wilbur

    Time & Location: Sundays beginning 3/8 at 8:45 a.m. in Adult Study

    Description: We will be looking at early Christian history from from the perspective of three primary sources: The Muratorian Fragment, the statement of faith of Arius and his Alexandrian supporters, and the Creed of Nicaea. Using these sources we will look at what role they played in history and how they affected early Christian thought.


    "God Unbound Book Study for Parents of Children and Youth." Led by Pastor Kristin

    Time & Location: Sundays at 9 a.m. in Room 29


    "God Unbound Book Study." Led by Rev. Ron Parker

    Time & Location: Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. in Adult Study


    "Healthy Mind Small Group" Led by Gregg Richardson

    Time & Location: Sundays beginning 3/8 at 12 p.m. in Room 29

    Description: Readings and topics related to mental health:

    08 March -- Understanding Depression: Theories, Diagnoses, Treatments

    15 March -- Book Discussion (book to be announced by 08 March)

    22 March -- Guest Speaker

    29 March -- Understanding Anxiety: Theories, Diagnoses, Treatments


    "Centering Prayer Practice to Calm the Anxious Soul," using God Unbound as a guide. Led by Susan Jardin.

    Time & Location: Sundays beginning 3/8: 9-9:50 am in the chapel.


    "Men's Small Group"

    Description: Small group for men wanting group support for living out our commitment to Christ in our daily lives, more than can be provided by attendance at weekly services. We will meet to learn from each other how we apply Wesleyan principles of do no harm, do good, stay in love with God to dealing with the challenges and joys of daily life such as parenting, aging, elder parents, work, retirement, relationship, right livelihood, etc. It is a group commitment and involuntary outcome that participants and leader grow spiritually together. The mirror provided by group sharing allows each participant to examine their faith and faithfulness for themselves, without judgement.

    Time & Location: Saturdays at 9 a.m. in the chapel.


    "Recreating DaVinci's 'The Last Supper' Tableau" with LeRoy Howard

    Explore the emotional and spiritual crisis the disciples and Jesus experienced when he says, “one of you will betray me.” Equal parts Bible study, art discussion, role playing and photography.

    Time & location:

    Sundays, March 22th & 29th, after services, 11:15 - 12:15 - bible study and art discussion Saturday, April 4 - photo session Sunday April 5th - review and wrap-up discussion


    "Hospitality as a Spiritual Discipline" with Paul Nasman

    Practicing hospitality expresses our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of each person. Through our actions of hospitality we move towards creating a world in which we are all treated with justice, equality, and compassion. [source]

    Time & location TBD by group

    "Spirit Walks"

    Saturday mornings beginning 3/7. Easy to moderate meditative walks in the East Bay Regional Park system. Rotating walk leaders will share the location and meet time each week by Friday morning. Time: Saturday mornings; Location TBD


    Sign up to join a small group: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0449A9AA29A2F94-lenten1


    Worship Schedule:


    Locations: Unless otherwise noted, all worship services will be held in the Sanctuary.

    Childcare: During lent, childcare will be available from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


    March 1: Language Landmines

    Galatians 1:1-9

    Rev. Kristin Stoneking preaching


    March 8: Revelation of the Holy Spirit

    Galatians 1:11-12

    Rev. Brian Adkins preaching


    March 15: Unmoored: When We Lose God

    Galatians 3:1-12

    Rev. Kristin Stoneking preaching


    March 22: From Rock Bottom to Recovery

    Galatians 3:27-29

    Rev. Brian Adkins preaching


    March 29: Broken yet Beloved

    Galatians 4:12-16

    Rev. Kristin Stoneking preaching


    Holy Week Schedule:

    April 5: Palm/Passion Sunday

    Relive Jesus' final days through scripture, song and Holy Communion.

    Matthew 21:1-11 & 27:11-54; Galatians 6:1-2

    Worship: 10 am


    April 9: Circuit-wide Maundy Thursday Observance

    Time: TBD, Location: Berkeley Methodist United - 1710 Carleton St. (Click for Directions)


    April 10: Good Friday

    Social Justice Stations of the Cross Walk

    A walk in our community, considering Jesus’ last days on earth and the brokenness still present.

    Time: 12 - 1:30 pm Location: Gather at Epworth UMC on the front porch


    April 12: Easter Sunday

    Youth-led Sunrise Service

    Time: 6:30 am

    Location: César Chávez Park, Berkeley Marina: Drive to the end of Spinnaker Way. (Click for Directions)

    Followed by light breakfast


    Festival Worship Service

    Musical Prelude: 9:30 am

    Worship: 10 am

    Matthew 28:1-10

    Rev. Kristin Stoneking preaching

    Followed by family Easter egg hunt & potluck




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    1953 Hopkins St. Berkeley, CA 94707 | epworth@lmi.net | 510.524.2921