Dear Congregational Family,

1. Notre Dame Cathedral: Yesterday, the world was shocked to watch images of the Notre Dame Cathedral in flames. Notre Dame has been an icon, not just for Paris, France; but for the world for over 850 years! Construction was started in 1163 and building continued for almost 200 years. It has not only survived the passing of the centuries, but also the French Revolution, WWI, and WWII. It has been an architectural masterpiece of the Middle Ages, built for the glory of God and to give witness of God to the world. I’m so glad that there are already plans being made to restore it!

As I watched footage of it burning and saw the 300-foot steeple fall, I thought of the hymn we sing, “Built on the Rock the Church doth stand.” The hymn is overflowing with good theology (google it today!), but here are two verses (vs. 1 & 3) which stood out to me on this occasion:

“Built on the Rock the Church doth stand, even when steeples are falling;
Crumbled have spires in every land, bells still are chiming and calling;
Calling the young and old to rest, calling the souls of men distressed,
longing for life everlasting.”

“We are God’s house of living stones, built for His own habitation;
He fills our hearts, his humble thrones, granting us life and salvation;
Were two or three to seek his face, He in their midst would show his grace, blessings upon them bestowing..”

Church buildings are wonderful and they give us a sacred space in which to worship the Lord. They also are a witness to the world of the presence of God. At the same time, we are reminded that we, the Church, the Body of Christ, are the temple were God is pleased to dwell. We also are a witness to the world!

2. Church Family Easter Festival: Incredible! It was so wonderful to see our congregation serving, loving, worshiping, eating and playing together at the Festival. Thank you to Barb Harrold and to Kerry Macugoski for directing, to Steve & Peggy for preparing the meal, the worship team, Brandon and the youth puppeteers, and all the adults and youth who volunteered to serve in different ways as we told the Easter story of Jesus to the children! (See pictures below, and check out our Ruthfred Facebook page as well!)

3. Easter Baskets: Thank you to Bev Rowan for directing our Easter Basket ministry! The wonderful baskets were put together with love by our team of servant-hearted members. They are a blessing to so many our shut-ins!! (see picture below)

4. Celebrating Holy Week:
a. Maundy Thursday: 2:00 & 7:30pm services with Holy Communion.
b. Good Friday: 12:30-3:00pm – Service of Scripture, meditations and music.
c. Good Friday: 7:30pm – Tenebrae Service with Message in Word and Song.
d. Holy Saturday: 6:00pm – Service of Prayer and Praise (large SS room).
e. Easter Sunday Celebration: 7:00am, 8:30am, 11:00am. Holy Communion offered after 8:30 & 11:00 services.

5. Men’s Group: Monthly men’s group meets tonight at 7:00pm.

6. Church Pictorial Directory: This Sunday, you can continue signing up for having your picture taken for our new directory! It has already been five years since our last directory. We want everyone to have their picture taken!!! The directory helps us to stay connected together within our congregation. Pat Lutz, our administrative assistant will be signing you up, by the elevator.

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”

Pastor Carlson