From the Backcountry

North Greenwich Congregational Church

March 2, 2018

Pastor’s Weekly Update

 From the Backcountry …

 If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.”  Romans 12

Today marks the 57th anniversary of President Kennedy’s announcement that his administration would establish the U.S. Peace Corps.  Through the years, over 220,000 young Americans have committed 27 months putting technical, social and economic knowledge and skills gained in college to work in 141 countries.  The organization was initially founded to withstand Cold War propaganda promoting “ugly American” mythology and  to provide a positive image of American values and culture.  More importantly, it gave our young people a chance to learn and appreciate the values and cultures of other nations.  Working with governments, schools, non-profit organizations; as well as entrepreneurs in education, business, technology, agriculture and environment, two generations have gained valuable training that often follows them into long- term career choices.  The Peace Corps has been a visionary and an invaluable tool in promoting peace and friendship between our nation and the global community.

Not surprisingly, our current Administration appears determined to gut funding for international development, foreign aid and diplomacy.  The proposed budget for 2019 cuts $12 million dollars from the Peace Corps allocation that supports over 7.000 volunteers now serving in 60 countries.  It is essential for us to realize that not only does the Peace Corp provide important, and often unglamorous assistance to struggling communities, it continues to ensure that the United States has a positive presence, especially in the developing regions of Latin America, Africa and Asia.  Our young people are not only serving as community organizers, but grass-roots diplomats.  Their work plays a vital part in conversations that build trust and open doors that, in many cases,  would be inaccessible.  Depleting funds necessary for the Peace Corps to do its work is a terrible mistake.

Sunday, March 4    10:30 a.m.

Second Sunday in Lent       Holy Communion

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 19. John 2: 13-22

Text:  “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”   John 2:16

Sermon:  “Freedom from Want”

Tease:  Jesus’ driving the money changers from the Temple is a classic “speaking truth to power” moment.  Needless to say, it sets up his collision course with the religious leaders of the day.  And yet, confronting established practices is often part of the spiritual journey.  Most of us know Norman Rockwell’s classic painting of a family gathered around a Thanksgiving table as the matron is serving an enormous turkey.  Did you know the quintessential painter of Americana was, in reality, speaking a pointed truth to the powers of his day?

VamosSchool.JPG

2018 Lenten Mission Offering

Greenwich World Hunger -   Proyecto Vamos Adelante

Vamos Adelante is a private initiative that serves a region of Guatemala where the population harvests sugar cane and coffee beans.  Therefore, they are without income for long periods of time.  Due to the lack of educational opportunities, illiteracy is widespread and poverty fosters illness and malnutrition.   The Vamos Adelante School (pictured above) assists children from nine villages not only with their academic performance but also provides the nutrition necessary to overcome the traumas related to their living conditions.  Contributions help to defray school fees, provide academic materials, uniforms and shoes.  Please give generously our Lenten Offering and support this amazingly successful venture to some of the poorest communities in Central America.

See You Sunday,

Royal

Road Rules:  Pursue a path, however, narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”    Henry David Thoreau