Alleluia!! He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!!! That affirmation makes all of the preparations and activities that have preceded the day so worth it. Admittedly it is a lot of work for a lot of people. We all need to be mindful of the extra time our staff needs to make that day successful for all of us. Easter is the holiest of days for Christians, and we all feel the need to make it as special for everyone as possible. Pastor Michelle wrote 5 Lenten services, in addition to those special Sunday sermons during lent! Then she prepared a service for Maundy Thursday, 2 for Good Friday, and finally, the amazing service for Easter. Many of us wanted to stand up and shout Alleluia at the end of her sermon on Easter Sunday. If you weren’t inspired to get up off you duff and get moving to make our church even more special, then you just weren’t listening! In addition to the work from our Pastor, our office staff was stretched to see just how far they could go and how much they could do in a 6 week period. I don’t have the space to list it all, but just think of all the bulletins, news and notes that must be prepared in that time. All of those services have a bulletin!!!! And the sound people, and the music ministry!! And the Facilities Staff!! Then there is the Worship Board who seems to always pull a rabbit out of their hat for special church holidays. Our Church looked ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL all during the season. That is not easy!! Candles need to be filled, the altar gets moved around and around, the piano and organ are fortunately on wheels because they log a lot of miles during this season. Banners are changed constantly, and Pam Walton, and her long poll, change the drape on the cross from purple, to black to white – all in one weekend!!! They order flowers for the altar, pick them up, and place them around to make it look like a splendid garden for Easter Day. It is all so wonderful and we all should be so very proud!!!
The month of April was filled with activities in addition to the church services. Jumping back a day to March 31, we had an amazing Mission Fair. Nearly all of the missions we support were represented and we had “lots” of tables filled with information for everyone to check out. Dubois, Racial Harmony, Kindercottage and others were represented as well as our in house missions. It was Very Impressive indeed to see how much we do! That was followed by another successful Rummage Sale from the Women’s Guild. The Music Visioning Team that has been tasked to determine a vision for the Music Ministry as we look to the future, met twice for discussion. When their work is complete, a Search Team will be appointed to begin the search for a Music Director. Palm Sunday saw us welcome 4 new members to our church family. That has to make you happy!! The Fine Arts Committee presented a beautiful program, The Arianna String Quartet doing Haydn’s 7 Last Words of Christ. Seven us were invited to share one of the words and speak to its meaning to us individually. It was such a rewarding experience.
Easter Week was amazing. Maundy Thursday, in addition to great food, provided a beautiful and meaningful service with our youth and their families serving communion to the gathered. Then there were the 2 awesome services on Good Friday, easily the best ever!! Then that Bunny Breakfast!!!! Over 250 people in attendance!!! LOTS of PANCAKES AND SAUSAGE were consumed. Thank you Ken Nettleton and your band of cooks from Mingles and Singles!!! Finally, there was Easter Service. It was special on so many levels, I wouldn’t know where to start. But a huge thank you to Pastor Michelle for a beautifully planned day, to Dan Fry for such special music that went hand in hand with the message, to Tom Birkner and his musicians for adding that effect of grandeur! We bid a short farewell to our Celebration Service on Easter. It will be back in a new form in the not so distant future and we all look forward to seeing what it will look like!! I believe no one celebrates the season better than St. Paul UCC Belleville. And thank you to all of you who came and celebrated with us. And to those who listened on the radio or watched on Facebook Live. Alleluia!!!! Alleluia!!!
Mimi Llamas, Church Council President