Easter Letter

Dear Berry Faithful,

May we ponder the empty tomb and truly mourn the death of our Savior during Holy Week so that as Jesus beckons life renewed we may joyously proclaim the glory of the risen Christ. Alleluia! Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed, Alleluia!

The great work of the SPRC and Trustees finished needed repairs to the parsonage in January and February enabling my family to move into the parsonage in March. The house extends the ministry of Berry and has begun to do so with soup and substance evening prayers every other Friday during Lent.

The Lenten Season at Berry Church has been a time of preparation; during worship on Sundays we reflected on the baptismal covenant that binds us to each other calling us forth to be true witnesses in the world of hope and resistance to injustice. Weekly on Wednesday evenings Berry hosted, in collaboration with Community Renewal Society, time for prayer and trainings led by various non-profits including Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin American and American Friends Service Committee. During Holy Week we will continue to contemplate with a service that allows us to walk through multiple stations honoring the walk of Jesus with these injustices we see continue in our world today.

There are four ways that I invite you to consider participating as you enter Holy Week:

1.       Invite friends and family to Berry! Many seek to find a church during Holy Week and your invitation may be a real grace in the lives of many.

2.       Participate boldly as we gather for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Help in any way that you are able. If you see something that needs tidying, or passed out, please lend a hand. One of the blessings of serving at Berry is the way we are all needed to make the service happen.

3.       Be the good news of Easter every day in the ordinariness of life. Buy coffee for the person behind you in the long drive through line, take time to really ask how someone is doing and get involved in a new ministry at Berry!

4.       Give to the Easter offering to support Berry’s ministry.  Enclosed you will find an envelope for the Easter offering to be collected during the service on Sunday or by mail. In addition to this regular offering, the children will also collect a special offering.  During the Easter Egg Hunt at 10am, the children will have the opportunity to choose where the special collection will be

donated. If you would like to make a contribution to the special children’s collection, simply note this on the envelope.

Thank you to all of the regulars in the community who continue to foster a welcoming and prayerful community of faith. Specifically I could not end without thanking Joy Thorbjornsen-Coates for all of the care and time offered to create a worshipful space and providing leadership for the liturgists. I am grateful to Evan Gutierrez in coordinating all of the musicians during Lent and preparing the music. I thank all of the staff at Berry UMC but in a special way, I would like to thank our Children’s Minister, Michelle King, who has created a new Tween Ministry and organized a beautiful intergenerational Palm Sunday service. Finally, I would like to thank Susan Geil who does so much behind the scenes to ensure that all is running smoothly. Together may we take time to praise all of the talents and adore our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. 

May the Great Fifty Days of Easter bring restoration and renewal to Lincoln Square and to Berry Church as we enter into a season of visioning and hope. I invite you to pray for the Church and have written a prayer for our time of visioning:

Spirit of Restlessness,

who offers respite for the weary and life-giving hope:

Awaken in this your gathered faithful people of Berry UMC

Renewed vision in your Holy Spirit and hope for the future ministry

that we may serve the Lincoln Square community with a healing balm

worthy of your grace and splendor,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In peace,

Pastor April