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Faith Blog

Features local churches’ and synagogues’ news, spiritual leaders and special events.

Registration open for summer camps at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

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Summer is coming and Johnson Ferry Baptist Church has camps and activities available for children. With 28 options to choose from, there is something for every age and interest. Offerings include sports, worship, arts and general “kids fun” activities. Camp listings, details and registration can be found at johnsonferry.org

 

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An Earth Day Prayer

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An Earth Day Prayer

Let us pray for: trees, plants, crops, and forests.
Let us pray for: water, oceans, rivers, streams and ponds.
Let us pray for: air, wind, climate and weather.
Let us pray for: sun, clean energy and prevention of global warning.
Let us pray for: animals, especially endangered species.
Let us pray for: humankind.
Let us pray for: recycling and moderate personal consumption.
Let us pray for: proper use of chemicals and disposal of toxic waste.
Let us pray for: Earth and unity.

“God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to
do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6: 8

Creator God, we thank you for all of creation. We ask Your forgiveness where we have
failed to be just stewards. And we now ask for Your guidance in restoring the face of the
earth. May we learn to live in harmony, safety and just sharing of resources among all
so that we achieve the kingdom of God.

The Earth is bountiful, but it’s hurting. Have you written a prayer for the Earth that soothes you when all the environmental news is frightening? Or one that helps you remember to be grateful for all the blessings we still have? Please consider sharing it here with others.

 

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Got church news?

St. Peter and St. Paul.

To have your religious organization’s events included in the EAST COBBER please send details to editor@eastcobber.com

 

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A Tale of Two Easters

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Why one faith and two celebrations?

Easter is not only a movable holiday but a multiple one: in most years Western Christian churches and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on different dates. In 2009, for example, Easter was celebrated on April 12 by Western churches and April 19 by Orthodox churches. But in 2014, the two celebrations occur on the same date, April 20.

The theological inconsistency of two Easters has remained a thorny problem for the Christian Church. “It has long been recognized that to celebrate this fundamental aspect of the Christian faith on different dates,” states the World Council of Churches, “gives a divided witness and compromises the churches’ credibility and effectiveness in bringing the Gospel to the world.”

A Simple Formula, Complicated Interpretations

The formula for Easter—”The first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox”—is identical for both Western and Orthodox Easters, but the churches base the dates on different calendars: Western churches use the Gregorian calendar, the standard calendar for much of the world, and Orthodox churches use the older, Julian calendar.

That much is straightforward. But actually calculating these dates involves a bewildering array of ecclesiastical moons and paschal full moons, the astronomical equinox, and the fixed equinox— and that’s in addition to the two different calendar systems.

When Is a Full Moon Full?

The two churches vary on the definition of the vernal equinox and the full moon. The Eastern Church sets the date of Easter according to the actual, astronomical full moon and the actual equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem, site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Relation to Passover

The Eastern Orthodox Church also applies the formula so that Easter always falls after Passover, since the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ took place after he entered Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. In the Western Church, Easter sometimes precedes Passover by weeks.

Why One Faith and Two Easters?

Eastern Orthodox Holidays

The Western church does not use the actual, or astronomically correct date for the vernal equinox, but a fixed date (March 21). And by full moon it does not mean the astronomical full moon but the “ecclesiastical moon,” which is based on tables created by the church. These constructs allow the date of Easter to be calculated in advance rather than determined by actual astronomical observances, which are naturally less predictable.

This division between the Eastern and Western Churches has no strong theological basis, but neither is it simply a technical skirmish. As the World Council of Churches has noted, much of Orthodox Christianity is located in the Middle East, where it has frequently been the minority religion, and in Eastern Europe, where until recently it faced hostility from communist governments.

The emphasis on honoring tradition and maintaining an intact religious identity was therefore crucial. Seen in this context, changing the rules governing its most important religious holiday chisels away at the foundations of an already beleaguered religious heritage.

Reconciling East and West

A meeting organized by the Council of World Churches (in Aleppo, Syria, March 5–10, 1997) proposed a solution thought to be favorable to both East and West: both methods of calculating the equinox and the paschal full moon would be replaced with the most advanced astronomically accurate calculations available, using the meridian of Jerusalem as the point of measure. Since that meeting, however, no further progress has been made and the problem remains.

Pinning Down A Movable Holiday

Since the beginning of the 20th century, a proposal to change Easter to a fixed holiday rather than a movable one has been widely circulated, and in 1963 the Second Vatican Council agreed, provided a consensus could be reached among Christian churches. The second Sunday in April has been suggested as the most likely date.

Reprinted from http://www.factmonster.com/spot/easter1.html.

An Easter Prayer

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God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today raise us up
and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Happy Easter East Cobbers. Are you celebrating with family or friends this weekend? Click “Chime In” to comment on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!


Sophia Academy becomes Catholic, adds to High School

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In November, Archbishop Wilton Gregory conveyed that “It is with great happiness and gratitude that I express congratulations to Sophia Academy.  It is official that I recognize Sophia Academy as an independent school in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.”

Sophia Academy’s High School was established in 2012. They will begin their first 11th grade this fall, 2014. Since the beginning, students have been involved in choosing uniforms, program offerings, and coursework for the future.

Although the high school is young, this is a unique time to define and develop an exceptional educational experience that includes athletics, fine arts, leadership opportunities and community service. As a Marist school, Sophia Academy provides personalized education tailored to meet student needs and instilling in each a quest for excellence.  The preK through High School experience highlights small classes and highly trained teachers using the Orton-Gillingham approach. The SAIS/SACS accreditation team reports that “the school offers a range of opportunities rare in a school its size.”

“We are so blessed to be part of the Catholic schools in Atlanta and to provide a continuum of schooling to go through twelfth grade.  With a reputation for excellence in academics, extracurriculars and forming the whole child in the image of Christ, this strong alliance will help us become even stronger.  We look forward to serving more students who want to be known and valued and taught in the way they learn best. We’re celebrating 15 years of success and an exciting future of educating more students. Come celebrate with us,” said Founding Director Marie Corrigan.

Ninety percent of Sophia Academy students master their personalized goals, and 80% participate in extracurriculars. Sophia Academy is located at 2880 Dresden Drive, Atlanta, GA 30341. For more information call 404-303-8722 or visit www.sophiaacademy.org.

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Hit the bunny trail – Last Chance for Easter Egg Hunts

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The Easter egg hunt is a combination of Christian and spring celebrations and is a popular tradition throughout the United States, and especially East Cobb County. Be sure to bring your Easter basket to collect the eggs. Here’s a short list of some local egg hunts for you to enjoy.

 

April 19: 9-10:30am
Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church
4385 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta
770-971-2880 • www.mtbethel.org
Reservations required for this hunt. The Egg Hunt is for ages 2 through 2nd grade. There will also be a Petting Zoo, the Easter Bunny.

April 19: 12-2pm
East Cobb United Methodist Church
2325 Roswell Road, Marietta
770-971-3643 • www.eastcobbumc.org
April 19: 10:30am– 1pm

Eastside Baptist Church
2450 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta
770-971-2323 • www.ebcfamily.org

April 19: 10am – 2pm
Jim Miller Park
2245 Callaway Road, Marietta • 770-528-8875
www.marietta.com/marietta-easter-egg-hunt
Easter egg hunt, art activities, inflatables, live entertainment, concessions, visits with the Easter Bunny and the Mad Hatter Contest.

April 19: 10am–12pm
Mountain View United Methodist Church
2300 Jamerson Road, Marietta
770-928-0050 • www.mvumc.org
Free pancake breakfast preceding hunt.

April 19: 10am-3pm
Northeast Cobb Community Egg Drop
Sprayberry High School
2525 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta
770-423-1330 • todmiller@jrmmanagement.com

April 19: 1pm
Sandy Plains Baptist Church
2825 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta
770-971-8525 • www.sandyplains.org

April 19: 9:00am
St. Andrew United Methodist
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and egg hunt
$5/Adult, $2.50/Children (2-11)
3455 Canton Rd, Marietta
770-926-3488 • www.thepumpkinchurch.org

April 20: 10:00-10:30am
Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
2799 Holly Springs Road, Marietta
770-578-1533 • www.emersonuu.org.

 

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A Tax Day Prayer

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On this day of internal revenue
some of us are paid up,
some of us owe,
some of us await a refund,
some of us have no income to tax.

But all of us are taxed,
by war,
by violence,
by anxiety,
by deathliness.

And Caesar never gives any deep tax relief.

We render to Caesar . . .
to some it feels like a grab,
to some it is clearly a war tax,
to some – some few –
it is a way to contribute to the common good.

In any case we are haunted
by what we render to Caesar,
by what we might render to you,
by the way we invest our wealth and our lives,
when what you ask is an “easy yoke”:
to do justice
to love mercy
to walk humbly with you.

Give us courage for your easy burden, so to live untaxed lives. Amen.

From Walter Brueggemann’s Prayers for a Privileged People (Abingdon, 2008)

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Passover begins April 14th. What’s on your Seder menu?

Each Passover, Jews worldwide take part in a special feast called the Passover Seder. The Passover Seder is the most widely observed Jewish practice today.

How is a Passover Seder conducted?

At the Seder table, a special book called the Passover Haggadah is read out loud. The Haggadah includes the story of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt as well as Seder rituals and traditions.

When does a Passover Seder take place?

The Seder is held on the first two nights of the holiday in the Diaspora, but only on the first night of Passover in Israel.

What is eaten at a Passover Seder?

After the reading of the Haggadah, a festive kosher-for-Passover meal is eaten. The following is a traditional Ashkenazic Seder menu with links to recipes.

(Source: About.com)

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Do you have a favorite Passover recipe? Click “Chime In” to comment on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!


Community Coffee House: Fun for the whole family

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Make plans to attend Community Coffee House, hosted by East Cobb United Methodist Church.

This family-friendly concert featuring Ron Hipp and Carol Statella’s acoustic folk music will be Saturday, May 3-7:30 -9:30pm in the church’s Activities Building at 2325 Roswell Rd. in East Cobb. Tickets ($12 each, $25 per family, plus small fee) may be purchased in advance at https://bpt.me/630065, coffee and dessert included.

Please contact bobbonstein@bellsouth.net for more info, and learn more about the performers at www.outoftherainmusic.net.

 

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