News Release
On Saturday, April 29, the Second Congregational Church of Norway will host the Pihcintu Multinational Children’s Chorus of Portland for a fundraising concert.  The chorus, directed by Con Fullam, is comprised of young women from Cambodia, China, Congo, El Salvador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Viet Nam, British West Indies, and Zambia, along with children whose families have lived here for generations. Through the healing power of music, the chorus offers these immigrant children an opportunity to help restart their lives.  They have been warmly welcomed in many communities in Maine and have performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra.  They also have received national recognition, performing on the Today Show and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for World Refugee Day.  Their name Pichintu comes from the Passamaquoddy word meaning “when she sings, her voice carries far.”
The concert will be held in the church sanctuary at 205 Main St., Norway.  Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 3:00 p.m.  There will be a reception following the performance when the audience can meet members of the chorus. The suggested donation is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students.  Proceeds from the concert will be shared with the chorus and the church’s fund to aid local mission work. Tickets are available at the church office, 207-743-2290, or Books N Things, Main St. Norway.  

It’s spring!  I think… I mean, it’s supposed to be spring, right?  The spring equinox has come and gone, and the days are technically getting longer…but, alas, I look outside and all I see is dirty snow, with more in the forecast (which will at least make it look like clean snow for a day or two).  March can be the hardest month.  We are weary of winter.  We have had enough of cold and flu season.  The novelty of snow days wore off about two months ago.  We have already started to dream about lobster bakes and sandals and days on the lake.  Easter is coming right up, with the promise of new life, and yet, I have yet to see even one crocus or bud on a tree.  I’ll be honest; Lent is not my favorite season.  Most years I really feel like I am walking in the wilderness with Jesus through Lent.  And maybe that’s a good thing—maybe that’s what we are supposed to be doing—but honestly, it’s not all that enjoyable.  And so, I look forward to April, to Easter, to new life, new hope, new beginnings, and I know that all this trudging through the dirty snow of Lent will mean something.  
A few weeks ago, at my monthly UCC clergy group meeting, some colleagues in the York Association shared that their churches have partnered with other churches to support several refugee families who have recently moved to Maine.  One family, who came from Africa, had lived in a refugee camp for 20 years.  Can you imagine??  All of their children had been born in the camp, and have never known anything else. They got to Maine in January with flip flops their only footwear.  Thankfully, these churches have banded together, across denominational lines, to live out the Gospel of welcoming outsiders and caring for their neighbors.  This story embodies for me the hope and promise of Easter.  The political climate in our country and around the world continues to be confusing, concerning, and often frustrating for those of us who are just average citizens, but we are not powerless.  We can give winter boots to a child who has never seen snow before, or feed our hungry neighbors, or simply work on educating ourselves about what is going on in the world and what life is like for those who are different from us.  The Easter bunny will visit our home soon, and among the candy eggs and new socks and stuffed animals, she will also bring several picture books about Islam, and about the refugee experience, because now, more than ever, it is important for us to remind ourselves and our children of the ways in which we are the same, even as we celebrate our differences.  We are all children of God, and God so loved the world—the WHOLE world—that God sent Jesus to teach us about that love.  As we move into the season of Easter, I pray we can celebrate that Good News joyfully and fully, and spread it around!
April promises to be a busy and wonderful month at Second Congregational.  The Children’s Theater group will delight us with their performance on the 8th.  Holy Week services include Maundy Thursday soup supper and worship (Supper at 5:30, worship at 6), the Good Friday Cross Walk with other local churches, Easter Fest on Saturday, where we will have a booth in the park across from the library, and two services on Easter Sunday, one at sunrise with the folks from First Congregational, and then our service at 10, where the children will help us release the Alleluias and find our joy!  At the end of the month, on the 29th, we will host the wonderful Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus, welcoming girls from all around the world to share their music and their message of peace with our community.  I hope you will invite your friends and neighbors to join us at any (and all!) of these events.
I hope these last weeks of Lent and first weeks of Easter find us all filled with hope—for ourselves, for our church, and for our world—and confident in the knowledge that spring will, indeed, come.  Perhaps sooner than we think!  Blessings, Rev. Cordelia

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