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    Celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord
    SUMC_easterEaster Cross at Sterling United Methodist located on East Church Road. Our Lord, our Master, our Jesus has claimed victory for us! Photo is courtesy of Paula Beltran.
    The Season of Easter is a movable feast. The holiday is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox (one of the two times a year when the day and night are equally as long). This usually occurs on March 21, which means the date of Easter can range between March 22 and April 25 depending on the lunar cycle.

    In the Christian Church year, Easter is far more than a single day of observance. Similar to the Christmas season, Easter is actually a seven-week period of the Church year called Eastertide. This fifty day period, called Pentecost in some traditions, begins at sundown the evening before Easter Sunday (the Easter Vigil) and lasts for six more weeks until Pentecost Sunday. This year’s Eastertide begins April 20, ending on June 8.

    Eastertide is a glorious celebration of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus was raised from the dead three days after his death on the cross. As part of Eastertide, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated on Good Friday, just before Easter. Through His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus gifting for all who believe in Him eternal life. ‘God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17).

    The Season of Easter is the high point of the Christian Church year. Traditionally, worshippers participate in an extended feast wherein the paschal candle is lit at every service as a sign of the risen Christ. Scripture readings highlight every Christian’s connection to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The scripture readings proclaim the power of the resurrection that gives strength in suffering, unity in diversity, consolation in sorrow, perseverance in adversity and faith in times of doubt. On this, the holiest day of the year and for the entire Season of Easter, many Christian's greet each other with the words, “Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!”

    So I urge Believer’s to go out and share the life-changing good news of the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. However, sharing our faith may involve more listening and learning than we might realize. Get to know your local and global neighbors. Bring a friend or coworker to your worship service and fine-tune your ministry of hospitality. Share an Easter prayer like the one that follows with your family and friends.

    But there is more to spreading the good news. Allow for the seven weeks between Easter and Pentecost Sunday to be a time of continued celebration that Christ is risen. Sing Easter hymns and songs on the Sundays following Easter. Display the liturgical colors associated with Easter, white and gold signifying light, victory and eternal life.

    Let the prayers of Easter draw you into the joy. Jesus is with us. Jesus is alive today and when truly believed, that truth changes you forever. The resurrection of Jesus means we have no reason to fear. Jesus has defeated death.

    Holy Week - April 13 - April 19, 2014
    Palm/Passion Sunday: April 13
    Maundy Thursday: April 17
    Good Friday: April 18
    Holy Saturday: April 19*

    *By the second century, Christians established a particular day for the celebration of the resurrection, which was connected to the Jewish Passover. Their observance began at sundown on Saturday evening. They called it the Night of the Great Vigil, a time of remembrance and expectation that lasted throughout the night so they could sing "alleluia" at dawn on Easter morning. It was during the Night of the Great Vigil that new Christians were received into the Church.

    The Season of Easter - April 20 – June 8, 2014
    Easter Sunday: April 20
    Ascension Day: May 29
    Pentecost Sunday: June 8

    Mark P. Gunderman
    Sterling Park, Va.
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    2014 Bible Reading Marathon and National Day of Prayer Seek Volunteers
    brm_night_vigilBible Marathoner reads from Ecclesiastes on night vigil during 2013 Bible Reading Marathon in Leesburg. Ecclesiastes has had a deep influence on Western literature: American novelist Thomas Wolf wrote: “Of all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man’s life upon this earth — and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth.” Photo is courtesy/ Nancy Gunderman
    Our earnest desire is to reveal to our community the powerful Word of God.

    The Body of Christ that is moving boldly in our community as the church congregations network and share resources, acting as seed scatterers, peacemakers, world changers and visionaries. The movement symbolizes one of the dominant, new religious overtones of the 21st Century – a spirit of Christian unity.

    Dear Prayer Warriors and Intercessors:

    If any church, organization or individual is interested in participating in the event planning or event day programs and activities, please contact:

    Gwen Armstrong
    Bible Reading Marathon Coordinator
    Phone: 703-346-6732
    Email:.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Patricia Phillips
    National Day of Prayer Coordinator
    Phone: 703-450-2880
    Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    The Bible Reading Marathon begins at Noon on Saturday April 26th and leads up to the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May, which this year falls on May 1.

    Loudoun Awakening hosts the 7th annual Bible Reading Marathon on the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds in Leesburg. The opening ceremony will begin at noon and include ministry leaders. The Loudoun Awakening tent and podium for the Bible Reading Marathon shall be positioned on North King Street at the north side patio of the Law Library.

    Area pastors are the featured Scripture readers for the first hour. The readings will proceed until midnight each evening and renew at 6:00 AM each morning until Thursday, May 1st, when the marathon concludes at noon, to coordinate with the National Day of Prayer. The BRM is seeking volunteers to participate by signing up in advance to read. Ideally, we would like for each church, synagogue, civic organization, Bible study group, choir, prayer group and youth group to fill an hour block of time by providing four or more readers (15 minutes each). For more information or to sign up to read, visit http://www.loudounawakening.org.

    Bible Reading Marathon Schedule:
    Saturday, April 26th - 12 p.m. (noon) - 12 a.m.
    Sunday, April 27th - 6 a.m. - 12 a.m.
    Monday, April 28th - 6 a.m. - 12 a.m.
    Tuesday, April 29th - 6 a.m. - 12 a.m.
    Wednesday, April 30th - 6 a.m. - 12 a.m.
    Thursday, May 1st - 6 a.m. - 12 p.m. (noon)

    At the conclusion of the Bible Reading Marathon on King Street, Thursday May 1st, walk around the corner to the Leesburg Town Hall and join clergy and elected officials from 12 noon to 1 p.m.for an hour of prayer for our nation at the Leesburg Town Green (weather permitting) 25 West Market Street, Leesburg, VA. The keynote address will be presented by Mr. Ron Doucette, Eastern Regional Director of The Seed Company, a subsidiary of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Elizabeth Smith, Breakthrough Prayer Ministries, will Emcee. The event will honor Mayor Kristen Umstattd and Police Chief Joe Price prayer concerns for the city. Community leaders have been invited to lead prayers for the seven spheres of influence identified as important to restoring our country: Business, Entertainment, Church Education, Family, Government and Media/Communications. Lunch for clergy and elected officials will follow the time of prayer. This is an excellent opportunity to break bread with pastors and community leaders.

    This spontaneous prayer and worship shall be in support of our communities and our nation. Those participating will ask God to change the hearts of the people; for salvations, healings and miracles and for God to reveal His manifest presence among us. Prayer for the city officials and police, schools and principals, community leaders, government workers, the businesses and the families in Loudoun shall also be included.

    The timing of these two events is intentional: reading God’s word is intended to inspire and inform the prayers for our nation. The public reading of the scriptures from 6 am to midnight, Saturday through Thursday is a public proclamation that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3).

    We’re annually reading the Bible publicly, not to draw attention to ourselves, but to draw attention to God and what God says to us in the Bible, which we believe to be His Word.

    Our reading from Psalm 19 says that the Word of God written in the Bible is more desirable than gold, sweeter than honey; it brings joy to the heart, enlightenment to the mind, and new life to the soul.

    People have asked me about the value of a public reading of the Word of God. There is great Old Testament precedent for the recognition in that great book-centered worship service reported in Nehemiah 8:8, “They [the priests] read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave it sense so that the people understood the reading.”

    Our earnest desire is to reveal to our community the powerful Word of God. The Bible’s transforming power is guaranteed. Jesus Christ set the example of how important the Word was to Him and should be to us. When tempted by Satan, Jesus quoted the Word. “Man does not live by bread alone; but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4 and Deuteronomy 8:3.

    In 2013 the Bible was read during the ninety hour event from Genesis to Revelation by two hundred and thirty six (236) people participating in the Bible Reading Marathon during the six day, five night event. Thirty three (33) of these were children, ages five (5) to seventeen (17).

    Fifty (50) churches, one synagogue (Kehilot Sar Shalom) and organizations, Aglow International, Young Life, Patrick Henry College, church youth groups, Pray Leesburg, Pray Purcellville, Pray Sterling, Voices of Worship, Loudoun Burn 24-7, Community Bible Study (Eastern Loudoun) and Intercessors for America (IFA) attended the days and nights of prayer.

    Marathoner's came from the countries of: Turkey, Honduras, Germany, India, Pakistan, El Salvador, Korea, China, and Congo Democratic Republic.

    Languages heard during readings were Turkish, German, Spanish, Tamil (India), Urada (Pakistan), Korean and English.

    The Bible was read through to completion by 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. After 8:20 a.m. the Marathoner's chose their own favorite scripture selections until noon when the Bible reading officially ended.

    The Bible Reading Marathon thank the donors who graciously supported the six day event in 2013:

    Bachrach Photography

    Battery Warehouse

    Freedom Center

    Intercessors for America (IFA)

    Metro Leather Furniture Restoration

    Stockman Title & Escrow

    The Worship Center

    Participating Synagogue
    Kehilot Sar Shalom

    Churches participating in the 2013 Bible Reading Marathon

    Blue Ridge Bible Church
    Capital Church - Vienna
    Catoctin Bible Church
    Cedar Way Purcellville
    Chapel of the Holy Spirit
    Christ Community Church - Ashburn
    Christ Fellowship Church
    Christ the Redeemer Catholic
    Community Lutheran - Sterling
    Church of the Holy Spirit/Anglican Leesburg & Waterford
    Church of God - Hamilton
    Church of our Savior - Oatlands
    Church of Latter Day Saints
    Cornerstone Chapel
    Cornerstone Fellowship
    Crossroads Community
    Elijah Gate/Freedom Center
    Family Worship Center
    Free Life
    Haymarket Baptist
    Heritage Fellowship Church/Reston
    Herndon United Methodist
    B. Cruce de Caminos
    Iglesia Bautista Shalom
    Leesburg Church of Christ
    Leesburg Church of the Nazarene
    Leesburg Church of God
    Leesburg United Methodist
    Life Church/Manassas
    Living Word Church of Jesus Christ
    McLean Bible
    Mt. Pleasant United Methodist/Taylorstown
    Mt. Olivet Church Leesburg
    Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church Lovettsville
    New Life Assembly of God
    Potomac Falls/Anglican
    Purcellville Baptist
    Reston Bible Church
    Salvation Army
    South Riding Anglican
    St. Augustine of Canterbury/Anglican
    St. Francis de Sales Catholic/Purcellville
    St. James Episcopal/Leesburg
    St. John the Apostle/Catholic/Leesburg
    St. Peter’s Episcopal/Purcellville
    St Theresa’s Catholic Church
    United Methodist Church/Berryville
    Winchester Baptist
    The Temple of Healing Waters/Sterling
    The Well/King of Kings/Purcellville
    The Worship Center/Leesburg

    A Final Thought:

    Intercessory prayer is the act of interceding to God on behalf of others. An intercessor is called and gifted to be the go-between, who stands/goes before God to petition on behalf of a person, situation, or need, like the priests of Old Testament.

    A prayer warrior is an intercessor, with a gift to do battle employing a strategic mindset, bringing God’s strategy for victory on to the field of battle with an authority that allows them to identify the appropriate weapon(s) required and the know how to get heaven involved. Prayer warriors may pray for individuals or for an entire city, state, nation or nations.

    Both intercessor and prayer warrior have variations of the Lord’s gifting/mantles based on His grace or desire.
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    12th Annual Prom Wishes Event in Leesburg
    jwclThis year’s event will be held April 5, 2014 in the Teen Center at Rust Library in Leesburg and all teen girls are welcome. During the last 12 years, regardless of the economic situation, JWCL has opened the doors of this event and served over 100 girls each year. Photo is courtesy/ JWCL.
    By Lori Rocker
    JWCL Prom Wishes Chairman
    Special to Community of Faith

    The Junior Woman’s Club of Loudoun (JWCL) is preparing to host its annual Prom Wishes event, held 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 5, 2014, at Rust Library's Teen Center.

    ** ALL TEEN GIRLS WELCOME - COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE **

    Prom Wishes is a boutique for local high school girls who would not otherwise be attending prom, due to the cost of purchasing prom attire. Prior to the event, the club will be collecting new and gently cared for formal dresses, shoes, purses, jewelry and unopened cosmetics. Collected items will be distributed during the Prom Wishes event free of charge to the girls who are planning on attending their high school prom.

    This is the 12th year JWCL has held Prom Wishes—with the struggling economy and record high unemployment rates, the group believes this year more girls than ever will benefit from the event.

    DRESS COLLECTION:

    JWCL collects new and gently used prom dresses and accessories and then makes them available to high school girls in the community at a one-day boutique where girls can select prom attire. JWCL is a 501c3 charity and dress donations are tax deductible (JWCL tax id: 54-6059797). JWCL sincerely appreciates your donation!

    New or gently worn formal dresses, shoes, purses, jewelry, accessories, and un-opened cosmetics may be donated through March 30, 2014 at the following locations:

    Maggie's Closet, 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg (drop off year-round)

    Dulles South Community Center, 24950 Riding Center Dr., South Riding

    Loudoun Valley Community Center, 320 W. School St., Purcellville

    Sterling Community Center, 120 Enterprise St., Sterling

    Claude Moore Recreation Center, 46111 Loudoun Park Ln., Sterling

    Teen Center at Rust Library, 380 Old Waterford R., NW, Leesburg

    South Riding Town Hall, South

    Twelve years ago, one of our members read about a local teen who did not have the money to purchase a dress for prom. That member brought this situation to the club's attention and the event, now known as Prom Wishes, was born. The goal of our event is to aid local girls in making their Prom Wishes come true!

    We have often received questions about why an event like ours is needed in the wealthiest county in the country. Our answer is simple, we want to help girls attend Prom. Over the last 12 years, regardless of the economic situation, we have opened the doors of our event to over 100 girls each year. We are available for all teen girls in the area to come and see if there is a dress, shoes, or accessories that will make her Prom special. This is all made possible through the work of our club and the generosity of our community, which donates the items for our event. We do not request any information regarding financial needs; we offer a service to anyone who is interested. Prom, regardless of a family's financial situation, is an expense that may not be easily absorbed in a budget. We want to help make it more attainable for girls to attend Prom.

    For more information about this event, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit jwcl.org.

    About Junior Woman’s Club of Loudoun


    JWCL is an active group of woman volunteers in Loudoun County, VA who want to make a difference in the community. JWCL members volunteer their time, talents, and resources toward many local, national, and international causes. Besides hosting Prom Wishes, they support March for Babies, Backpack Buddies, the Loudoun Homeless Shelter, the Loudoun Abused Woman's Shelter, and Stop Hunger Now.

    JWCL welcomes all women from Loudoun County to join in their mission to make a difference in the community. This year the theme is Volunteers Make Life Sweet for Others.

    Please consider attending a club meeting to experience JWCL and learn more about this organization. They meet the third Tuesday of every month (August - June) at 7:00 p.m. The meeting location is at the ALLY Advocacy Center, Paxton Campus, 601 Catoctin Circle, NE Leesburg.
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    About the Blogger
    Mark Gunderman writes and solicits articles that reflect the Church ministries and faith-based organizations' spiritual rhythm and follows the seasons of the Church. The Church and its ministries are relevant for news articles all year round, not just during Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Church and the media have many philosophical differences, yet common denominators link them together. Both have a message they want to articulate. An inherent responsibility for both is to communicate successfully.

    "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant to all" (Mark 9:35).