Sunday, March 18 - Fifth Sunday in Lent, 10:00 am.  Festival Chorus Sunday! We welcome one of the traditional highlights of Lent at FCC - the annual Lenten Music Festival. This year, the Festival Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Barbara Thomson, will bless us with a performance of Haydn’s, Lord Nelson Mass.

This famous work will feature noted operatic soloists Meredith Hoffmann-Thomson, soprano; Kathryn Krasovec, mezzo-soprano; Ronald Naldi, tenor; and Arthur Woodley, baritone. The soloists and Festival Chorus will be accompanied by trumpets, timpani, and organ.

Haydn was a prolific composer, writing primarily for his patrons, the powerful Princes of Esterházy. The most popular of Haydn’s masses, the “Lord Nelson Mass” is one of six masses written to commemorate the name-day of Prince Nikolaus II’s wife, Princess Maria Hermenegild. 

Subtitled “Missa in Augustiis,” or “Mass in Troubled Times,” this third mass was composed in 1798, when Europe was in the throes of war with Napoleon, and the political climate was very unsettled.

The “Lord Nelson Mass” got its nickname when Nelson, shortly after his stunning victory over Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile, attended a performance of the work as a guest at the Prince’s estate.  It was immediately praised by the British naval hero and has been an important part of the choral repertoire ever since.

This performance will be directed from the organ by the church’s Music Director, Dr. Barbara Thomson.  All are welcome. Don't miss this powerful and inspiring time of worship. Click here to view the Program Notes.

Sunday, March 25Palm Sunday, 10:00 am.  Holy Week begins with our annual commemoration of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem for the Passover festival. All children are invited to participate in processing through the Sanctuary with palm branches during the opening of our Worship time this day. We will also be blessed to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism on this day! Stay for the Annual Cake Auction immediately following the service. Proceeds benefit the Church School’s Heifer Project for Heifer International.

Thursday, March 29 - Maundy Thursday, 7:30 pm in the Sanctuary.   Our Holy Week remembrances continue with a recounting of the Last Supper and the following hours of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion through a moving candlelight vigil of Scripture, hymns, anthems and Dramatic Reflection.

Friday, March 30 - Good Friday, 7:30 pm in Patton Auditorium.  Join us as we move through the time between Jesus’ death and Resurrection in Scripture, hymn, prayer and Dramatic Reflection.

Sunday, April 1 - Easter, 9 and 11 am in the Sanctuary. We renew our faith and trust in the power of God’s life-giving and affirming ways over the ways of death with two Worship celebrations of Scripture, Message, and soul-stirring, spirit-filled choir and instrumental music.

“Last Days of Jesus”
Mondays: March 12 and 19, 7:30-9:00 pm in Patton Auditorium
Over the course of these two Monday evenings, we will view and discuss the 2017 PBS film “Last Days of Jesus”. Based on new interpretations of historical events in Rome from that time, the film explores how dramatic political events there could have played a crucial role in shaping Jesus’ destiny.

“Prayer and Meditation”
Tuesday, April 10, 7:30-8:30 pm in the Sanctuary

Members, friends and guests are welcome to a time of sharing in prayer and meditative practices. These sessions also include time for participants to offer their own prayer intentions.

“Four Accounts of Jesus' Resurrection”
Tuesdays, February 20 and 27; March 6, and 20, 7:30-8:30 pm in Chapel Lounge

Jesus’ burial and resurrection are found in all four of the Gospels as well as the letters of Paul. All of them affirm His resurrection, but differ in various ways. What do Christians believe about the differences, and what do we mean when we affirm that Jesus rose from the dead? We will examine the diversity of the accounts and discuss what it means for our own Lenten journey and Easter celebrations.

THE OPERA IS BACK!! This year's annual outing to the Metropolitan Opera will be on Monday, April 30, with attendance at one of my all-time favorite operas, Puccini's Tosca. The all-star cast is headed by the fabulous Anna Netrebko, one of the most famous sopranos of our time. Combine her voice and star quality with Puccini's gorgeous melodies, and you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience! We will meet at a restaurant in New York for dinner at 5:30, then walk over to Lincoln Center for the 7:30 performance. The running time of the opera, including intermissions, is just under 3 hours, so we will be out by 10:30. As always, I suggest you buy your own tickets on the Met's website, Metopera.org., so you can pick tickets that suit your budget. I have checked and see that it is selling out quickly, so if you want to go, make a commitment now and buy the tickets ASAP before they're all gone. Let me know if you are planning to attend – Bctbct@aol.com. I can't wait to see this one!
Barbara Thomson

Calling Interested Adults To Sign Up For The Spring 2018 FCC Adult Retreat! Another exciting Adult Retreat is in the works, and we are encouraging anyone who is interested to sign up now and reserve your spot. We identified a new facility this year to accommodate a larger group, and we are excited to be back in Ocean Grove in what looks to be a beautiful retreat facility, located only a few blocks from the beach.
Retreat Theme: Christian Soup – What do we Gather from our Spiritual Garden?
Dates: Friday, April 27 (evening) - Saturday, April 28 (late afternoon
) 2018
Location: Grove Hall Christian Conference & Retreat Center, Ocean Grove, NJ https://www.oceangrove.org/grove-hall
Who: Open to FCC adults of all ages, friends, and family members
Cost: Cost is $150 per person $50 deposit is requested to reserve your spot by Feb 15. Rooms can accommodate 1 or 2 people, depending on your need/interest.
Feedback on previous years’ retreats has been very positive, and those who attend typically feel very enlightened, relaxed, and refreshed afterwards. This is a great opportunity to step away from your daily routine and spend some quality time with others from our FCC community. The schedule will be flexible, and you can participate in as much or little of the structured program as you wish. The activities are being designed around the theme of “Christian Soup – What do we Gather From our Spiritual Garden?” Come join us for good music, activities, reflections, food, and worship. Sign up by contacting Ruth Indelicato at ruth566@live.com or Lyn Kelman at lynkelman@gmail.com . We look forward to seeing you there!        The FCC Adult Retreat Planning Team