Over these last days I have enjoyed reading the Lenten Devotionals written by members of our congregation. I look forward to reading these each day and having them as a part of my Lenten discipline of intentionally connecting with God. I am grateful for everyone who was involved in putting these together and I am grateful for those of you who took time to write and to share a bit of your story. If you have one of these sitting around the house, but haven’t been reading it daily, I invite you to make it a practice over these next weeks.
I also want to encourage you in whatever practice you have adopted for Lent. Whether you are fasting from something or have adopted an additional spiritual discipline for the season, I know it can be hard to adopt a new pattern into the routine of a busy life. I encourage you to be patient with yourself, to remain connected to God in prayer, and to look for support in community by talking with others about what you’re doing and how it is going.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of another Downtown Connection Week! Between March 11th and 18th you are invited to make an intentional effort to visit downtown shops or restaurants to show our church’s support for the downtown community. In your bulletin on Sunday there will be a special postcard you’re invited to give to proprietors of the business to let them know we appreciate all they do for our community. The card has room for a brief note of encouragement or appreciation. As you shop and eat downtown through this next week you are invited to wear First Church apparel and to take photographs of you and your friends that can be posted to social media, sent to Jayna McFarland, our Publications Coordinator, or uploaded to our Google Photo album. When you post to social media, be sure to use our hashtag: #forthegoodofthecity. These pictures will help tell the story of these simple acts we do for the good of the city.
This weekend in worship we continue our “Encounters on the Road” series with an exploration of the story of the Good Samaritan. We are also welcoming new members at 8:15, presenting 3rd graders with Bibles at 9:30, and celebrating a couple of baptisms at 11:00. It is sure to be a great morning of worship! (Don’t forget you’ll need to spring forward on Saturday evening to be sure to make it to worship on time).
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you Sunday for worship!
Growing up as a youth in the Kansas East Conference of the United Methodist Church, Senior High Institute at Baker University was a significant part of my faith formation and my call to ministry. As my years as a camper came to a close, I remember thinking, “When I am a pastor, I hope I can be supportive of and involved with this program that has meant so much to me.” I recently received and have accepted an invitation to serve as the Spiritual Life Coordinator at Institute this summer and am looking forward to a week at camp!
If you are not familiar with it, Institute is a faith formation experience for students who are entering their freshman year of high school through their freshman year of college. It is held on the campus of Baker University. This year it will be the week of July 17th – 22nd. I invite any students of that age from Topeka First UMC to consider joining me this summer – it would be great to have a group from our church there! You can learn more about camp and registration here. If you’re interested in attending, but would need financial assistance, we can have some conversation about ways in which they church can help. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, the season of reflection and preparation prior to Easter. We will be marking Ash Wednesday with two worship opportunities.
- First of all, from 12 p.m.-1 p.m. the chapel will be open for a time of guided prayer and reflection. You can come and go as you are able during that hour. Communion and the imposition of ashes will both be offered.
- That evening, at 5:30 p.m., we will hold a brief time of worship in the Chapel. This service will include a brief Ash Wednesday reflection as well as communion and the imposition of ashes.
I invite you to consider coming to one of these opportunities as a way of preparing for the season of Lent, and ultimately, this year’s celebration of Easter.
This Sunday in Worship we will talk about the story of Jesus’ transfiguration from Matthew 17:1-9. It is one of my favorite stories, as I think it so profoundly illustrates a piece of our human nature when it comes to relating to God and the world around us.
I hope you have a great weekend and look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday!