As I prepared this month’s column, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that this year
celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering.
Amazing! I can remember putting together my first OGHS fish bank in 1950, when I was
four. All the Sunday School classes at Wilshire Crest Presbyterian Church participated
in the offering. I pestered my folks endlessly for their loose change with which I could
fill my bank. There was always a contest to see which grade
could raise the most money, thus putting great pressure on
our families. Especially on those with multiple kids in
Sunday School! Unlike today, change in the 1950’s had a lot
of purchasing power – it wasn’t randomly disposed of. It
took work to fill a bank!
I didn’t realize until much later that our little banks signified the start of Lent, as well.
Until Vatican II, Protestants didn’t really celebrate Lent as a significant part of the
Liturgical Year. I always just assumed it was a “Catholic” thing when I was growing up.
My Catholic friends were always talking about “giving-up” something for Lent. It made
me glad that, as a Presbyterian, I didn’t have to worry about that kind of thing. Deep
down, though, I was always just a little bit jealous that they got to put ashes on their
foreheads and we didn’t. So much for ecumenism!
Norman Shawchuck writes: “The season of Lent is like a roller coaster ride with
emotions that are down and up again and again as the story of our salvation makes
plain our sinful ways and the cost of our redemption. We begin with Ash Wednesday
where we roughly bump up against our own mortality. Here we know that sin and death
are real, and they are real not just for someone else. Sin and death are real for us. . . . If
we did not know how the story ends, this would be a dark and depressing journey. But
we do know how the story ends, and therefore, in the midst of austerity and fasting, we
remember our faithful Savior and the Easter declara-
tion that life is always victorious over death, always!”
With that in mind then, I invite you to join me as we
embark, together, on our Journey to Jerusalem. As
Sawchuck warns, it is a roller coaster of a ride! As many
years as I’ve gone on this journey, it never ceases to
amaze and delight me. Each year, I learn more about
myself and the One who calls me to follow him on The Way. The Season of Lent is the
ultimate spiritual discipline. But you know what? This year, in honor of the 70th Anni-
versary of the OGHS offering, I’m going to put together one of the fish banks and fill it to
the brim with coins. I know the counters will love me for it!
Grace & Peace, Kent
Mark your calendars now and join us for our three Annual Lenten Dinners. The first one will be held on Ash Wednesday, March 6, at 6pm in Donegal Hall. The main course will be lasagna. Following dinner, at 7pm, we will hold our traditional “Service of Ashes” and celebrate the Lord’s Supper in Donegal Hall to inaugurate this year’s Lenten Journey to Jerusalem. Our second Lenten Dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 27, at 6pm in Donegal Hall. The Boy Scouts will be preparing our meal for us. Following dinner, we will celebrate Evensong with the singing of hymns, the reading of Scripture, and a brief Homily. We will be finished by 7:30pm. Our third and final Lenten Dinner of the season will be held on Maundy Thursday, April 18. We will begin the evening at 6pm in Donegal Hall with a ham loaf dinner prepared by the Presbyterian Women. Following dinner at 7pm, we will hold our Maundy Thursday service of worship. This year, the Rev. Dr. Erin Cox-Holmes, the Executive Presbyter of Donegal Presbytery, will deliver the message. The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated. It is requested that those in attendance bring either a salad, vegetable, or dessert to share that will serve eight. We look forward to your attendance with us as we join in a time of food, fellowship, and spiritual renewal.
Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple: Our 2019 Lenten Study will be Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple, by Adam Hamilton. Simon Peter left everything to follow his teacher and possessed a passion that would change the world. He was poor, uneducated, quick-tempered, and full of doubts and fears. Can this be the same man? That’s the point of this study. Peter was just an ordinary guy who heard and followed God’s extraordinary call. Join us on Wednesday mornings at 10am in the Memorial Parlor beginning on March 13. The study is both video and print based. Copies of Adam Hamilton’s new book will be available on Sunday morning starting March 3. See Rev. Holmes for your copy! Plan to join us for this journey into the life and ministry of Simon Peter.
Awakening to God’s Beauty: Awakening to God’s Beauty is the Presbyterians Today 2019 Lenten Devotional. Each Sunday, we’ll be invited to practice the spiritual discipline of visio divina, which means “divine seeing.” To do so, we’ll view and meditate upon the beautiful photographs of Krin Van Tatenhove, author and photographer. During the week, our journey to Easter continues with reflections on God’s handiwork and beauty as told in the Psalms and reflected upon by Krin Van Tatenhove. Copies of Awakening to God’s Beauty will be made available to all family units and individual members of the Bethany congregation. They will be available on Sunday morning from our ushers or during the week on the tables in the Narthex and the Welcome Center. This will be a wonder-filled opportunity for our faith community to journey to Jerusalem together!
It may be twenty or thirty degrees outside, but Spring is coming, and with that comes the Bethany Women’s Association Spring Basement Sale on Saturday May 11 from 8am 12pm. So clean out those closets, the garage, basement, and hidden cubby holes, and bring your donations to Bethany. Christmas de cor may also be brought for the November sale. New this year, Clothing will not be accepted! As we all are aware, the Women’s Association has used their basement sale proceeds to beautify our church building. From the parlor overhaul to the kitchen color refreshing, to the restrooms, we all have benefited greatly, and owe them a huge thank you. If you have any sale questions, please contact Pat Rineer.
Join us for “Wednesdays-at-Ten,” our weekly Adult Christian Education experience. “Wednesdays-at-Ten” is an opportunity for an “in-depth” look at the Scriptures, the church and society, and our own faith development. There is plenty of time for discussion, interaction, and spiritual development. It’s a great way to interact with other “seekers,” as well. We are currently using “The Wired Word,” an exciting look at how our faith and beliefs interact with issues which are “ripped” from the weekly headlines. Plan to join us on our journey as God creates ways for us to grow spiritually and faithfully. We meet in the Parlor, and copies of the weekly material are available in the Narthex on Sunday mornings.