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As February looms, we are well into the New Year. Lent officially begins on February 14th with Ash Wednesday which is also Valentine’s Day this year. Easter will be on April 1st, which is also known as April Fools' Day. What an interesting arrangement of the calendar. I spent some time trying to remember the last time that Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day collided. I couldn't remember this ever happening. After some research, I discovered that the last time this occurred was in 1945, years before my birth. I laugh as I imagine large groups of people waiting for tables in restaurants with dirty foreheads. As for Easter, maybe we could change the Gospel reading on April 1st. When Mary finds the tomb of Jesus empty and then mistakes Jesus for the gardener instead of saying, "Woman, why do you weep?' Jesus could shout, "April Fools!"

Regardless of the oddities of the calendar this year, we will soon be in the season of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, we will have two services at 1:00pm and 7:30pm. Both include communion and the imposition of ashes (the ashes are optional, you may choose not to receive them). Then, each week for the next five Wednesdays, we will have our annual soup supper and program. Soup begins at 6:00pm and the program begins at 7:30pm. More detailed information is included in another section of the newsletter.

Our Bible study will go on hiatus during Lent because of the mid-week program. We are completing our study of Reformation Roots and will be studying some of the shorter books of the Bible to finish out the year, since we will only have a few sessions prior to Lent and then less than eight weeks after Easter before our summer break. During those weeks I hope to consider the letters of Peter and John as well as some of the shorter letters of Paul. If you have time on Wednesdays, think about joining us.

I remember that when I was a teenager in the days before cell phones, personal computers, the internet, digital cameras and all the wonderful things we now have, analysts predicted that radical changes in technology would increase the amount of leisure time for the average person. They were wrong. People are busier today than they were forty years ago, and it might be a result of our advancement in technology. The one truth that has not changed with technology is the simple fact that if want or need to do something we have to make time for it. We must prioritize. I hope that each of you will think about your busy schedules and prioritize to spend some additional time praising God during this Lenten season.

Grace and Peace,