Dear Friends and Members of Ark and Dove,
 
As we step fully into Lent, I hope that your Lenten practices are going well. Last week at the Ash Wednesday service, Pastor Jon asked us to look over two posted lists, one of the things we could give up and one of things we could add to our lives. The idea behind choosing either direction is do something that helps you build your faith and prayer life during this period of getting ready for Easter. Some spiritual guides point out that Lent is roughly a tithe (10%) of the church year, a time to walk the extra mile or go the extra distance on our journey toward the cross of Good Friday and the alleluias of Easter.
 
Speaking of alleluias, there is a custom of burying alleluias during Lent in worship. What does burying your alleluias mean? We don't sing any songs with alleluias in them during Lent, we save them for Easter. SO--we have invited anyone on the church, who would like to create an artful presentation of an alleluia, to bring in their drawing or artwork here by Sunday. On Sunday, we bury them under the worship platform and seal it up until Easter--when we will post our alleluias in the lobby.
 
One more Lenten practice to add to your repertoire.  Because of the study we did last year with the James Company about stewardship at Ark and Dove, we are also praying about stewardship this Lent.  Members of the stewardship team will be contacting members, as well as sending information by mail.  Stewardship season is a time to take stock of the many life-giving ministries in our church and to dream about a faithful future.   Our prayer is that the congregation will increase its giving by 20% during this effort and that all households will pledge to the church. As I said in my sermon this Sunday, the stewardship team and the session are not gaming us. They have looked prayerfully at our financial situation and our future, and the need is truly for 20%. They are not asking for 20% to get to 10%. They have heard the congregation and what we say we want in our church, and they have a faith-based reasonable plan. Be sure to study and pray about the Linking Gratitude and Abundance that is coming to you.
 
Oh, one last thought on Lenten practices. Kelly and I are hosting one of the Lenten books studies at our house on Thursday evenings--soup, salad and prayer. March21, 28, April 4 and 11 at 6:30 to 8:30pm. We have room for five more people. Sign up in church. The book is--Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird, a short, easy read.
 
Peace of Christ,
Pastor Tim
timsstern@gmail.com