Dear friends and fellow disciples,

 Lent is upon us.
 
Today - Ash Wednesday - we mark the beginning of the 40 days (excluding Sundays) of preparing for Easter. It is a time of searching the heart and the spirit, as we do our best to walk alongside Jesus and the disciples as they headed toward Jerusalem. It was in the Holy City Jesus was welcomed with palms, then was later betrayed, arrested, and killed. The Lenten journey is not for the faint of heart, but for all who seek to the difficult road of discipleship. I challenge you to dig deeply into this season and listen carefully for God's call for you. 

Join us tonight for an evening of fellowship, reflection, and preparation. We’ll gather for a pancake dinner at 5:45pm and settle in for worship at 7:00pm with the imposition of ashes. In between, at 6:15pm, we’ll have some time for children and families to talk about Lent together.
 
As we’ve shared, much of our Lenten reflection will be focused around " The Confession of Belhar .” Written in 1986 but added to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s  Book of Confessions  in 2016, it helps us see how the church has offered faithful proclamation in complex times – in this instance, in Apartheid-era South Africa – but also points us to ways we might follow Jesus today.  
 
We will also learn about Lenten imagery in art, and offer new opportunities to connect kids, youth, and families to all that God has for us in this beautiful but rocky season. We’ll also claim the rhythm of Lent through some regular practices in our worship and in prayer life. A few details:
Study Guide for "The Confession of Belhar"
As we learn together in worship, we recommend as a guide the book  Lenten Reflections on The Confession of Belhar  ($13 each, please contact Kristina Gilbert to get yours). At  Aperture on Wednesday, March 20 , join me for a   discussion on the Belhar Confession. This book will be a crucial guide to the season.
Friday Morning Prayer 
The Congregational Care Committee invites you to pray with them on Fridays at 7:00am, throughout Lent. Wherever you are, set aside a few minutes to pray for those you know and love, as well as the needs of the world. A listing of WPC Prayer Concerns & Celebrations is provided on the Announcements insert each Sunday.  
NEW Lent in a Bag
This Sunday, we invite families to pick up “Lent in a Bag.” It’s full of activities to do at home, calendar suggestions for counting down the days to Easter, and our annual One Great Hour of Sharing fish banks. There’s good stuff there for teens and adults, as well.
Lenten Imagery in Modern & Contemporary Art
Join us on Wednesday, April 3, at 6:30pm as Ruth Caccavale leads us in a discussion of Lenten influences on art in these modern times. Some of you may remember a few years ago the class Ruth taught, along with Monica Rossman, on the music and art of Holy Week. Ruth is a gifted teacher, and you won't want to miss this!
Next Saturday: Soccer Family Fun Day
Because fellowship is important in any season...let's meet at Forest Hills Park on Saturday, March 16, 3:00-5:00pm , for some pick-up soccer. Our first-ever Soccer Family Fun Day is sponsored by the CYCE Committee and a terrific way to get to know folks a little better, get some great exercise, and have fun! Sign up today at  http://bit.ly/WPCsoccerday .
Looking to Sunday: Daylight Savings Time
This is the weekend that we "spring forward" into Daylight Savings Time. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night...and observe a moment of silence for that lost hour of sleep, precious sleep. 
There are multiple tools available to you to guide your Lenten reflection. But all of them move towards the same goal - that we might be a people who listen so carefully for who God is calling us to be. And that we might act, in courage and with hope. I look forward to sharing the journey.