Dear friends and fellow disciples,

 We are off and running!

I told you a few weeks ago about our Session Retreat, when we approved a budget and a bunch of job descriptions. After all the work so many put in this fall, we are making a great turn in the nature of our discernment with regard to staff. The Session spent A LOT of time (just ask them!) discussing our staffing model, and you all helped so much. Whether you completed a survey or attended one of the focus groups, hearing from you was invaluable to the Session’s work in this area. Now it’s time to start a different kind of discernment, of seeking those whom God has already called to be partners in ministry with us in the coming season.

Dave Mountain is leading our Business Manager search committee, which has begun advertising the position.  View the job description . Please contact Dave if you know someone who might be a good fit.

The search committee for the Director of Christian Education position, selected by the Nominating Committee, was approved by the Session on February 17. Thanks to Thelma Allen, Michelle Ferguson, Kathe Graves, Collin Phillips, Fritz Simonson, and Mercer Stanfield for serving on this team.

The Nominating Committee will present a slate of proposed members for the two Associate Pastor Nominating Committees (APNCs) at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, March 3. These final three teams (for DCE and both Associate Pastor positions) will gather next month with New Hope Presbytery's Committee on Ministry for an orientation, and then begin their work.

A few more items of note for you:
Lent Begins: Ash Wednesday, March 6
Join us for an evening of fellowship and reflection as we mark the start of Lent:
  • 5:45pm Ash Wednesday Pancake Dinner, Fellowship Hall
  • 6:15pm Ash Wednesday Children's Time, Parlor
  • 7:00pm Ash Wednesday Service with the imposition of ashes, Sanctuary
Please register for dinner by March 4 at noon:
NEW Lenten Learning Opportunities for Families
On the first Sunday of Lent, March 10, families can take home “ Lent in a Bag, ” a resource 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. Children can bring their fish banks to worship on Palm Sunday and march into the Sanctuary with palms fronds held high. On Good Friday, April 19, we will have a "Prayer Walk of the Passion,” an interactive experience for children and families that depicts the story of Holy Week. Contact: Kristina Gilbert
Lenten Study & Sermon Series: The Confession of Belhar
In June 2016, our denomination's 222nd General Assembly took the rare step of approving a recommendation to add a document to our Book of Confessions: The Confession of Belhar . It is a rich and timely theological resource and will be at the heart of our Lenten journey this year.
We will use as a guide the book  Lenten Reflections on The Confession of Belhar , which will be available for purchase ($13 each, please contact Kristina to get yours). At Aperture on Wednesday, March 20, I'll lead a discussion on the Belhar Confession, and we’ll also embark on a sermon series. Scripture will be paired with portions of the Confession, with the goal of enriching our reflections on who God is and who Christ calls us to be.
An Invitation: 2019 Faith Summit on Racism & Child Poverty
I'd like to invite you to join me at the 2019 Faith Summit on Racism & Child Poverty on March 7 , 8:30am-4:00pm, at Union Baptist Church. It's a convening of faith groups and community folks working towards dismantling racism and ending child poverty in Durham. Westminster needs to be at the table for this important conversation. There’s no cost to attend, but a $10 donation is suggested. Meals and child care are provided. Let me know if you’re interested in attending with me.
Looking Ahead to Sunday: On Joseph and Forgiveness
The Rev. Ashley-Anne Masters, the Campus Minister of PCM Raleigh, and who preached back in November, will preach again this Sunday. She'll be preaching from Genesis 45:1-15 , when Joseph and his brothers, long separated, come back together. Joseph, who has every right to be angry, reaches towards his siblings with forgiveness. Take some time to read this text before Sunday, and to think about how you might be gracious to all people in these days of conflict and division.

Peace, friends.