Lent Already?

Lent Already?
It’s true.  Lent begins February 6th this year.  If you think that’s early, you’re right!  Blame Easter.  Lent is observed during the 40 days before Easter and Easter is on March 23rd this year!  The next time Easter will come this early is in the year 2160!  Why is Easter so early?  Blame the moon!  Here’s how the date of Easter is explained in our hymnal.  “Easter Day is always the Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox on March 21.”  This year, the full moon occurs exactly on March 21.  The next Sunday is March 23, so… He is risen!

Lenten Opportunity
Lent has snuck up on us all this year, and perhaps this is exactly what we need: Lent.  Lent is a time of self-reflection in preparation for the observance of Jesus’ death and our celebration of his resurrection.  Many people give things up for Lent as a constant reminder to be diligent in their spiritual life.  Other people have family or individual devotions which help them to reflect on their lives as Christians.  Here at Bethel we will have Lenten Midweek services to help us do the same.

“Refocus: Live your faith”
The title of our Lenten Midweek series is “Refocus: Live your faith” and we’ll be focusing upon Galatians 5:22-23.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  Take time on these Wednesdays to refocus your life around Christ.  These services will provide a soothing, calm and contemplative time where you can get in touch with the God who saved you so that you can shape your life around Him.  Refocus.

New Members
God has blessed our congregation with many new families and individuals who will be joining our church family as members this month.  Some come to us as lifelong Lutherans.  Others are quite new to faith in Jesus.  All are maturing disciples of Jesus who are joining this community of disciples so that together we can make disciples for Jesus in our church, neighborhood and world.  Greet them as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ on Feb. 17th when they will be publicly received into membership.  Oh, and bring a hotdish!  We’ll be celebrating with a potluck after Sunday School.

Liberian Mission Start
God has blessed us by allowing many people from Liberia to worship with us for a number of years.  God has also blessed us with an individual who will be undergoing a process to become their pastor.  Lusienie Fofana has been under my mentorship for a year and a half, and has decided to enroll in the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT), a distance education seminary track toward ordination.

Our District President, Dr. Seitz came and spoke with our Leadership Team regarding this wonderful opportunity on Jan. 17th.  In order for Lusienie to have this opportunity Bethel needs to assure the District that Lusienie will have a Pastoral Call (part or full time) once he has completed the program and that we will assist Lusienie with one third of the cost of the three year program (less than we pay for one CLS student per year).  We will have an informational meeting on Feb. 3rd after the service to explain it to you more fully and a congregational meeting on Feb. 10th to vote whether to support this venture.

In the meantime, Lusienie will be undergoing a process to become a licensed Deacon of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.  Once he has achieved this, we plan to begin a Liberian worship service under his leadership at Bethel.  If God blesses it, we may have a Liberian congregation grow and blossom right here at Bethel.  Praise God!!!

Pastor Seabaugh

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