First Congregational Church

a United Church of Christ congregation

March 2014

From the Pastor's Study

As I write this article I’m sitting in my motel room somewhere in Indiana as I journey from Nebraska where I attended the funeral of my only sister, Ono Lee.  The whole process of death and burial gave me time to reflect on what it is that we Christians actually believe about life after death. I am comforted in knowing that at some point in time my sister and I will reunite and have an eternity to spend together.  And so in reflecting on that promised resurrection I reminded myself that Lent is at hand.

Believe it or not Lent begins this next Wednesday, March 7 with an Ash Wednesday service including administration of ashes and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  Lent is a period of forty days beginning with Ash Wednesday and concluding with Easter.  The forty days do not include Sundays.  For us, in the Protestant church, it is a time of preparation as we get ready for the great celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.  Because of our preparing, the church and the ecumenical community begin to get busy.  There are extra services and times of study as we prepare for that great and glorious day!  In order that you not miss out on what is happening I’ve listed below many of the Lenten happenings.

Ash Wednesday Service - Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. in our Sanctuary.

Each Wednesday at noon there will be a Lenten Lunch lasting about one hour, and that includes a brief time of devotions.  The schedule is as follows:

March 11 - First Congregational Church, Andover

March 18 - Andover UMC

March 25 - Andover Christian Church

April 1 - Our Lady of Victory

April 8 - Cherry Valley Church of God

Also, during Lent, I will be leading a Lenten study group at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday morning beginning March 9.  I wish I could recall the name of the program, but alas, the material is on the shelf in my study.  There is a book that contains eight short stories, and we will read one each week; there is a short video with a conversation with the authors; and there will be a time for discussion about the material. I will have the books available on Sunday, March 2 for those who wish to participate.  I think you will enjoy it.

There are several other services as we journey toward Easter. They will be announced to give you adequate notice.  I hope that you will join us as your time will allow.  


Grace and peace in this joyous Lenten Season,


Pastor Jerry