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Good News

February 2008


Once again this year the churches of the Absecon/Galloway Clergy Fellowship will sponsor a series of Lenten Lunches in the area churches. Each event begins sharply at noon with a 30 minute worship service in the host sanctuary. The host church will conduct the service with special music, prayers and a short message. The lunch is a basic soup, sandwich and dessert in keeping with the Lenten season of restraint and reflection.

If you have not attended in the past, we urge you to come and make this a part of your Lenten experience with our fellow churches. The full schedule is below, including all the services of the Lenten season sponsored by the Clergy Fellowship.

Feb. 13 Unity Dinner – 6:30 p.m. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Noon Lenten Luncheon Schedule:

February 20 – Absecon United Methodist Church

February 27 – Reformation Lutheran Church

March 5 – Saint Mark and All Saints Church

March 12 – Absecon Presbyterian Church

March 20 Holy Thursday Communion Service – 7 p.m. Absecon Methodist Church

March 21 Good Friday Service – Noon Saint Mark and All Saints

March 23 Easter Sunrise Service – 7 a.m. Heritage Park

The offering this year will be given to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.


Has January come and gone? Where does the time go?

Our programs are back on track and attendance remains strong. For our January mission project we painted two beautiful castles and made egg carton kings, queens, and damsels in distress to go with them. (Thanks to Lee Wolff who built the two castles. They were gorgeous!) We also made puzzles and tic-tac-toe boards to give to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and Women's Shelter of Atlantic County. Rob Perry woke us up with a drum corps Call to Worship focusing our attention on our relationship with Jesus being positive, positive, positive, requiring commitment, commitment, commitment, and showing compassion, compassion, compassion. Yes, it was loud! Hopefully you'll remember the positive message. Here are a few upcoming highlights for the month ahead.


Highlights and Up Coming Events

•  Rehearsals will be taking place for The Verdict , our Easter play, on Sundays at 5 p.m. Broghan Brunner will be the director. Anyone between grades 6-12 can be in this one. The performance will take place on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 10 a.m.

•  A luncheon and Easter Egg Hunt will also take placed on Sunday, March 9, 2008 . Please mark your calendars now. Friends are welcome. There will be sign up sheets for candy donations and help with the luncheon.

•  On February 3 rd our 7 th - 8 th grade class will be presenting a drama as the Call to Worship.

•  Lions and Lambs will be presenting their Call to Worship on February 10 th instead of on the 17 th .

•  Our February mission project will take place on February 17 th instead of on the 10 th . We'll be making Valentine's goodies, cards, and crafts to give to those in need of a little extra TLC.

•  Rob Perry will be leading our grades 1-6 students in another musical Call to Worship which will take place on February 24 th . Practices for this will begin on February 10 th at 10:20 in the game room.

•  Our 2nd Family Worship Sunday will take place on February 24 th . We will have the pleasure of hearing from the choir chimes again. Our classes will participate as follows:

Prek-K – 2 songs for the Call to Worship

Grades 1-6 – Special Music with Rob Perry

Grades 5-6 – Scripture Reading

Grades 7-8 – Drama

Grades 9-12 – Jr. Sermon and Responsive Reading

It has been exciting to welcome new members along with the “regulars” to our Sunday School. It says a lot when we talk up our programs and bring our friends. That's what it means to be a fisher of men. God bless you all. I'll see you on Sunday.



This month we will start our Bible study of Jonah. This is a short story that covers only four chapters in the Old Testament. It opens with God telling Jonah to go to Nineveh , the capital of Assyria , to tell the people to change their ways. Everything in the book of Jonah (the storm, the sailors, the great fish, and the people of Nineveh ) obeyed God's command except for the prophet himself. Jonah cannot believe his ears, because Assyria is the Jew's biggest enemy. Jonah decides not to go. We will see that when we try to run from God, God has ways of teaching us to obey and follow.

The Ruth Circle will meet at the home of Betsy Cunius at 1:30 p.m. Friday, February 1 st . The Sarah Circle will meet Wednesday, February 6 th at 7:00 p.m. in Cobb Lounge. The Martha Circle will meet at the home of Ida Juhrs Thursday, February 14 th at 10:00 a.m. All women of the church are encouraged to come to the circle of your choice for study, fellowship and refreshments.





The turnout for our last Mayberry get-together was overwhelming. It was a nasty, cold winter's day, and it seemed that a lot of us had “cabin fever” and welcomed the chance to share a potluck supper and view an episode of the “Andy Griffith Show.” Thanks to the techno know-how of Louise Speitel, we are able to watch the show on the GIANT silver screen!

Our next meeting will be on Friday, February 29 th , at 6 p.m. in Madden Hall. We will have our usual (or NOT so usual) potluck supper and will screen “The Jinx.”

Have you ever avoided walking under a ladder, or panicked if a black cat crossed your path? We have all confronted superstitious behavior at one time or another, but have we considered how our attitudes and opinions might affect others? Barney and the town of Mayberry don't realize the hurt their superstitious beliefs are causing until it is almost too late.

So for good food, good fellowship, and more see you FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 29 th .

And remember – the door is always unlocked and the lemonade is always cold !



•  Gary Cresse for installing the Lexan on the Jesus mural. Hopefully our days of repairing damage to the mural are over.

•  Bill Downer for painting the screw heads on the mural to match the background.

•  Everyone who helped take down Christmas decorations.

•  Everyone who worked on the annual report and all the groups and committee leaders who submitted reports.

•  Jean Delesantro for folding bulletins, watering plants and cleaning up the church for Myrtle.

•  Everyone making soups and goodies for the sale on Feb. 3. Don't forget to buy something that day!



The church has purchased 200 Lenten lapel pins with a cross and the words “Somebody Loves You” on them. They will be given out at both services on February 10. The Unity Dinner theme that week is “Show the Love” and Valentine's Day is the day following the dinner. We would request that you wear the pin on both days.

In fact, we would like you to wear the pin throughout the seven weeks of Lent. Try and wear it at least one day a week. Let your friends and coworkers see it, and explain why your wear it.

In past years we have given things that could be carried secretly in your pocket – a stone, a cross, etc. This year we are asking that we wear our faith on our sleeves, as it were. If you are not willing to wear this simple expression of faith, please don't take one.


These pins are for church members who are willing to make an extra commitment during Lent and to share their faith. Please don't take extra ones for your friends, grandchildren, etc.

FROM THE CHOIR LOFT ………………………….………….. by TOM SOOY

This past Sunday we sang the hymn “Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore". What is the lakeshore? The lakeshore is the place where land meets water, where we stand and look out to the horizon where the sea meets the sky. The lakeshore is the boundary between land and sea, between sea and sky. The lakeshore is the place where boundaries blur, the border between one thing and another, the place of transition.


The lakeshore is wherever there is a transition in our lives, a choice to be made, a boundary to be crossed, a barrier to be overcome, a change from one form to another, a birth, a death, a change in employment, an illness, a milestone birthday, a move, a shift in a relationship.


For Peter, Andrew, James and John the lakeshore was the place where they cleaned up after work, a place of weariness, a place of business, a place of beauty, a place for hard work, a setting for the greatest transition life affords - from mere existence to Christian discipleship.

Do WE hear the voice of Jesus calling? In George Bernard Shaw's play St. Joan the annoyed Dauphin says, "Oh, your voices, your voices. Why don't the voices come to me? I am king, not you."

And Joan answers, "They do come to you, but you do not hear them. You have not sat in the field in the evening listening to them. When the angelus rings you cross yourself and have done with it; but if you prayed from your heart, and listened to the trilling of the bells in the air after they stopped ringing, you would hear the voices as well as I do."

What does Jesus say when he calls us? That great doctor, missionary, theologian and musician, Albert Schweitzer explains it this way:

"He comes to us as One unknown, as of old He came by the lakeside to those men who knew not who He was. His words are the same: 'Follow me!' and He puts us to the tasks which He has to carry out in our age. He commands. And to those who obey, be they wise or simple, He will reveal Himself through all that they are privileged to experience in His fellowship of peace and activity, of struggle and suffering, till they come to know, as an inexpressible secret, Who He is..."

So, how are we to respond when we hear this call at our lakeshore? The old Quaker poet put it this way for us,

"In simple trust like theirs who heard, Beside the Syrian Sea, The gracious calling of the Lord, Let us, like them, without a word, Rise up and follow Thee."



The Good News from our committee is that we continue to be conscientious with our decision making. The Mission & Evangelism Committee opens each meeting with prayer just as the Session does. We ask that God guides us in making decisions that are pleasing to Him. As chairperson, I think our committee members have worked diligently to do just that, as has been indicated by the support and approval of Session. As with any committee, not everyone will be in agreement with our decisions, but we do expect that they will be respected for the choices they make. This past December the Benevolence % was decreased by Session at the recommendation of the Trustees. While our committee objected to that decision, we honored it, and responded by decreasing our own budget to comply. Changes were made and sometimes changes are needed. The Benevolence budget reflects the needs of many, not just the wishes of some. To that end, we appreciate the support of the congregation.

Each year church members have the privilege of accepting a call to serve either on a committee or as an officer. In that way, they can be a part of the planning and decision making in a positive way.

On Sunday, February 10 th , sponsors and volunteers will be recognized during both services as we will be leaving the following weekend. Hopefully they will be able to send you daily posts of their experiences through the church website as was done last year. The support and encouragement of the congregation, as well as your prayers, are most appreciated by our own “missionaries” listed below:

Jan Jorgensen Bill Keener Bob Hudak Loretta Metz

Richard Wood John Harvey Jim McManus Carol Thomas

Carol Kleiner Sonny Kleiner Alice Smith Norman Johnson

Drew Malfi Alice Malfi Jim Maurer Barbara Maurer

Ken Prescott Judy Stebbins Pastor Cobb Carol Bass

From Pleasantville Presby:

Sharon Cresse Gary Cresse Percy Williams Ken Groome

Louella Rose Paul Rose Leni Savell



Alice Smith, Chair



I am a month late in saying a great big “THANK YOU!” to such an overwhelming response to our Christmas Angel Tree project. We had to take out the back seat of our Suburban to fit all the presents in. It was loaded right up to the ceiling. When we took them to the Salvation Army they were so happy to receive them. What a wonderful Christmas you gave to so many children!

Thank you for your generosity,

Carol Kleiner, for the Mission Committee



Our Deacons had their reorganization meeting.  We elected our new officers and committees.  I would like to thank Jean Delesantro and Marge Loeb for the great work they have done with us the last three years.  They both went off the board and will be greatly missed.  I want to recognize our new Deacons – Mary Bew and Jinny Wolcott.  Ginny Davenport has come back for her second term, and we are pleased with that.  We have much work to do .   It takes all 9 of us to work together to make a great Deacons Board and accomplish much each year.  It would not be possible if it weren't for the generosity of our congregation. 

We will be planning for our next Bereavement Luncheon which will be on April 20 at 12:30 p.m. in Madden Hall.  Louise Speitel took a picture of the Deacons for us to make cards for mailing of illnesses, births and deaths. Barbara Morgan will be working on making the cards.  Ruth Champion does a great job of mailing cards throughout the year for us.

Our next meeting will be March 8 th at 10:00 a.m. in Cobb Lounge to plan for the luncheon.

Carol Thomas, Moderator  



The office of Deacon in the New Testament is one of care and compassion- often referred to as the "ministry of helps". We are here for those in need of help and invite you to make your need known to us by filling out the information below and putting it in an envelope marked Deacons or mailing it to us at the church. All help is confidential.

Name _______________________________________________________________________

Telephone Number ___________________________________

Request _____________________________________________________________________


Many thanks to all of you who supported our Soup and Bake Sale on Sunday, Jan 13 th .  $550 was raised for the kitchen project, and we look forward to another great sale on Sunday, Feb 3rd.

Our next event is cooking the main dish for the Unity Dinner Wednesday, Feb. 13 th , at Elizabeth Ann Seton.  Tom and Janice Piccirilli graciously stepped up to represent our church at the planning meetings and will be preparing the roast chicken dinner that day.  If anyone is interested in helping them please see either Tom or Janice or Kris Jenoriki.  Also, many thanks to Jean Delesantro who is stepping down as a representative from our church.  She has served on the Unity Dinner planning committee for many years and will be sorely missed.

On Wednesday, March 12 th , the Lenten Lunch will be held at our church at noon .  A sign up sheet will be on the vestibule bulletin board, and anyone who wishes to make sandwiches or dessert can sign up there.  Also, help is needed that day to help set up and work in the kitchen.  Please see Kris Jenoriki if you are interested in helping out or if you would like to make the soup for the luncheon.

On April 12 th , the Philadelphia Handbell Choir will play at our church with a roast pork dinner preceding the concert.  Tickets will be $10 and all proceeds will benefit the kitchen renovation project.  See the Spring Concert announcement in another part of this Good News.

The Fellowship Committee will meet next on Tuesday, March 4 th , at 7 p.m. in Cobb Lounge. Anyone who would like to join this committee is asked to please see Kris Jenoriki.

Yours in Christ,

Kris Jenoriki



The Doug Jablonski Men's Fellowship will meet on Saturday, February 9, at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast and fellowship. Come and bring a friend. Breakfast will be pancakes.



Lunch Bunch is a little earlier this month due to the Unity Dinner being the day we would normally go. We will leave the church at 11:30 to travel to the Harbor Diner on the White Horse Pike in Egg Harbor City .



Come join the Prime-Timers for Goofy Night at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, February 9 th . Be prepared for a night where everything is upside down and backward and all jumbled up. Just bring a covered dish to share with the group and enjoy an evening of fun and surprises.

The Prime-Timers get-together for March will be more serious and sober as we join together for our 4 th Annual Lenten Meal of various soups and breads. After the meal we will view a 35 minute video: Israel , God's Chosen Land . The video follows the footsteps of Jesus from his Birth to the Resurrection. We will see the " Chosen Land " as it is today and view the ancient sights of Bethlehem , Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives , the River Jordan, and many other places where Jesus conducted his ministry. Join us for this meal and Lenten travelogue at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, March 15 th .



Since we are not going on the BIG trip to Portugal we have our two “mini vacations” instead. There are still some seats left for the MAY 3-9 trip to ATLANTA and SAVANNAH . The cost for this 7 day-6 night trip is $655.00 per person (dbl/sharing), and includes transportation, hotels, most meals, all included admissions, all tips, and a special dinner at Paula Deen's “Lady and Sons” restaurant in Savannah .

From September 1-6, we will be on a 6 day-5 night CRUISE TO CANADA (Halifax and St. John ). There is limited space for this trip, so if you want to join us, you need to act quickly. This trip is $650.00 - $850.00 per person (dbl/sharing), depending on your stateroom choice.

If you are interested in either trip or want more information, please call me at home, 965-1665, or see me in church.

News about some other day or overnight trips will be coming out soon so watch the Good News and church bulletins.


Let's keep on travelin'!



Coming Saturday, April 12, 2008 – Roast Pork Dinner

Featuring the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble

(New Reserved Seating Plan)


After much discussion, the Fellowship Committee (Kris Jenoriki, Chair), with input from concerned church people, decided that advanced reserved sanctuary seating will now be available for all church members and regular church attendees . (Disabled persons and their helpers will continue to have priority consideration.)

Dinner tickets go on sale Sunday, March 9-22 for church people and those with disabilities . Select your seat when buying your ticket from Joanie. Our programs reach out to all but we fully realize the work and devotion of our own people which make these events possible.

Joan will tape your nametag on your seat Saturday morning. You are encouraged to arrive for dinner after 5:45 (second seating) since people WITHOUT reserved seats will surely arrive early . We feel this plan will allow a smoother serving of the dinner. Hopefully, people can relax more and sit where they wish in our lovely sanctuary.

We are trying our BEST to keep everyone happy in the Lord's House. Truly you can see, hear and be blessed in any location. All suggestions are welcome as we plan the 18 th year of our Christian Concert Series.



Your Fellowship Committee



The annual meeting began with prayer by Rev. Cobb at 11:30 on January 20. Reports were received and Donald Wong, Nancy Sooy, Roger Wolcott and Dawn Duran were elected to the Nominating Committee for 2008.

There were some questions and corrections to figures. There was also concern expressed about Lisa Whitaker's support and a reply made by the chairperson of the Mission/Evangelism Committee. There was deep appreciation shown for many people who led and volunteered.

The gavel was passed to the Chairman of the Corporation at 12:10. Reports were received, and concerns were expressed about tax assessments on rental properties, the construction of a columbarium in the cemetery, and the progress of the new bicameral system begun in 2007.

While there were concerns, the congregation seemed pleased with what was happening. Trustee Norman Johnson rose to thank the chairman, Donald Wong, whose term ended on Sunday. There was applause for both the work of the trustees and the work of the session.

The congregation retired to Madden Hall for a pizza lunch at 12:40 . It was a happy time. We ate all the pizza and most of the salads and desserts.



The balance as of December 31 on the McMullin Trust is $1,322,777.59. The church receives ½ of the earnings of this fund which is managed by an independent board of trustees (a bank) and is capped at a maximum of 5% of principle. The other beneficiary is the Atlantic County Historical Society – share and share alike.

Our church received $25,840.92 from this trust (after fees) in 2007. How we do in 2008 depends on the stock market.



The church financial records are now with Mr. Ken Groome, our auditor. He will report to the officers in about a month. Basic results of the audit should be printed in your March Good News.



January 20 was a special day in the life of our church. As Presbyterians we elected new officers to lead us on November 25, 2007. They were ordained and installed on January 20. Their names and positions are as follows:

Elder (3 year term) – Jerry Hoenes

Elder (2 year term) – Tina Brown

Elder/Trustee (3 year term) – Louise Speitel

Deacon (3 year term) – Ginny Davenport, Jinny Wolcott, Mary Bew


Two officers, Ron Pfeiffer and Jim Maurer, were away and will be ordained and/or installed at a later time.



Last summer the Rev. Russell S. Duncan preached at our church as a “neutral pulpit” while he was candidating to be the pastor at the Cold Spring Presbyterian Church.

The call was confirmed at the November Presbytery meeting and Rev. Duncan will be installed on February 10. Pastor Cobb will serve in the installation service.

Our church is proud to be part of this process and to be of assistance to our sister church in Cold Spring.



The Rev. Dr. Delrio Ligons-Berry had brain surgery on January 23. She will be convalescing for three to six months.

On January 15 the Presbytery appointed Pastor Cobb as moderator of the Jethro Church until their pastor is able to resume her duties.

This is also an example of our connectional church responsibility to help our sister churches.



Tom and Nancy will be with their daughter, Meghan, the week of February 17. We wish them a great trip. Mrs. Dot Ryon will be here to play at both services on February 17.



Our Men's Fellowship has completed their project to protect the Jesus mural in Madden Hall. The lower six feet are now covered with 3/16” thick Lexan which is screwed into the studs. Lexan has much less glare than Plexiglas and does not yellow. It does scratch, so please don't touch!

We thank Gary Cresse for his installation work.



The gas bill for Dec. 20-Jan. 22 was $1,102.67. This is for the church alone. The manse and mission house were extra. This is the highest gas bill we have ever received.

The electric bill for Dec. 19-Jan. 23 was $565.61. Again, that is for the church alone, not the manse or mission house.

When you add in additional charges for water, sewerage, etc. you have a monthly utilities bill approaching $2,000. This comes down to utility fees of nearly $70.00 per day . It should be noted that these fees are several times the charges for more heat neutral months like April or October, but we still have two months of winter bills to absorb before relief comes in the spring.

By the way, don't forget to use the fuel envelopes in your box.



Several years ago when the church repaved the cemetery drive we widened the driveway by the kitchen door to add four or five parking spaces. These spaces are of particular use to people with mobility issues because you can use the game room door without going up or down any steps.

Frequently these spots are left unused on Sundays while people park across the street and race through traffic to cross New Jersey Avenue .

If you have special needs and the restricted parking spaces are full, please park along the cemetery drive by the game room. You are still welcome to race between traffic on New Jersey Avenue . Just don't get hit.


The church does not generally close for snowfalls under five inches. The pastor lives on the property so he can always walk if need be. Tom lives in Cologne , but he has always made it.

If roads are treacherous please call the church if you have questions. We will leave messages on the answering machine.

Youth programs generally do not meet if schools are closed or if they close early due to the weather. Again, call the office or your youth leader to find out for sure.

If information is available and passed on to Gay she will send an email. Our church does not use radio or TV to publicize closings.

If you are really uncertain, or you are afraid of falling, please stay home. We understand. We don't want to have to worry about you, either.

If you are willing to come in early on a snowy Sunday and help shovel call the pastor. We have no custodial care on Sundays so things like shoveling snow are done by volunteers or the pastor. (But he is really hired to preach!)


Many thanks for all the birthday cards and best wishes!


Frank Loeb



What a wonderful surprise! Who would have though people would be out singing carols on such a rainy night – and such a large group of Presbyterians.

Thank you for your wonderful voices singing praises to our Lord.

Thank you also to the Deacons for the fruit baskets.

Roger & Jinny Wolcott

P.S. Thanks once again, Jan, for your delicious cookies.


Do we have your email address? If not, email the church office (absecon_presby@msn.com) and ask to be added to our list of contacts to get weekly updates, announcements and information. You don't know what you're missing!



Remember, Deadlines are Important!

“Good Morning” (Sunday bulletin announcements) – Noon Thursday

“The Presby Post” (That Friday email thing) – 9:00 a.m. Friday

“Good News” (Monthly newsletter) – 9:00 a.m. 4 th Monday of the month


Articles and information should be in writing and emailed or left (photo ready preferred) in the office. Please keep in mind it may be necessary to edit due to space or other limitations.



3 9:30 Dottie McCaffrey

11:00 Joanna Howell

10 9:30 Wes & Anne Leopold

11:00 Grace Gras

17 9:30 Ruth Champion

11:00 Dirk & Desiree Williamson

24 9:30 Family Worship

11:00 Tom & Anita Brown



3 9:30 Louise Speitel, 11:00

10 9:30 Kris Jenoriki, 11:00 Tina Brown

17 9:30 Ron Pfeiffer, 11:00

24 9:30 Family Worship, 11:00



3 9:30 Bob & Irene Hunter, 11:00 Jean Delesantro & Olga Davies

10 9:30 Carol Thomas & Elaine Risley, 11:00 Toshie Legg & Joanna Howell

17 9:30 Bob & Elaine Wilkenloh, 11:00 Tina Brown & Marge Loeb

24 9:30 Steve & Ginny Schwab, 11:00 Betty Lloyd & Mary Bew









3 9:30 Marge Loeb

11:00 Jean Delesantro

10 9:30 Ginny Davenport

11:00 Jean Delesantro

17 9:30 Carol Thomas

11:00 Jean Delesantro

24 9:30 Carol Kleiner

11:00 Jean Delesantro



3 Jennifer Platt

10 Kira Greenlee

17 Sheila Mazzatta

24 Dawn Lewis



3 Janice Bond

Barbara Hughes

10 Jean Delesantro

Olga Davies

17 Sheila Mazzatta

Frank Barrella

24 Betty Jerue, Leslie Harvey

Melissa Wooding



3 Set-up – Carol Thomas

Cook – Richard Wood, Tom Piccirilli

Clean-up – Paul & Marjorie Hamer

10 Set-up – Carol Thomas

Cook – Jo-ann Weller, Bob Wilkenloh

Clean-up – Joe Marshall

17 Set-up – Barbara Morgan

Cook – Leo Ransone

Clean-up – Barbara Miller

24 Set-up –

Cook – Rob & Jake Perry

Clean-up –



More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. ~ Philippians 3:8-9

The date of Easter is set as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring. That usually puts it in April when grass is green and flowers are blooming. This year the first day of spring is March 20 and the first full moon is March 21, so Easter is March 23. Ash Wednesday is 40 days earlier on February 6! That's early!

I don't like an early Lent. It seems we just got past Christmas and now we need to hurry up everything we normally take our time doing in winter. Our Winter Fundraiser for the kitchen was early, and Priscilla is already practicing for the Easter play. The Fishbanks and One Great Hour of Sharing offering begins now. I just hope it's not too cold for an Easter egg hunt in mid March. What really stinks is that when we get to Diamondhead for our Mission Trip on February 17 Mardi Gras will already be over. The last two years we went to parades and brought back beads and Moon Pies. This year all we will see are littered roads. How quickly we get in the habit of looking forward to these special times of fun and celebration!

But Lent is not a time of parades and parties. Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday only began because people knew Lent was a period of self denial, prayer, meditation, and doing something different to show our devotion to God and our response to Christ's work for us. Indeed, a mission trip during Lent is a very appropriate way to respond to Jesus' call to care for the needy and be a sacrificial person. For those of us going our Lenten observance will be with hammers, saws and paint brushes. Each one of us will have to find our own path of self denial.

Come to think of it, cold weather lends itself to the Lenten disciplines. Our problem is we try to turn every activity into a fun time. Not that there is anything wrong with having fun, but some things require so much discipline that we need to focus on the task alone. Most great novels and works of art were produced in winter. Professors say they can teach more in cold weather. Those who spend their lives in prayer and meditation say they have felt the presence of God mostly in winter – usually early in the morning. The cold helps us focus simply because we can't do much else.

By now most of you reading this want to go to Florida , but this is God's timing for our Lenten journey. This is our reorganization time, too. Perhaps you could serve on a committee. Perhaps you could get involved with Jean Webster or P.B.J. Our officers will be going on retreat during Lent. And, of course, we will have Lenten Lunches and special services in Holy Week. At the very least, you could spend more time with the Upper Room books and in prayer.

It may not always be fun, but it is a journey to open our eyes and hearts to God, and that is always a very rewarding trip. So I'll see you on the Lenten Road. Let's keep each other warm.