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"Looking Forward..."

Dear Friends,

I hope all of you are doing well after the busy holiday season. We are now in the midst of a new year with all the challenges and opportunities that await. As I pointed out at the annual meeting, the year that just passed was an exciting one as you can tell from a separate article in this newsletter. Now, onward to 2017!

Since Lent does not begin until March 1st this year, the month of February is a month in which we can move a little slowly into the new year. New members of Session, new deacons, and the various church committees are getting on board and preparing for the rest of the year ahead. As it is every year, there are many exciting activities coming this year. This month we will observe the Souper Bowl of Caring Offering on Sunday, February 5th. At the conclusion of worship that day, you will have the opportunity to help the Good News Café and a couple of food pantries in Hawley by putting an offering into your Super Bowl team’s soup kettle: either the Atlanta Falcons or the New England Patriots. In previous years, you have predicted the Super Bowl winner almost every time!

As I said, Lent begins on March 1st with our annual Ash Wednesday Service which follows a simple meal of soup and breads starting at 6pm in Blough Hall. Many of you have said that this is one of your favorite services of the year, so mark your calendar now. Our Lenten study will begin on Sunday, March the 5th and this year we will look at what we believe as we look at the Apostles’ Creed in a study by Adam Hamilton called, "Creed: What Christians Believe and Why". I’m looking forward to this, and you will be hearing a lot more about this study in the coming weeks.

I do hope that many of you will come to worship on Sundays. Sunday worship is a time to gather with your sisters and brothers in Christ as we celebrate through prayer and praise, music, and sermon, what God is doing in our lives and in the world around us. As people of faith, we don’t always know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future!

At the beginning of a new year, I am encouraged by these words from one of my favorite hymns:

You have called us to be faithful, in our life and ministry.

We respond in grateful worship joined in one community.

When we blur your gracious image, focus us and make us whole.

Healed and strengthened as your people, we move onward toward your goal.

Grace, Peace, and Love,

Pastor Bill

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