This year, Chapel Hill observes Ash Wednesday with a light meal at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, provided by UMW, and the Ash Wednesday Worship in the Sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. Lent is a time when Christians are called to be with Jesus is a special way, a time to fast and to pray, to follow Jesus on the way to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death. It is a narrow road, often filled with distractions and temptations. For this reason, Lent is a time for Christians to fast; a spiritual discipline to strengthen one’s clarity and focus through the redemptive road of love for others. Do you remember, Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert before his public ministry? While this kind of fasting is beyond all of us, as his followers we continue the practice of fasting (on a smaller scale) during Lenten season to bring clarity and focus to our lives and to the work of ministry that has been entrusted to us.
As I mentioned Sunday morning, I encourage you to participate with me in a Lenten discipline this year. Bishop McKee has challenged us to forgo one meal per week during the Lenten season and donate the proceeds to the Zip Code Project. The North Texas Conference has begun work to eradicate poverty by 2025 in two ZIP codes within the conference: 75426 in Clarksville and Red River Counties and 75215 in South Dallas. So how will these funds make a difference? The conference is using our donations in several ways:
- to provide start-up funding for community gardens (much like our community garden)
- to provide start-up funding for small businesses aimed at expanding employment, training and community development
- to directly fund programs to meet immediate needs such as supporting the North Texas Food Bank (our communion offering this month benefited the NTFB), building a walk-in freezer to help the Clarksville Food Pantry be able to distribute frozen foods more than one time per month, and establishing a gasoline fund for the churches in the area to be able to provide transportation for elderly seniors to medical appointments.
For a complete list, please follow this link. If you choose to take this walk with me, you
can either donate online at the North Texas Conference website, or you can write a check to Chapel Hill with “Zip Code Project” written on the memo line and Chapel Hill treasurer will send the amount of donation to the NT Conference.
I hope you join me in this project. We are called to imagine, something Howard Stansell preached last Sunday. Just imagine if 10,000 United Methodists gave a gift representing the cost of meals they gave up during Lent to the ZIP Code Project; don’t you think the outcome could be quite an impact on our communities and the lives of many who are in need?
With God’s help and our prayer, I know we will accomplish far more than what can think or even imagine! See you on Wednesday.