Lent is traditionally a season of fasting and prayer. During this time, Christians pay close attention to spiritual disciplines that deepen our understanding of what God is doing in our lives and in the world. As a Congregation, we are developing our Lenten discipline through the Daniel Plan and the Walk to Jerusalem.

In the coming weeks we will be hearing about and praying for the ministries of compassion and justice done through our support of One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS). Jesus’ ministry was among those who were most vulnerable. He preached good news to the poor and release to the captives. One Great Hour of Sharing helps us share this same good news to those same vulnerable people in our world today: those who are hungry, who are suffering from disaster, who are dealing with oppression and injustice in society. Every gift made to this offering will meet the needs of people, and you will hear about just a few of these individuals over the coming weeks — in bulletin inserts and minutes for mission. These stories will help us to see the faces of those whose lives have been changed by our gifts, but they are only a few of the thousands and thousands of people served in this important ministry.

I’d like to invite you to visit the OGHS website (www.presbyterianmission.org/oghs) to find out more information on how your gift helps people all over the world, and offer prayers for the people and projects who receive this support. We will have Gracie Fish banks to collect change for OGHS. This offering will be given to our children’s Sunday School class to support a mission of their choosing from the Presbyterian Giving Catalogue. Last year the children were able to help 4 or 5 kids with school supplies.

That brings me to the challenge, which also relates to our support of One Great Hour of Sharing. While we trust our OGHS programs to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors, those programs can only do so to the extent of our generosity. I challenge each of you to give strong consideration to increasing your gift to the offering — you’ll see how giving opens your heart to God’s work in your own life. So I hope that you’ll join us on Palm Sunday and that you’ll join Christians all across the country in opening their hearts to witness tangibly to the abundant love of God through One Great Hour of Sharing. Yours in the love and grace of Jesus Christ, Rev. Julie Sterling