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Welcome to the

Abbey United Church of Christ

6th and Church Street                    Huntingdon, PA 16652

(814) 643-1340

Over the past three months, we've had some highly memorable worship services--at least memorable for me. As long as I live, I'll never forget the beauty of nearly each and every one of you walking that long road from the pew to the front of the sanctuary to affirm your baptisms. Thank you for responding so warmly to the invitation.

The sermons God has given me throughout February are both calling you and teaching you to be the church. The beatitudes reveal God's standards for honoring or blessing human beings, and not surprisingly, perhaps, we find God's measures are far different than our own for esteeming one another.

A Message from the Abbey’s new Pastor, Donna Jarrell

Dear Abbey-ites and Friends of the Abbey,

As I pen this note for the upcoming newsletter, two things are about to happen. First of all, at the end of February, I'll be marking my third full month as your new minister; and secondly, together, on March 1st we will be entering our first shared season of Lent.

Next, we moved into the passages that teach us not so much what God values in others, but rather, how, as believers, to be in relationship with others in this oh-so-broken-world of ours. To them, we are the salt of the earth and light of the world.

More recently, we've been reviewing the famous You've heard it said, but I say unto you statements in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus teaches we are to be proactive in our day-to-day lives rather than reactive; that is, to prevent sin and dysfunction rather than suffer its consequences. We can do this by suspending our judgment of others, refraining from using or objectifying others, and speaking the truth to one another, even where white lies might be more socially acceptable.

Finally, we came to one of the most challenging passages of the New Testament. Jesus instructs us to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us. This behavior, this love, is what identifies us as the sons and daughters of God--because even unbelievers are kind to those they like.

February's teachings are nothing short of daunting. I would not want you all to think that after one solid sermon on the matter, you will be transformed into angels, but to recognize these are the standards to which we aspire, standards that mark kingdom living. A pray for someone who persecutes you might simply start as, Dear God. I hate X. I hate the way X acts and moves and lives in this world. I would like to X X out. Please help me. Please help X. Thank you.

As we close our first quarter review and move into Lent, we will be walking with Jesus, the disciples, and the others who followed him toward the cross. Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness provides the framework for this time of increased self-reflection and self-denial. So it is Lent is often associated with self-denial and penitence. This year, however, I invite you to view Lent as spring training camp--as 40 days of the year where we give the highest priority to increasing our spiritual fitness and strengthening our core commitment to following Jesus.

During Lent, I invite you to discipline yourself to regular prayer and scripture reading. I invite you to commit to gather each week with the body of believers to hear the Word, worship our God, and fellowship with each other. I invite you to practice praying for those who persecute you. If your Lenten tradition requires a form of self-denial, may you deny yourself whatever it is that interferes with your closeness to God.

In the meantime, keep up the good work out there. A light on a hillside cannot be hidden.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of ...

Pastor Donna