With Fat Tuesday on the horizon we know that Lent follows immediately. Ash Wednesday is this week, March 1st. Lent is that wonderful, challenging, holy time of year when we, as a Church worldwide and as a local community, enter into a six-week "retreat" of sorts. Perhaps we retreat or back away from old behaviors, perhaps we retreat from luxuries we enjoy, perhaps we even retreat a little from some of the basics in our lives, like food, by fasting and abstaining. All of these forms of "retreat" are to take us out of our usual mode, maybe even out of our comfort zone, to wake us up to a deeper reality. The reality that we are all connected on this earth as human beings, that my life and lifestyle effects others and that theirs should also influence mine. The reality that some of our behaviors or habits may be an obstacle to spiritual growth, to growing deeper in our relationships with one another and in a relationship with the Lord Jesus. Lent also importantly gives us the space to practice new behaviors, to take time to reach out to others, to spend a little more time in prayer, with the Sacraments and in quiet, letting the Spirit open our hearts to the richness of the love of God, which always takes us to places we would not go on our own. Be sure to check out the Lenten calendar insert noting some of the many opportunities for special participation in this holy season. Operation Rice Bowl also begins on Ash Wednesday when the cardboard offering boxes, along with wonderful information about people in developing countries will be available for us to walk together through our Lenten journey.
One important outreach we are beginning this Monday, February 27, is opening Chartz Hall to the homeless as an overnight shelter. As I have noted in the past, FISH residences and shelters are full and, unless the temps dip below 15 degrees, when the Fuji Park building opens up, those on the streets have no other place to stay where it is warm and dry. I am edified by a large number of people from our parish, along with a few from St. Paul's Lutheran and St. Peter's Episcopal, who have signed up to supervise the availability of the hall by taking shifts from 9:00pm to 6:30am. The Salvation Army will pick up those needing shelter from the FISH parking lot and bring them to the church each evening and Pastor J.J. Tuttle from the Connected Nazarene Church has offered to pick everyone up and bring them back downtown in the morning. Cots are being provided by the Red Cross via FISH. This is all being coordinated by Deacon Craig, with the worthy assistance of Daphne DeLeon. We do this outreach as disciples of Jesus Christ, who taught always to care for the poor and the marginalized. We will not know who will come forward in need until we begin offering this shelter, but the general expectation is 10-15 guests each night. We would not be able to do this without the many who have stepped up to help. We will offer the shelter through the month of March, evaluating as we go. Weather may determine if we extend that into April. Please do keep this project in prayer.
Another project in the works is new carpeting for Chartz Hall, the Gathering Area, Reconciliation Room, Sacristy and front office. Due to the continued good stewardship from so many of you we were able to plan for this needed carpet replacement mostly from this year's budget, supplemented by our maintenance savings. Thank you for your continued support to our wonderful parish. The carpet should be installed starting March 20th.
I hope to see many of you at St. Teresa's annual Crab Feed, to be held next Saturday, March 4th, at the Carson City Community Center. This has become the largest fund raising event annually for our school and is a load of fun. Parents from the school and their friends work hard to decorate the space with some creative theme and acquire many wonderful donations for the silent and live auctions. Special thanks goes to Jana Foster who is chair of this event, along with Sanne Steele and Barbara Cousins as auction chairs. Lots of really good work goes into the success of this event. Our fundraisers help us keep tuition affordable and provide a great opportunity for people from our parish and the greater community to come together,
relax, enjoy some great food and one another's company while supporting a good cause. Tickets can be purchased at the school or, as long as they last, at the door. (We sold out within the first half hour last year because most had pre-purchased.) Doors will open at 5:00pm. All are welcome!
Blessings to you all this 8th week in Ordinary Time!