As we travel in our Lenten journey this year, our church once again encourages and will engage in an annual period of fasting and prayer from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. We started this practice 15 years ago, and for the past six years we have emphasized making this special time be about becoming more attuned than ever to the work God would have us do as individuals and as a church.
Throughout these last six years we have focused our prayers on our church and its direction — on how to better do the work God has laid out for us. We have had significant growth in outreach to the community and to God’s people. The miracle stories seem to happen at a dizzying pace. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we celebrate our past and present — and we prayerfully look to our future.
It is only with your support that we have become a church that is affirming, inclusive and progressive in our ministry, and it is only with your help and prayer that it can continue.
Now that this church is beginning its 21th year of ministry, the pastoral staff and I have been moved by God’s spirit to again call for this time of fasting and prayer. I hope that you will consider joining with Vicar Alyce, Rev. Vivian, Rev. LaTaña and me in this spiritual practice — and in particular, to join me in Candler Park, near picnic pavilion 2, on Holy Saturday, March 31st between 10am and 2:30pm, to pray together and also to pray for those who are joining us in person or in spirit.
Here are the details of our time of fasting and prayer:
- Our fast begins on Good Friday at the conclusion of the 7pm service at the foot of the Cross on the lawn of First Christian Church of Decatur.
- Our theme this year is “Prayer as a conversation with God”.
- On Holy Saturday in Candler Park, I will lead us through a day of prayer. If you have a signed covenant with our church, I appeal to you especially to participate in this sacred and holy time of reflection and of seeking God’s direction for this fellowship. (If you have small children, don’t let that stop you from participating; let us know you intend to be there and we can discuss arrangements for child care.)
This year’s meditation: “How do I pray; how do I talk to God?” For example:
- How does this translate for you in the life of Gentle Spirit Christian Church? What kinds of prayers have you experienced?
- What can each of us do to support a dedicated prayer life through our vision and mission?
- What do we need to do as individuals to continue to live in a dedicated prayer life?
- What does a dedicated prayer life look like?
Easter is a special opportunity for us to set ourselves aside and focus on God, to allow God to speak to each of us individually and to all of us as a church. I hope you’ll join us in this spiritual practice beginning at 7pm on Good Friday and concluding with our Easter (Resurrection Sunday) Sunrise Service on April 1st at 7:25am in Candler Park, picnic Pavilion 2.
Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church and Editor-in-Chief of Whosoever, Rev. Paul M. Turner (he/him) grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He was called to Atlanta in 1994 to pastor All Saints MCC. Five years later he founded Gentle Spirit Christian Church. He lives in Decatur with his husband Bill, who he met in 1982 while living and working in Ohio and legally married in 2015.