March - A Month of Mindfulness & Mission Madness!!! defines Mindfulness as –“the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis, also: such a state of awareness”

The month of March at Rome First will provide us with some unique opportunities to practice mindfulness and to make a difference in our community and world by participating in March Mission Madness. Wednesday, March 6 is Ash Wednesday. In Western Christianity Ash Wednesday marks the first day or the start of the season of Lent. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and its observance (although not its liturgical period, as Sundays are not fast days and are therefore not counted ) lasts for 40 days, mirroring the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before starting his ministry. Lent is a time when Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, giving up of sinful habits, and observing spiritual discipline. Not all Christian churches observe Ash Wednesday and Lent.

The Christian Community at Rome First will observe Ash Wednesday with two special observances. There will be a “drop by” Imposition of Ashes in the Wilder Center on Wednesday, March 6 beginning at 7 AM and continuing through 8 AM. Beginning at 5:30 on Ash Wednesday, March 6 we will gather for BS with the DS (BEEF STEW with the DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT). We will share a simple meal of beef stew and cornbread beginning at 5:30 PM. Immediately following dinner, The Reverend Dr. David Naglee, the DS of the Rome Carrollton District of the North Georgia Annual Conference, will spend time with those gathered answering questions about what is known, the implications, meanings and possible paths forward as a result of the Special Called session of The General Conference of the United Methodist Church that was held in St. Louis in late February. Following the program, Dr. Naglee will lead a brief service of observance for Ash Wednesday along with an invitation for the imposition of Ashes.

Reservations are requested, but not required for BS with the DS. Other congregations from around Rome and the surrounding area have been invited to join us for the evening’s events. I hope you will be present to hear from our District Superintendent and to meet and greet some of our United Methodist neighbors!

MISSION LUNCHEON AND AUCTION – MARCH 31. Sunday, March 31 we will worship together in the Historic Sanctuary for one great time of worship at 10:00 AM. After worship we will make our way to the Garnett Wilder Center for lunch and a Mission Auction to support the upcoming Hands on Mission Experiences planned for 2019 & 2020 from Rome First. Your Serve the World Team has a wide array of “hands on” mission experiences to engage our community, our state and the world. The Mission Auction will feature a multitude of Silent Auction Items and a tantalizing array of “Live Auction” items including the ever popular Dinner at the Parsonage, Exciting Out of Town Adventures and a Custom Karaoke Party Event at Your Home! Mark Your Calendar and plan to be present for the March Mission Madness at Rome First on Sunday, March 31!

If you have items you would like to donate to the Mission Auction, please contact Cathy Aiken-Freeman or the church office. We have an ambitious goal of $7,000.00 for the Mission Auction proceeds!

And last but not least, “Ramblin with Robert.” You asked for it and here is – an opportunity for an overnight adventure to the distant land of the South Georgia Annual Conference and the beauty of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia! You are invited to sign up for this epic adventure to experience up close and firsthand the beauty of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon. Overnight accommodations with breakfast on Wednesday, travel by luxurious comfort Coach and an unforgettable journey to one of the most stunning arrays of Cherry Blossoms in the Southeast. The Deadline to register is Monday, March 11 @ Noon. The cost for the trip is @125.00 per person. There are 13 spaces for the trip, sign up now and get packing for the journey!

Mindfulness, Mission Madness and Macon Georgia…WOW! A Lot to Think about. One parting thought, as we plan and prepare to move forward through Lent and looking towards the celebration of New Life that Easter brings us, we should be mindful of one BIG THING - we are seeking to build a Christian Community that is radically accepting of ALL, wildly inviting to ALL, unapologetically inclusive for ALL and Unashamedly Welcoming to and for ALL. Glory Be To God! Let us be the Church – The Body of Christ known for the Love of Christ shared with ALL, To ALL and For ALL. I will see you here this Sunday!

Robert ><>