By Gwen Sisson
In the first few days of the Lenten season, the Starkville Ministerial Association will begin a special non-denominational luncheon series to bring local churches together to prepare for Easter.
Jeff Artigues of St. Joseph Catholic Church said this year’s focus is on “Transforming Hope.” Pastors speaking at each lunch will focus on one Biblical figure who has persevered in faith and been “transformed with hope.”
“The idea behind the theme was to give inspiration and hope to all in our community by shedding light on the struggles and successes that many Biblical figures endured,” Artigues said. “Our faith is, and should be, strengthened knowing that even some of the great Biblical figures struggled as we do. Their lives transformed by God give hope to us all.”
The schedule begins Wednesday, March 16, with Rev. David Shumaker of First United Methodist Church discussing the Old Testament King David.
The lunches will begin at noon each Wednesday, with the speaker beginning around 12:30 p.m. There is no cost for the lunch, but any donations given will go to Helping Hands Ministries.
The series continues March 23 with Father John Bohn of St. Joseph Catholic Church discussing Abraham.
On March 30, Rev. George Buell of Aldersgate United Methodist Church will discuss the disciple, Peter.
Rev. Buren Blankenship of Trinity Presbyterian Church will discuss the Apostle Paul on April 6.
On April 13, Father Lee Winter of the Epicopal Church of the Resurrection will discuss the Old Testament character of Joseph, son of Jacob.
And on April 20, Rev. Wanda Stallings of New Birth Christian Church will discuss Jesus.
In the third year of the Lenten series, Artigues said the Starkville Ministerial Association hopes this will grow and become another ecumenical service to gather people of all faiths in the Starkville community to participate in an enjoy, much like the Community Thanksgiving Service.
“Everyone will share a meal together, prepared by the church of the pastor who is speaking that particular day, and then listen to a reflection/sermon that will help spiritualy prepare everyone for Easter,” Artigues said.
Artiques said speakers were selected because the integral roles they play at their churches and the Starkville community.
He said these pastors also have a passion of sharing God’s message to the entire community.
Each speaker selected their particular Biblical figure (David, Abraham, Peter, Paul, Joseph, and Jesus) because they felt that the account of their lives would help inspire and give hope.
“We hope that visitors of this series will be drawn closer to God during this season of Lent, and that their faith will be strengthened through the inspiring lives of the chosen Biblical figures,” Artigues said. “We also hope for a strengthening relationship among the variety of churches in our community.”
The series takes place during the season of Lent as part of the the Christian year. As Artigues describes it, “Lent is a special time of year in Christian churches because it is a time for us to reflect and prepare for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. Christmas is special and receives most of the media attention and publicity, but it is through Christ’s resurrection at Easter that we all attain redemption.”
Artigues said people of faith, or without a spiritual background throughout the Starkville community, are welcome and encouraged to attend this special sermon series.