Dear Congregational Family,

1. I know this is a day late! Sorry about that!

2. Kids Time & Evening JTTW: Today will be the last week for these ministries. Next week is Ash Wednesday. Please make a priority to be part of our Lenten Services as we focus on “Jesus, the Good Shepherd” as seen in Psalm 23. Services will be at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, and our Lenten Suppers will be from 6:00pm-7:00pm every Wednesday.

3. Patriarchs & Matriarchs: This week we have had a number of funerals for individuals who were long standing pillars of spiritual strength both in their biological families as well as in our church family. Whenever I see a strong spiritual leader who was the patriarch or matriarch within the family, I wonder, who will God raise up to take their place? That is a challenge from the Lord! Who will answer God’s call to step forward and be a servant-leader of God for the sake of others? Will you be the one?

4. Church offerings & finances: You may have seen just the other day, the news report of a church in the South Hills which just found out that over one million dollars had been embezzled from its funds over the past seven years. These dollars were given in good faith by church members and now they are gone. This is distressing news to say the least. Situations like this can cause people to grow cynical (and less generous) about giving. It underscores the importance of churches to have careful financial policies and practices in place concerning how money is handled, counted, transferred, audited, spent, etc. I am thankful for our financial team here at Ruthfred and for all of the extra cautions which we take to ensure that your gifts to the Lord are handled with integrity and accountability.

5. “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act”: This bill was put forth on Monday to the U. S. Senate, but it failed to pass as it needed 60 votes to overcome the legislative filibuster, and the vote was 53-44. This bill would have provided medical assistance to infants who were born alive after an attempted abortion procedure. It’s hard to fathom how someone could vote against this, but in our present day of state legislatures and governors showing callous disregard for life, it seems that infanticide itself is now becoming accepted, and publicly promoted.

6. The “state of life in the states”: On Tuesday I learned that legislators in Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico, and Illinois are preparing similar “no-restriction abortion laws” which New York and Virginia have put forth. Something is happening here. This is a crucial moment. Abortion advocates are motivated by fear—that the Supreme Court may soon overturn Roe v. Wade and they want to ensure their states will allow abortion at any time for any reason. As Christians, we believe that human life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death, and we need to be prayerful and purposeful in working to protect the most vulnerable victims in our society.

7. Black History Month: Harriet Tubman: She was born into slavery around 1820 in Maryland. She was repeatedly whipped severely, and as a child was hit in the head by a lead weight which was being thrown at another slave who she happened to be standing beside. This cracked her skull and she suffered from seizures the rest of her life. She eventually escaped, but returned nineteen times to the slave states to rescue slaves. She personally rescued over 300 slaves in 11 years and became known as “Moses” for leading slaves out of bondage and into the freedoms of the “Promised Land” of the North. She never lost a single slave as a “conductor” in the Underground Railroad. A bounty of $40,000.00 was placed on her head for her capture. She was fearless and said, “I can’t die but once” and she was willing to give her life to save the lives of others. During the Civil War, she served as a Union army scout and spy, as well as nurse. She also helped lead (with Col. James Montgomery) an armed expedition to liberate more than 700 slaves. In all, she is credited with helping to free over 1,000 slaves. She said that she could have freed more, but many were so hopelessly blinded by their bondage in slavery, they didn’t even realize they were slaves, but just saw slavery as their natural and unchangeable station in life. She never learned to read, but she intensely listened to the voice of God, and was devout in her faith and her testimony was that she relied on the strength and deliverance of God. Fellow abolitionist said of her, that one “never met any person, of any color who had more confidence in the voice of God.” She died in poverty in 1913, but was buried with military honors.

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”

Pastor Carlson