We recently hosted Rev. Dr. Joseph Daniels from Emory Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Sharing about his ministry overseeing a church and an affordable housing project, he had words of challenge and inspiration for us. At that District Professionals meeting, I also shared information about the district’s current apportionment giving. Our overall giving to apportionments in the Capital District is significantly down. This reality is impacting funds available for Mission Board to grant for various missional causes. The executive team for the Mission Board will meet next week to make decisions on the best way forward given these current realities. In these tenuous times, continued prayer and discernment about how God is calling us to lead and serve is important. As people of faith, I also believe it is crucial for us to lead with an assurance of God’s abiding presence with us. While there are a host of distractions in our daily lives making it difficult to see the signs of life and hope God is sending to us, this Lent I’m trying to remember that I have a choice in what I see and that to which I give energy. May we be strengthened these days in our ability to choose what is life-giving. Among the encouraging words Dr. Daniels shared with us, these are some of the ones that stay with me:“There is much giftedness in our congregations.”“Transformative connections happen when we build relationships that aren’t transactions.”“You don’t declare a vision; the vision comes to you. Take visioning time with God to see what God wants, not what you want.” Stay encouraged!Teresa Lent, by Christina Rossetti It is good to be last not first,Pending the present distress;It is good to hunger and thirst,So it be for righteousness.It is good to spend and be spent,It is good to watch and to pray:Life and Death make a goodly LentSo it leads us to Easter Day.