Local Episcopal Churches Team Up

The Episcopal churches of Wheeling and Moundsville will join together for Lenten study on Wednesday evenings, beginning Feb. 25, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1410 Chapline St., Wheeling.

The Rev. Dr. Bonnie Thurston of Wheeling will be the presenter. The theme for her presentations will be “Impediments to Easter: The Stones of Jesus’ Last Week,” based on passages of scripture from Luke 19:28-24:53.

Each program will be hosted by one of the four congregations and will begin with a light supper at 6 p.m. The host congregation will offer soup and beverage. Participants may bring their own sandwich or salad to supplement the meal.

The program will run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The presentations are open to the public, at no charge. The participating Episcopal churches are St. Matthew’s, Lawrencefield and St. Luke’s, all of Wheeling, and Trinity, Moundsville.

Each talk is self-contained. The weekly sessions are as follows:

  • Feb. 25 – “Impediments and Living Stones.” In this talk, Thurston will address these questions: “Why are we talking about rocks?” “What have they got to do with Lent and Easter?” and “What are my life’s foundations?”
  • March 4 – “Talking Stones and Absolute Destruction.” The presenter will discuss “Nobody said Lent would be fun: Life’s challenges.”
  • March 11 – “God’s Stony Reversals.” The session will consider the theme of “The rejected are chosen and what looks permanent isn’t. Then what?”
  • March 18 – “A Stone’s Throw Away.” In preparation for Passion Week, Thurston will ask, “How close are we willing to get to suffering?”
  • March 25 – “Jesus’ Rocks!” The presenter will talk about stones and their removal, tombs and their emptying, and the joy of Easter.

Thurston explained, “Impediments are things that stand between us and what we want to reach or accomplish, our goals. The etymological root of ‘impediment’ is ‘stone.'”

She commented, “This Lent we are invited to read, study and pray through the last week of Jesus’ life as recorded by St. Luke (19:28-24:11). To paraphrase a beloved African-American hymn, ‘Stony the Road He Trod,’ the ‘stones’ we encounter in the company of Jesus both challenge us and help us to prepare for His Passion and resurrection and the new life they offer.”

Thurston, a former professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, has written or edited numerous theological books and many articles, has contributed to reference works in New Testament and taught at the university level for 30 years.

Her most recent books, “A Place to Pay Attention” and “Practicing Silence,” were published in 2014. She has written five volumes of verse, and her poetry has been published in many periodicals.

Thurston’s church affiliations include the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Episcopal Church. She was ordained in 1984 and has served as co-pastor, pastor or interim of five churches and twice in overseas ministries. She is an experienced spiritual director and retreat leader.