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UNION AVENUE CHRISTIAN CHURCH will once again host a Wednesday evening Lenten Study Series shared between the three Union Communion congregations — Pilgrim Congregational United Church, Westminster Presbyterian, and Union Avenue. We will gather for a potluck meal, beginning each Wednesday at 5:15 p.m., and then break into groups for dialogue and discovery. This year there are four learning tracks:

A BOOK STUDY continuing our conversation on racism and white privilege using the book The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, a Disciples pastor in North Carolina and chair of the NAACP Legislative Political Action Committee who has been heralded as this era's Dr. King. At a time when divide-and-conquer politics are exacerbating racial strife and economic inequality, Rev. Barber offers an impassioned, historically grounded argument that Moral Mondays are hard evidence of an embryonic Third Reconstruction in America.

A BIBLE STUDY on the Passion story from the Gospel according to Mark, using the commentary The Last Week by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan as a guide to explore what the Gospels really teach about Jesus' final days in Jerusalem. The two texts converge to reveal the historical Jesus who engages us and invites us to follow him.

A VISUAL ARTS STUDY using Paul Smith's collection Faces of Jesus as the foundation for exploring our relationship with this man whose face we've never seen but whose heart continues to be our guiding star. Through viewing a digital slideshow of the collection, this study will explore various depictions of Jesus in art across many centuries, cultures, and artistic styles. Ongoing interaction with this collection of images invites new ways to ponder the person of Christ and wrestle with our understandings of faith in ways that help us grow closer to God and to humanity.

A CINEMATIC STUDY using the 2000 Miramax film Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, and Johnny Depp, as the backdrop for discovering new meaning and insight into our annual Lenten journey. Set in a religiously staunch (and oppressed) French village, a young mother (Binoche) opens up a chocolaterie at the beginning of the 1959 Lenten season and runs into conflict with the ultra-pious and traditional town mayor. The film and discussion will explore the meaning of Lent, the nature of hospitality, the wisdom and renewal found in change, the love in accepting others, and the strength in becoming oneself through reflection and growth.

Please contact the church office [(314) 361-8844] to reserve your spot in one of the weekly study opportunities.