Ash Wednesday comes early this year, February 6. It won't be this early again for decades. That means that by the time you're reading this, Lent is about to begin, or already has.

We enter into our most sober Christian season, a season of penitence and inward reflection. Some think there is plenty of opportunity for others to repent. Some Anglicans are calling upon the American Churches to repent of what they consider heretical acceptance of a bishop openly gay, and this diocese for blessing same sex unions; many North Americans would like to see repentance of what they consider schismatic acts.

But repentance must come from the heart, and if in their hearts people don't feel they can or should not change their minds-well, after a full dialog, there's not much we can do but leave judgment to God.

This Lent, if we don't plan to repent as others want us to, the let us consider what the Anglican Church is likely to be going through-very soon. One doubts many bishops are looking forward that much to the Lambeth Conference in England this summer, particularly if it's at all like the last one in 1998 that seriously marred by ecclesiastical politics and bad feelings.

In this country, not many relish the controversy that seems to be inevitable after a very vocal group has declared they could well follow a retired bishop out of the Anglican Church of Canada and into a most irregular relationship with the Primate of a group of South American Anglican Churches, the Southern Cone.

Those leaving could include a number of priests and people in a few congregations. There will be emotional disagreements about property, property that the diocese feels it must continue to insist is not simply its own to give to people who wish to leave the Anglican Church of Canada, but held in trust for those in years to come.

So as we enter Lent, let us ponder the problems we all face-much as we'd like to escape by not thinking about them-and pray for guidance. Let us pray for strength and courage to do the right thing.

Bishop Michael Ingham's suggestions are a good starting place for thinking about these things. And remember the Church has experienced difficult times before, and God has-and will-see all of us through.