Lent at St. Peter's Church
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.
--Book of Common Prayer, p. 265
An Invitation to a Holy Lent
The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us all to observe a holy Lent. It is a time to be intentional and thoughtful about our faith, but also to acknowledge our own humanity. It is a time to slow down and re-prioritize our life of faith. It is a time to focus on cultivating our own relationship with God. In the Episcopal Church, we often focus on the three pillars of praying, fasting, and giving during this season. This page contains links and ideas for a variety of resources during Lent. Try one, or more, and see how this season of reflection and examination can bring you closer to God.
Two Lenten Activities
Our 3rd Annual Lenten Calendar is a wonderful way for Christians of all ages to journey through Lent. Each week points to the three pillars of Lent (prayer, fasting, and giving), with an additional focus on our baptismal vows. Keep it on the fridge or table for an accessible daily Lenten practice for the whole family!
Lent Madness began at Forward Movement in 2010 as a fun and irreverent way to combine the friendly competition of sports with Lenten devotions focused on the saints. It has gained in popularity each year, and has quite a following across the country (and possibly around the world). Each year, a selection of 32 saints are placed in a competitive bracket format, with online voting each weekday of Lent to determine who moves on in each round to ultimately win the Golden Halo. Learning about saints, who are complex, not-perfect Christians like many of us, is a great way to engage children in a Lenten faith-at-home activity--check out this Grow Christians article for suggestions! Fill out your bracket, follow the competition, and vote for your favorites!
Prayer is an integral part of many Lenten practices. We are invited to engage in self-examination and repentance in order to remove the self-imposed barriers between us and God. This is something we can only accomplish with God's help, which we ask for through prayer. As Martin Luther said, "To be a Christian without prayer is not more possible than to be alive without breathing."
This Lent, St. Peter's is pleased to offer a variety of opportunities for Lenten devotions. They are available in the church office or following worship services in the narthex.
- This year, we will join the Good Book Club! If you want to grow in your faith, regular engagement with Scripture is the perfect exercise. Join with Episcopalians all over the country as we read the Gospel of Luke in Lent and the Acts of the Apostles during Easter.
- An Illustrated Lent for Families includes devotionals, coloring pages, and activities for families to use together as they journey through Lent.
- Pray As You Go offers brief daily sessions designed to cultivate prayer, using music, scripture, and reflections.
- Neu Bible is a Bible app that is simply designed and easily navigated.
- Daily Office (available on iOS or Android) offers the Morning and Evening Prayer services for each day, right on your phone or device!
- The Society of Saint John the Evangelist is offering a series of reflective study on the Book of John this season. Sign up for daily emails, and download the accompanying prayer journal for Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John.
- Redeem the Commute's Daily Challenge Series offers a variety of topics for individuals wanting to be part of a community of people being challenged to live differently by following Jesus.
- Flame Creative Children's Ministry offers artistic and multi-sensory ideas for engaging children throughout the season.
- Grow Christians, one of our favorite new websites, has some great ideas and articles about real-world Christian parenting.
For Youth & Young Adult:
- An article at Building Faith gives ideas for talking about Lent with teenagers.
- Even if you don't follow the curriculum at Sticky Faith, it might give you some starting points for the Lenten season.
- This article at Youth Worker gives some additional talking points that can jump-start a personal Lenten journey for youth and young adults.
Fasting is a discipline of self-denial that is often part of Lenten devotions. This brings us closer to God. Jesus fasted in the desert as a means to focus on prayer, for example. Fasting can be a means of shedding whatever is standing between you and God. In fact, sometimes Lenten fasting isn't always giving up something, but taking on a new discipline or behavior that brings you closer to God. Take a look at this list to see what calls to you this Lent! As you choose, think about what you could do that would help you grow closer to God. Adapt any of these to fit your family's health and ages.
- Fast from a few meals each week, and give the money that you would have spent to organizations working to help hungry people, like Open Door, Episcopal Relief & Development, or Bread for the World.
- Take the Food Stamp Challenge. Try to stick to the daily food stamp allowance that millions of American families rely on. The average daily amount is $4.20 a day per person.
- Try a food-desert fast. There are many people who don't have access to grocery stores in their neighborhoods, which restricts their access to healthy, fresh foods. Consider living for a week on food from convenience stores!
- Consider taking the extreme poverty fast, even for a few days. There are roughly a billion people in the world who live on less than $1.25 per day.
- Try to fast from media. You could limit it to TV, social media, the internet, blogs, or all of the above--whatever takes too much of your attention away from God and your family.
- Fast from people! Pare down social events and social media, and limit texting and emails. Jesus gives us this model of solitude during his time in the desert.
- Consider fasting from money. Pay your bills and put food on the table, but hold back on all non-essential spending. The exercise of "want vs. need" might surprise you!
Adding On Ideas
- Add reading to your daily routine. Find a devotional book (we've got several on offer this year!) or pick a book of the Bible. Spend this quiet time with God each day.
- Build relationships this season. Cultivate a new relationship or mend a broken one.
- Care for yourself. Commit to exercise and self-care. Take a spiritual retreat--a day, a half-day, or even an hour. Worship regularly!
Lenten Formation Activities at St. Peter's
Wednesday, February 14: Ash Wednesday Services at noon and 7:30 pm
Sunday, February 25: LIFE 2.0 Worship & Music Series -- Bell Choir The first of a four-part Lenten series introducing participants to the various parts of the music ministries at St. Peter's. This week's focus: the Bell Choir! This is for all ages and active participation is invited!
Wednesday, February 28: Healing Eucharist A special weekday evening service with focus on healing
Sunday, March 4: LIFE 2.0 Worship & Music Series -- The Organ The second in our Lenten series features a demonstration of our wonderful organ and "how things work"--great for anyone curious about this machine that provides an integral part of our weekly worship!
Sunday, March 11: LIFE 2.0 Worship & Music Series -- Peter's Rock Band The third session in our series features our own praise band, Peter's Rock! Check out the different instruments and styles of music during this all-ages demonstration!
Sunday, March 18: LIFE 2.0 Worship & Music Series -- St. Peter's Choir Our final installment of this Lenten series introduces the St. Peter's Choir. Hear some beautiful music in the traditional Anglican tradition at this demonstration!
Sunday, March 25: LIFE 2.0 Journey through Holy Week and Pysanky Workshop Join us as we prepare for Holy Week with activities for children in Classroom A and our 2nd Annual Pysanky Workshop for older teens and adults in the Parish Hall. Registration is requested for the Workshop, but all are welcome!
Sunday, March 25: Palm Sunday Services at 8:00 am and 10:00 am
Thursday, March 29: Maundy Thursday Service at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 30: Good Friday Services at noon and 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 31: Easter Vigil Service at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 1: Easter Services at 8:00 am and 10:00 am