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.
Four Lenten Activities
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.
We will be using the United Thank Offering Calendar (available in English and Spanish) for Lent this year—it is a wonderful way for Christians of all ages to journey through Lent. Each day offers a brief spotlight on the variety of global ministries receiving grant funds from UTO, plus the opportunity to add coins to your little blue UTO box. Keep the calendar 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!
This year, we will be exploring Are We There Yet? Pilgrimage in the Season of Lent. Pilgrimages—and pilgrims—come in all shapes and sizes: Whether we embark on arduous journeys on desert paths or mountaintops or through the difficult terrains of the soul, we come to realize that the journey is the heart of the endeavor. This Lent, choose to walk with Jesus on a path of prayer, pilgrimage, and praise. Order the book through Forward Movement, or pick up a copy at church. Read as an individual, or join us for one or more of our Panera Chats (schedule coming soon).
An Illustrated Lent for Families includes devotionals, coloring pages, and activities for families to use together as they journey through Lent. This excellent resource is wonderful for building faith-at-home awareness. This year, this devotional is focused on prayer, and establishing traditions and habits that work for your family.
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."
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.
The Society of Saint John the Evangelist offers a series of reflective studies that are easily adaptable for Lent. They can be done individually or in small groups. Sign up for daily emails for one of the following:
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.
This one is courtesy of our Rector’s Warden: try a 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. Our Thrift Shop will be happy to accept your gently-used clothes and housewares, your house will feel less cluttered, and you may free yourself from the consumerism that dominates our culture.
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 (check out Forward Movement’s selection for ideas) 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 Events at St. Peter's
Wiggle and Worship, for children through 6th grade, is available each Sunday during the 10:00 am service.
LIFE 2.1 (Living in Faith Everyday), our intergenerational formation program, is available each Sunday in the Parish Hall following the 10:00 am service.
Wednesday, March 6: Ash Wednesday Services at noon and 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 31: Choral Evensong Service at 4:00 pm
Sunday, April 14: Palm Sunday Services at 8:00 am and 10:00 am
Thursday, April 18: Maundy Thursday Service at 7:30 pm
Friday, April 19: Good Friday Services at noon and 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 20: Easter Vigil Service at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 21: Easter Services at 8:00 am and 10:00 am