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 2nd 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. 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 Lenten devotional books. They are available in the church office or following worship services in the narthex.
- Episcopal Relief & Development's Lenten Meditations for 2017, in which a variety of writers from around the globe explore what it means to live faithfully in community.
- Ashes and the Phoenix, Forward Movement's 2017 Lenten meditations, features poetry by Len Freeman and leads us through the emotions, symbols, sights, sounds, and scents of Lent.
- Meeting Jesus on the Margins is Forward Movement's 2016 Lenten meditations focusing on Matthew 25. We offer this a second year in light of its continued relevance as we consider Jesus's example to serve and be served by "the least of these."
- 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 Five Marks of Love series by the Society of St. John the Evangelist offers daily emails with short videos and reflections.
- Inward/Outward offers brief daily reflections, either by email subscription or on the website.
- Lent 2017: The Journey to Easter is a series of brief reflections that can provide inspiration for journals, daily affirmations, or even be posted on Facebook or Twitter!
- 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, March 1: Ash Wednesday Services at noon and 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 5: LIFE 2.0: The Adventure of Lent Join us in the Parish Hall following the 10:00 am worship service
Sundays, March 5-April 2: Saints on Sunday All-ages formation class for children focused on learning about different saints. Meets at 9:00 am in the Parish Hall
Sunday, April 2: LIFE 2.0: Pysanky Workshop Join us in the Parish Hall following the 10:00 am worship service
Sunday, April 9: Palm Sunday Services at 8:00 am and 10:00 am
Thursday, April 13: Maundy Thursday Service at 7:30 pm
Friday, April 14: Good Friday Services at noon and 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 15: Easter Vigil Service at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 16: Easter Services at 8:00 am and 10:00 am