In the season of Lent, running roughly 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, we are invited to a “holy observance…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, 265)
On February 14 we begin the season anew. Here you can find resources to help you, your family, and your congregation step back from daily routine and more fully participate in this time of preparation and reflection.
Do you have resources you would like to share with the wider diocese? Please let us know.
Most have heard of it, but few congregations have tried it. Why not step outside your church walls this Ash Wednesday and share some of what Emily Mellott from Calvary Episcopal Church in Lombard, IL calls “liturgical evangelism.”
To get started, check out this this tip sheet for the whys and hows of doing Ashes to Go: Ashes to Go Tip Sheet >
Download A Prayer for Ash Wednesday to hand-out during your Ashes to Go event. It provides a script for the imposition of ashes, invites those receiving ashes to worship with your congregation, and gives some background on why we observe the beginning of Lent with ashes. It is set up to be easily customized with information about your church.
The five-minute video Remember that You Are but Dust, can help you reflect on the significance of Ash Wednesday and serve as preparation for an Ashes to Go ministry.
Retreat, Prayer, & Scripture Study
Living Lent can be difficult unless you break the habits and routines of everyday life. Withdraw from week-in, week-out busyness to spend time with God in prayer, Scripture study, and small-group conversation.
If you don’t currently have a structured prayer life, consider committing yourself to praying the Daily Office during Lent. The four-fold form of Anglican prayer–including Morning Prayer (which takes about ~20 min), Noonday Prayer (~5 min), Evening Prayer (~20 min), and Compline (~7 min)–draws on Scripture to invite us into a rhythm of daily quietude. For the office in its full form (including daily scripture readings, appointed collects, and some additional add-ons), see the Office of Faith Formation’s Daily Prayer page.
Forward Movement has announced the Good Book Club, a church-wide program that invites all Episcopalians to read Luke and Acts during Lent-Easter 2018. Participants in the Good Book Club will begin reading Luke the Sunday before Lent, February 11, 2018, and finish up the Book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, May 20, 2018.
The Good Book Club website (goodbookclub.org) lists the daily readings, as well as available resources to support people as they read the scriptures. Resources will be available in Spanish at ClubBiblico.org. The website also has a video invitation by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, and answers questions such as “Why Read the Bible?” and “Why Luke and Acts?”
Forward Day by Day, Forward Movement’s flagship devotional, will use Good Book Club readings during Lent-Easter 2018 instead of the usual daily lectionary. In this way, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will be joining the Good Book Club.
Lenten Retreat: March with the Mystics, March 16-18 at Cathedral Ridge
Today in 21st century, the message and example of the mystics speaks to us more than in any previous age. The New Science reveals to us what the mystics have always known and experienced…that we are all interconnected energetically. Join us as we explore the lives and experiences of such famous mystics as Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and Hildegard of Bingen, together with some less well-known but equally relevant ones. We will discover how they each speak across the ages to inform us in our lives in our current turbulent world. Our time together will be spent in the beautiful retreat setting of Cathedral Ridge, with a mixture of community prayer, silence, presentations, and small group time. There will be ample opportunity to journal, hike, or rest, and with good food and cozy lodging this will be a wonderful way to be intentional about your Lenten practice. This year’s retreat will be led by the Rev. Michelle Danson, Episcopal priest, spiritual director, retreat leader, and educator. Read more and register >
More Daily Disciplines
Lent Madness is a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the Church’s Calendar of Saints. Use it for daily devotions, a church-wide “competition,” or small group activity.
How does it work?
- 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket.
- Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and
people vote for their favorite saint.
- 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen.
- Eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight.
- Four make it to the Faithful Four.
- Two progress to the Championship.
- The winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.
The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Subsequent rounds add quotes and quirks and explore legends. Read more >
2018 Saintly Scorecards and giant-sized Bracket Posters can be purchased from Forward Movement.
Free, downloadable match-up calendars and bracket posters are available on the Lent Madness website.
Newly released, Holy Solitude focuses on the traditional practice of prayer in solitude, along with traditional practices of fasting and almsgiving. The author devotes a chapter to helping readers get ready for their Lenten discipline: preparing a calendar, creating prayerful spaces and routines, and learning how to ease into fasting and almsgiving. Read more >
Walk to Jerusalem
Calculate the miles to Jerusalem (from your house) and how many feet you will need to cover in a mile…then set you vision on “walking” to Jerusalem. Count your daily steps to accumulate the mileage needed. This practice is good for meditation and even better for our health, especially our hearts and minds. ~ Submitted by AliceMarie Slaven-Emond, St. Luke’s, Delta
- Miles to Jerusalem from Denver: 6885.
- That’s 172 miles a day for each of the 40 days of Lent.
- Let’s say I think I can walk five miles (about 10,000 steps) a day for 40 days.
- Each mile I walk translates to 34.4 miles on the journey to Jerusalem (5×34.4=172).
- I should be in Ohio by day six!
You may also choose to walk from Nazareth to Jerusalem, a journey of 91 miles (about 182,000 steps). That’s 4,550 steps for 40 days.
This three-part curriculum focuses on the seasons of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, and works best in a small-group format. The Lenten series, The Crucified Life, can serve as the beginning of the trilogy or stand on its own. Participants explore Christ’s last words spoken from the cross:
- Forgiveness – Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
- Salvation – Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
- Relationship – Woman, behold your son… Behold your mother.
- Distress – I thirst.
- Abandonment – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
- Reunion – Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
- Triumph – It is finished.
Children and Youth
These tips could of course apply to any group hosting a pancake supper, but in many parishes it’s the youth group organizing the event, often with donations going toward upcoming service trips. This article helps you come up with a list of supplies, make a plan for preparing various food items, an organize volunteers. There’s even a printable placemat included. Read more >
This tactile way of praying the Lord’s Prayer makes a meaningful daily discipline for children, but could be used for all ages. The cross could be kept in the family prayer space in the home (see below) and the prayer said at the same time each day. Use the following steps to make the cross:
1. Print the tracing cross pattern (found below) on color cardstock.
2. Glue the tracing cross to a piece of scrapbook paper that is cut slightly larger than cross.
3. Cut and add an additional cross on top. This cross can be a complementing color/pattern. See image below.
4. Laminate the entire project.
5. Optional: Punch a hole in the top corner and insert key ring or add ribbon loop.
Read more >
Pinterest Board for Lent
Search Faith Formation Episcopal Colorado and check out our pins for Lent.
Families ~ at Home Resources
An invitation for children to wonder about the Lenten story. This unique book teaches children to experience Lent with all their senses, and to see it as a special time for creating a welcoming space for God. Simple activities like cleaning a room, making bread and soup, and inviting a neighbor for supper become acts of justice and kindness, part of a life of following Christ, and a way to make room for God in our lives and in the world around us. Read more and order >
[excerpt]…In a family with small children, how do you create the space to journey through Lent in a developmentally appropriate way? Our family has tried different practices and readings through Lent, but one thing has been constant in our Lenten practices: creating a collection of symbolic items in a central place in the home (i.e. on the family table or on a stand in a main living area).
As my boys grow and our family changes, this sacred space changes. Items I always include are a candle, a cross, an empty bowl to represent fasting, a scripture passage and/or prayer, and a small Bible. All of these items are placed on a purple cloth. We’ve also included a poem, art postcard or alms tin some years. Read more >
Several years ago a group of St. Gabriel parishioners of all ages gathered at the church for its first-ever cross walk. Parishioners carpooled to a starting location about a mile and a half from the church, with a six-foot homemade cross tied to the top of one of the cars. After an opening prayer, the walk began. Participants took turns shouldering the cross and leading the group in Stations of the Cross. When the group arrived back at the church, each person wrote a prayer and nailed it to the cross, which was then raised in the church’s St. Francis garden. Since then, the church has tried different routes, each yielding a unique experience. The cross walk, in spite of traffic noise and other outdoor distractions, is a surprisingly intimate and focusing event. And it comes with a reminder of the significance of the day for passersby. What do you need for your own cross walk? People of all ages, a large cross, a predefined route, and a prayer handout for each person. ~ Submitted by Tracy Methe, St. Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church, Cherry Hills Village