Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, marks the beginning of Lent, 40 days of repentance and reflection that leads to Easter on April 12. Here is a selection of resources intended to enrich congregational or individual prayer and meditation during Lent.
Designed for use as an individual reflection or for group study, this daily devotional provides a foundation for seeking a deeper experience of Lent, an experience that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Easter.
Includes reflections from:
The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington,
The Rev. Theodora Nmade Brooks,
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde,
Anna Fitch Courie,
The Rev. Jenifer Gamber,
The Rev. Heidi Haverkamp,
The Rev. Jan Kwiatkowski,
Bishop Samuel Rodman, and
The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
Available in both print and electronic editions, with a free downloadable facilitator guide for group use. The Living Compass Wellness Initiative creates tools and resources to support meaningful conversations about growth change for adults, teens, parents, and families. The initiative happens in a variety of settings, including faith communities. Living Compass is supported by the Samaritan Family Wellness Foundation. To learn more, go to www.livingcompass.org.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s 2020 Lenten Meditations
Episcopal Relief & Development celebrates the spiritual lives of children and how they inspire the spiritual lives of adults in its 2020 Lenten Meditations, available in English and Spanish at www.episcopalrelief.org/lent.
In September 2019, the organization embarked on a three-year fundraising campaign, “One Thousand Days of Love,” in order to expand its global work with children.
“As we save children, we save ourselves, we save our world,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church. “This Lent, I invite supporters to join Episcopal Relief & Development in focusing on the spiritual lessons we can learn from the children in our lives and around the world.”
Through a partnership with Grow Christians, the 2020 Lenten Meditations focus on the gifts of children in the poignant and joyous recollections and reflections of educators, caregivers, parents and grandparents from around The Episcopal Church.
“More than a decade ago, General Convention asked Episcopalians to remember and support Episcopal Relief & Development during Lent. Since then, our annual observance of a holy Lent has been made more meaningful by remembering their lifesaving work around the globe,” said the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president, House of Deputies, and a contributor to the Lenten Meditations. “Each year, I am grateful for the daily meditation booklet and online devotional that forms part of my Lenten discipline and for those across the church who contribute to it.”
Globally, 155 million children under the age of six are not able to reach their full potential because of inadequate nutrition, health care and other critical essentials. The first three years of life are critical to form a foundation for future learning, good health and well-being. Episcopal Relief & Development partners with communities to ensure children have access to food, clean water and quality health care. The 2020 Lenten Meditations support One Thousand Days of Love to expand the organization’s programs that focus on children.
The meditations are available as printed booklets, daily email meditations and as audio podcasts available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and SoundCloud. To have printed copies of the Lenten Meditations by Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, orders must be received by Forward Movement by Feb. 5. Orders may be placed by visiting www.ForwardMovement.org or calling 1.800.543.1813. Lenten booklets and other resources including hope chests, pew envelopes, bulletin inserts and special prayers are available.
Supporters are also invited to sign up for daily email meditations in English and Spanish and to subscribe to the meditations as podcasts.
Episcopal Relief & Development works with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world in its three signature program areas: women, children and climate.
New books for Lent include:
“God be in my Head: The Sarum Prayer” by Ken Wilson is a step-by-step introduction to the prayer that fosters conscious contact with God. With 40 short meditations, it draws the reader into the different aspects of the prayer each day and can serve as a guide for Lent.
“Living the Way of Love: A 40-day Devotional” by Mary Bea Sullivan contains 40 brief reflections that follow the practices of the Episcopal Church’s Way of Love — Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. It includes a guide for creating a personal rule of life and a downloadable facilitator’s guide.
“Sense and Sensibility: A Lenten Exploration” by Sam Portaro is an exploration of the five physical senses — one for each week in Lent — as pathways to a fuller awareness of ourselves and our relationship to God.
More information is available at www.churchpublishing.org.
“Good Lord Deliver Us: 40 Days of Lent” by Lindsay Hardin Freeman and Leonard Freeman offers daily reflections for the Lenten journey guided by the heart and vision of 32 petitions from Thomas Cranmer’s Great Litany. The Freemans offer strength and encouragement for the walk to the cross as they look at the many ways in which deliverance arrives. Their reflections speak of human frailty and holy grace, of the longings and aspirations of our human hearts, and of the transformative power of God’s abiding love.
“Ashes and the Phoenix: Meditations for the Season of Lent,” edited by Leonard Freeman, features reflections by such esteemed writers as Cynthia Cannon, Mary Cox, Jason Leo, Teresa Pasquale Mateus, C.K. Robertson, Porter Taylor, and Glenice Robinson-Como. Highlighted by Freeman’s poetry and guided by the collects for Lent and Holy Week, “Ashes and the Phoenix” seeks to lead the reader through the emotions, symbols, sights, sounds, and scents of Lent. It featuring original woodcuts by artist Jason Sierra.
For more information, go to www.ForwardMovement.org.
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
The Massachusetts-based community has announced that for Lent, it invites individuals and groups to “explore the riches of our worship traditions, liturgy and sacraments, and the art and architecture of our worship spaces, revealing the full meaning of these signs, deepening our experience of Christian vocation and guiding us toward ongoing conversion.”
A free five-week offering, entitled “Signs of Life: Why Church Matters,” was designed and produced by the society, a religious order for men in the Episcopal Church, and by Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va.
The five sections are titled Light, Water, Food, Shelter, Community. The course may be accessed online at www.ssje.org and www.signsoflife.org. There is a complete forum curriculum and reader available. In addition, a Signs of Life Lenten calendar of daily practices is available that invites the user to connect Scripture, liturgy and practice through the signs of light, water, food, shelter and community to follow the Way of Love.
Silence & the Grace of Lent
St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development is hosting a weekend-long silent retreat at the start of Lent, beginning Feb. 28 and ending March 1.
“Every Lent, people are called to go apart, to enter into silence, and allow grace to flow more freely within and through themselves. This Lent, consider participating in a weekend-long silent retreat that includes two hours of centering prayer daily, the practices of lectio divina and visio divina, daily prayerful movement/yoga, celebration of the Eucharist, and the opportunity to meet with retreat leaders Mary Ann Best, Carolyn Goddard, and LeAnn Billups.
St. Mary’s is located in Sewanee, Tenn. More information is available at www.stmaryssewanee.org. Contact Mary Beth Best at email@example.com.