It’s almost time for Lent. That season of reflection and repentance. The season that calls us to take stock of our lives – to do a spiritual inventory if you will. Every year, Lent arrives just as we’re feeling that Winter is getting a bit long, and we are yearning for the light, and the sense of new life that is around the corner. Over and over, we enter into this time, leaning into the rhythm of the Church, established over decades and centuries.
Again and Again, we enter Lent together to prepare for rebirth. For new life. For resurrection. And the only way out of Lent is through. As with so many things in life.
And so, we offer you a variety of resources and opportunities to engage, to practice and to worship in the coming season. Many of the resources we will be sharing come from a ministry called A Sanctified Art. We purchased its Lenten Series called “Again & Again” this year and we are pleased to be able to share them with you.
We are pleased to offer you these possibilities for your Lenten journey:
Shrove Tuesday Agape Meal
On Tuesday, February 16th, some of our Licensed Lay Worship Leaders are offering a chance to gather for an Agape Meal of Pancakes! So, while we might not be able to gather in the gym, but we can still share pancakes virtually. Please email Heather McGrath (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details as to time and Zoom link.
Ash Wednesday Take-Home Kits
The first resource from Again and Again is an Ash Wednesday liturgy to use at home in your family and friends’ bubble. Ash Wednesday is marked on Wednesday February 17 and is the beginning of Lent. We have created take home kits that will be available for pick up 24/7 just outside the church door (look for a large blue plastic tote bin) between noon on Thursday, Feb 11th and noon on Wednesday, Feb 17th.
Included in each kit:
- A printout of the liturgy for the imposition of ashes
- 3 “Doodle” pages. If your group needs more, please go ahead and make as many copies as you need.
- A small bag of dry ashes. (we suggest using them dry to avoid stains on clothing, linens, carpets, etc.)
You might also want to gather up other supplies, such as a candle and lighter, for your time of worship. All the items you need are listed in the liturgy. With this kit, you can set aside some time on Wed Feb 17 and mark the beginning of Lent. Our thanks to Marie Ruddick for prayerfully putting the kits together.
Any questions or need support? Please contact Caroline or Molly.
Lenten Devotional Practices
Lent is a wonderful time to commit to a new or additional daily spiritual practice. Often, people choose to use a devotional – a collection of scripture verses, reflection questions and short prayers as the foundation for this practice. This year, we offer you not one, but three resources for your devotional practice!
The first one comes as a generous gift from Glen Stoudt as an extension of his ministry of spiritual direction among us. Glen has prayed the scriptures for several weeks now and has compiled a collection of short reflections and prayers for the Lenten season.
The second is part of the Again and Again collection. It is a devotional booklet that you can choose to view on your device or as a printed booklet.
The third is a collection of cards, each containing a reflection or phrase and an image to ponder and contemplate. Again, we are including this as a digital resource, which you can choose to print or pick up at the church. If you choose to print these yourself, you will want to print them as a two-sided document and then cut out each card. For some of you, this might be a lovely and grounding practice.
All of these will be available on our website (www.orleansunitedchurch.com) from Tuesday February 16 until Tuesday March 16. We will also have printed copies available in the bin outside the parking lot entrance of the church as of Wednesday February 17.
Decluttering as a Spiritual Practice
Once again, and in keeping with the energy of our pandemic lockdown, we are also reminding you of the option to make intentional decluttering part of your Lenten Practice this year. This is a wonderful way to make space in your home and in your heart.
More information is available at: https://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days/
Over the season of Lent we will have Sunday worship services to sustain us on our journey. You can expect the following worship services to be offered on-line (premier Sundays at 10 am and then available on demand on the Orleans United YouTube channel)
Sunday Feb 21 – 1st Sunday of Lent – worship offered by Virtch (Molly preaching)
Sunday Feb 28 – 2nd Sunday of Lent – worship offered by Virtch (Queenswood preaching)
Sunday March 7 – 3rd Sunday of Lent – worship offered by the Interchurch Refugee Group
Sunday March 14 – 4th Sunday of Lent – worship offered by Virtch (Eric preaching)
Sunday March 21 – 5th Sunday of Lent – worship offered by Virtch (Pete preaching)
Sunday March 28 – Palm Sunday – worship offered by Virtch (Caroline preaching)
Thursday April 1 – Holy Thursday – online worship with communion offered by OUC
Friday April 2 – Good Friday – online worship offered by the Virtch collective
Sunday April 4 – Easter Sunday – online worship offered by OUC
Lenten Book Study
This Lent we will be focusing on diversity and inclusion as we study the book “me and white supremacy” by Layla Saad. This is a book that asks readers to participate in a 28-day journey of reflection about white privilege, behaviours and attitudes. Rev. Molly has read this book and found it to be honest, accessible, thought-provoking, and powerful. While the subject challenges many of us about our core beliefs, we also feel it is time that we as Christians do some of the hard work required to change ourselves and the world around us.
Revs Molly & Caroline will be leading this book study along with a special guest each week. We will hold the study by Zoom on Tuesday nights from 7-8:30 pm. Our course will begin on Tuesday February 23 and last for 5 weeks, ending March 23. You are welcome to join us for some or for all of the sessions. If you cannot make the course, we would still highly recommend you read this book on your own, and engage in the reflection exercises within.
If you are interested in attending this book study, please email Rev. Molly or Rev. Caroline or Kim in the office (email@example.com) to sign up. You can go ahead and acquire the book as well – there are copies available for purchase in our local Chapters, online, on Kobo, on Amazon, and local bookstores (e.g. Books on Beechwood). Molly can help you obtain a copy of the book if you are unable to order online.
Grace and peace,
Molly & Caroline