Lent is an invitation to a deeper relationship with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In addition to Sunday worship services, St. Mary's offers the following programs and resources for the season of Lent in 2023. We pray that these prove helpful to you in this season of spiritual renewal.
SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE SUPPER
The word 'shrove' comes from the term 'shrive,' meaning to free oneself from sin. Families preparing for a season of refraining from fattening foods would clear out their cupboards before Lent. Pancakes are a traditional meal on Shrove Tuesday because they conveniently (and deliciously) use up eggs, butter, milk, and flour. Also called Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday"), our celebration at St. Mary's includes burning the palms from last year's Palm Sunday into ashes for use on Ash Wednesday.
We hope you will join us for our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 21st, from 5-7pm in Moseley Hall! For any donation, the celebration will consist of plate of pancakes, sausage, and fruit. Juice and tea will be available for dine-in option only. Proceeds from the dinner will be used for youth scholarships. Thank you to the EYC for hosting this event!! There will also be an option for to-go plates that may be picked up inside Moseley Hall. Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the beginning of Lent and is a day for great celebrations that use up cooking ingredients which many will forgo during Lenten fasts. Join us and invite a friend!
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023. The opening words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy are helpful in conveying the purpose and significance of the season of Lent, leading up to Easter. The officiant says:
"Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. 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. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer." (Book of Common Prayer, 264-265)
St. Mary’s will offer online and in-person Ash Wednesday liturgies at the following times:
- 7am in the All Saints' Chapel at St. Mary's
- 12 Noon at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church (707 E. Lenoir Ave., Kinston)
- 7pm in the Nave at St. Mary's (This service is also livestreamed at www.youtube.com/stmaryskinston)
Please note that the imposition of ashes is an optional part of the Ash Wednesday liturgy. At our in-person liturgies, the Officiant will offer ashes. For those worshiping with us online, please contact the church office for questions on the Imposition of Ashes.
WAY OF THE CROSS (STATIONS)
St. Mary’s will be offering the Way of the Cross indoors on Friday evenings at 5:45 p.m., beginning the Friday after Ash Wednesday.
Sometimes called the Stations of the Cross, this short devotional experience, usually about 20 minutes, is both tactile and meditative. As we move to each of the fourteen markers throughout the church, a different event of Jesus’ Passion is remembered. The Way of the Cross is an especially poignant way “that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby [God] has given us life and immortality,” to quote the Prayer Book’s collect for Palm Sunday. Please consider making a commitment to walk the Way of the Cross at least once this Lent.
Wednesday Nights During Lent - THE PRAYER COURSE
Beginning February 1st and continuing through March 29th, make plans to join us each Wednesday in Moseley Hall for our Lenten Wednesday Night Programming, The Prayer Course.
Similar to our previous Wednesday evening programs Alpha and Life Shared, The Prayer Course will begin with a shared meal at 6pm, followed by the program and small groups at 6:30pm. Enjoy friendship, fellowship, and a meal while exploring the Lord's Prayer and discussing matters of faith. ALL ARE WELCOME! We hope you will accept this invitation, and invite a friend, to a special season of meaningful spiritual growth and exploration this Fall with Alpha at St. Mary's. (Childcare will be provided.)
OTHER LENTEN RESOURCES
Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten Meditations
According to The Book of Common Prayer, Lent provides us with the opportunity for self-examination, repentance, prayer, fasting and self-denial; and to read and meditate on God’s holy word (BCP, p 265).
This Lenten Season, Episcopal Relief & Development invites you to join us as we meditate on the commandment to love our neighbor and consider the meaning of this fundamental instruction in our daily lives.
The Rev. Robin Denney, a parish priest and former missionary focused on agricultural development in Liberia and South Sudan, wrote this year’s meditations. Robin’s reflections are poignant and personal and challenge the reader to consider the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
Do you like March Madness? Do you learn from example by others around you and before you (like the saints of the church)? Then Lent Madness is for you! Each year, Lent Madness introduces followers to 32 people who have lived exemplary lives in their devotion to Jesus and, in a light-hearted way, invites us into conversation about the life of faith and discipleship in this 'tournament-style' game.
Check out the 2023 brackets by taking home a Saintly Scorecard from the church. Then go to www.lentmadness.org every day of Lent to keep up with your favorite saint. Click here for your printable scorecard. Get your family in on the action or start a group! May this devotion be a blessing to you this Lent.
Read the following from their website to learn more about what Lent Madness is:
Lent Madness began in 2010 as the brainchild of the Rev. Tim Schenck. In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the Church’s Calendar of Saints, Tim came up with this unique Lenten devotion. Combining his love of sports with his passion for the lives of the saints, Lent Madness was born on his blog “Clergy Family Confidential” which has subsequently moved locations and become “Clergy Confidential.”
The format is straightforward: 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 to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo. The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.
The major change from 2010 to 2011 was the introduction of four “celebrity bloggers” to champion particular saints through the Faithful Four. In 2012 we partnered with Forward Movement and Executive Director Scott Gunn to create our own website and broaden the number of people involved in the writing process, with Tim and Scott serving as the self-appointed Supreme Executive Committee.
Along the way we’ve added more celebrity bloggers, a poster-sized bracket, weekly Monday Madness videos, and the Saintly Scorecard, an annual publication containing all 32 first round bios, information about how to participate in Lent Madness as a congregation, and an essential Vocabulary List to decipher all things Lent Madness.
We’ve also inspired thousands of people along the way by forming an online community of people who are passionate about taking their faith but not themselves too seriously. Articles and spots about Lent Madness have appeared in the Washington Post, NPR, Huffington Post, FOX News, NBC, USA Today, and even Sports Illustrated.
As Lent Madness continues to grow and evolve, what won’t change is the essence of Lent Madness: allowing people to get to know some amazing people who have come before us in the faith and reminding one another that there’s no reason for a dreary Lenten discipline. If this helps people connect with the risen Christ during this season of penitence and renewal, and have a bit of fun in the process, then it continues to be worthwhile.