Lent at St. Mary's

    In addition to Sunday worship services, St. Mary's offers the following programs and resources for the Lenten Journey in 2020. We pray that these prove helpful to you in this season of spiritual renewal.



    The Vestry of St. Mary's invites you to come to our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper in Moseley Hall from 5-7 pm on Tuesday, February 25th. The celebration will consist of more pancakes than you can handle and the return of the ever-popular delicious sausage from Nooherooka Natural Farms in Snow Hill! The cost of the dinner is $8 for adults and $6 for children under the age of 10. Proceeds from the dinner will be used for scholarships for youth events.

    The word 'shrove' comes from the term 'shrive,' meaning to free yourself 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 will also include burning the palms from last year's Palm Sunday into ashes for Ash Wednesday.


    Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020 with liturgies of Holy Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes as follows:

    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)


    Choral Evensong

    Wednesday evenings in Lent will begin with Choral Evensong at 5:30pm in the church (except for March 4th and April 1st, when healing prayers will be offered). Choral Evensong refers to the daily office liturgy of Evening Prayer, whenever most of it is set to music and accompanied by a choir.  Since the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549, Choral Evensong has been an evening offering in cathedrals and churches throughout the Anglican Communion.  There is no better way to begin our Wednesday evenings together than to gather for worship, to hear God's Word, to pray for ourselves and on behalf of others, and to sing God's praise.Click here to visit the BBC website that hosts the long-running live broadcast of beautiful Choral Evensong liturgies from around the United Kingdom.

    Prayer Course

    Lent is an invitation to a deeper relationship with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. During Lent 2020, we will continue our Wednesday evening program, the Prayer Course, which studies the Lord's Prayer.  This 8-week series begins Feb. 5th and will continue each Wednesday until Holy Week (with the exception of Ash Wednesday on Feb. 26th). Read more about the Prayer Course here.

    The nursery will be open during this time and programs for children through the 5th Grade as well as the EYC (Middle & High Schoolers) will also be offered.

    Here is the Wednesday evening schedule:


    5:30-6:00pm  Training Choristers meet
    5:50-6:00pm St. Cecilia's Choir joins Training Choristers
    6:00pm Supper for all in Moseley Hall at 6pm

    Prayer Course programs for Adults
    Jr. & Sr. EYC in the Youth Room
    Kids 2nd-5th Grade in Room 110 (beside Choir Room)
    Kids 1st-grade and younger in Room 108 (nursery)

    7:30pm Adult Choir rehearsal


    Way of the Cross (Stations)

    St. Mary’s will be offering the Way of the Cross 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.


    Lenten Quiet Day: Entering Lent with Thomas Merton

    St. Mary’s will offer a Lenten Quiet Day on Saturday, March 28th, 2020 from 9:30am-3:30pm.  You can expect Morning Prayer, quiet Lenten reflections from Merton, questions to help shape your Lenten experience, stillness, laughter, sacred conversation, and the Holy Eucharist. A light lunch will be provided as well. 

    Lisa Richey, ObJN, will lead this gathering. Lisa is an Episcopal layperson who lives at Lake Waccamaw, NC.  She is a recovering banker, current paper maker, spiritual director, retreat leader, and housekeeper to (the almost 16 year-old) Blossom the Diva Dawg. 

    We hope you will join us at St. Mary's for our Lenten Quiet Morning, where we hope to be still...and to be in the presence of our Lord. 

    For more information or to register, contact the church office at 252-523-6146 or email Father Tom Warren at  

    Contemplative Prayer  

    As you consider your Lenten fast and other spiritual practice possibilities, consider joining a group who will be learning about and practicing contemplative prayer on Wednesdays in Lent from 12:15pm - 1pm. This group will meet in the chancel area of the main sanctuary each Wednesday beginning on March 4. See Fr. Tom, Lee Albritton, or Randy Spaugh with any questions.


    On tables in the Narthex and on the information stand inside the office wing you will find two Lenten resources:

    • One booklet is entitled “2020 Lenten Meditations” and is provided by Episcopal Relief and Development.
    • The other is a daily calendar to help you make the most of the season
    Lent Madness

    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.

    St. Mary's will have "Saintly Scorecards" for you to take home and learn all about every holy man and woman in this year's Lent Madness event.  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 theWashington Post, NPR, Huffington Post, FOXNews, NBC, USAToday, and evenSports 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.

    We hope you’ll participate fully this Lent and vote with reckless abandon! (Once — this isn’t Chicago).