The forty day season of Lent is just around the corner. Ash Wednesday, February 17 marks its beginning. This day also marks the introduction of outdoor services at St. Paul’s. At 12:10 p.m. we will gather in the garden and parking lot area for a service of Imposition of Ashes and Holy Eucharist. We ask that you bring a lawn chair to sit on, wear a mask, and keep at least six feet away from your neighbor. Beginning on the first Sunday in Lent, February 21, our Sunday worship schedule is changing. The 8:00 a.m. service will be moved to 8:30 a.m. This will be a live streamed Holy Eucharist with music inside the church. No in-person seating will be available at this service. At 10:30 a.m. we will offer an outdoor service of Holy Eucharist with music. Unlimited seating is available. Rather than having a separate Children’s service at 9:30 a.m., we will all worship together as the good Lord intended. Outdoor services are cancelled if there is inclement weather or the temperature is below 50 degrees.
As the pandemic continues, we need to make some adjustments to our Lenten traditions, but fear not, you can still have pancakes and celebrate Mardi Gras in style on Shrove Tuesday. The Parish Life Team has put together Pancake Party Packs which you can pick up on Sunday, February 14, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon, and then again, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. “Lent in a Box” kits for individuals and families will also be available for pick up. These kits contain tactile reminders and day by day devotions to help you keep a holy Lent. The kit also contains ashes which you can impose on yourself if you are unable to attend the outdoor Ash Wednesday service.
The Book of Common Prayer invites us to observe Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” Often, we think about giving up something for Lent. Some of us give up candy, or screen time, or drinking alcohol, or make some other personal sacrifice. Others of us, take on a discipline of intentional Bible study, prayer, or doing works of charity. On Wednesday nights, beginning on February 24 at 6:00 p.m., you are invited to a Zoom study series on the Eucharist, “From many into One,” led by Adam Pierce. Adam will also lead Racial Reconciliation: White Fragility, beginning on March 1 at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. You may also decide to join us via Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. for Morning Prayer and 8:00 p.m. for Compline, or to become a regular at the Sunday morning Zoom Adult Formation class. Whether or not you choose to give up something, or take up something, Lent is an opportunity to learn and grow. Sister Joan Chittister says: “Lent is about becoming, doing, and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.” Thomas Keating says: “Lent is a process of divine therapy.” So have a holy Lent, be restored in body and soul.
Be kind to one another. Be safe. Keep the faith!