An Invitation to a Holy Lent

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.
The Book of Common Prayer

After these powerful words connecting to pilgrims in times past, we receive ashes, move past the church doors, and journey into the wilderness with Jesus.

What do we do in the wilderness? It beckons us to clear our heads, focus our prayer disciplines and give intentional time for deepening our faith. Some of us choose to give up things as part of that discipline. That doesn’t fit into my piety. Ben Wren, a Jesuit priest, once said, “For Lent, relent.” He believed that if we disciplined ourselves to be kinder to ourselves and to love the people of God more, the prayers and hopes and intentions of Lent would be answered. Relent.

Lent is full of imagery, story, searching, grief, betrayal, temptation, companionship, death, and new life. It is a journey of faith packed into five weeks. I believe if we dig deep during the season of Lent, we are nourished and transformed for the remaining calendar year. But we have to commit to the journey. And by commitment, I don’t mean giving up chocolate, or liver, or facebook. The invitation is calling us to live and to love more deeply.

Prayerfully consider making room for worship, formation and additional fellowship opportunities offered during this holiest of seasons. At St. Elisabeth’s we are offering forums on spiritual practices and scripture study, worship opportunities beyond our Sunday services, a Lenten film series, a deanery formation opportunity, and an Easter Vigil service for people of all ages. All of these unique opportunities are listed below.

WORSHIP

Gras and Ashes – February 25, 6:30
Come to a Mardi Gras Celebration that ends with the imposition of ashes. The evening begins with music, beads coffee, beignets, and the burying of Alleluias. The second-line concludes in the chapel with the the invitation to a holy Lent and the imposition of ashes.

Ash Wednesday – February 26, 6:30PM
This reflective service begins with the invitation to a holy Lent, the imposition of ashes, prayers for the world , and Holy Communion.

Lenten Meditations – March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1, 10:00
Dillon Shipman will lead weekly meditations in our beautiful chapel.

Palm Sunday – April 5, 8:00AM and 10:00AM
We begin the journey to the cross with a second line into the Holy City. We wave palms and welcome Jesus into our lives. But something within us must die in order to make room for this new life.

Maundy Thursday – April 9, 6:30PM
Jesus gathers with his friends for passover where he took the bread, blessed it, and gave it to his friends. He humbled himself by washing their feet then invited them to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane as he awaited betrayal and death. As we recall the deaths and betrayals of our lives, we strip our altar bare in order to see clearly,

Good Friday – April 10, 6:30PM
We walk with Jesus as we pray the Stations of the Cross. We pray for all people of the world, everywhere, according to their needs.

Easter Vigil – April 11, 6:30PM
We gather around the fire to hear the stories of God’s work in our world and in our lives. We connect our story with the stories of our ancestors. We celebrate Christ’s bursting forth from the tomb and ring bells to ring as we proclaim Christ’s resurrection, and ours, to the world.

Easter – April 12, 8:00AM and 10:00AM
We recall the events of the Easter Vigil as we celebrate new life.

FORUMS

Spiritual Practices – February 9, 23 and March 8, 11:30AM
Join Elizabeth Clemmitt, our Associate for Spiritual Wellness, as she presents three forums on some spiritual practices. The first (2/9) will be on Anglican prayer beads, also known as the Protestant rosary; the second (2/23) will be on using the Labyrinth as a spiritual tool; and the third (3/8) will be on two popular methods of Christian meditation: Centering Prayer and the Maranatha Mantra from the World Community for Christian Meditation

God’s Story and Ours – February 16, March 1, 15, 22, and 29, 11:30AM
Have you always wanted to write for television? Do conflicted characters, dancing bones and exploding planets arouse your curiosity? Do you want to deepen your spirituality and create a new liturgy that is fun and spirit filled for children, adults and seniors? If the answer is “yes” to at least one of these, join our writing and research team! We need people of ALL AGES and ALL STRIPES to help tell the story of a lifetime. This unique series of multigenerational workshops will prepare us for Holy Week, particularly for the Easter Vigil – a service of darkness, light, music and story. AND WE NEED EVERYBODY’S HELP AND PARTICIPATION. During these Sunday Forums, we together will learn, discover and create the most wonderful and unique worship service of the year. If you can talk, color, think, laugh or breathe, this is your chance to work with others, creating something beautiful and unique through fun, laughter, exploration and teamwork. Please give this opportunity a priority if your life allows it.

Confirmation Discernment
This is the ideal season for this type of preparation. As the applicant considers confirmation, they study the baptismal covenant within the context of scripture, Church tradition, history and response. Others deciding whether to be baptized or received into the Episcopal Church should reach out.

LENTEN FILM SERIES

The “doctrine of humanity” proposes that our spiritual journey consists of an endless, repetitive cycle of creation, sin, judgment, repentance and redemption. Explore these themes in the films presented. Explore related scripture passages. Connect with your personal experiences. Discover insights and implications.

  • 2/27 – Hair (PG), themes of creation addressed
  • 3/5 – Boys on the Side (R), themes of sin addressed
  • 3/12 – Frozen II (G) themes of judgment addressed
  • 3/19 – The Walk (R) themes of repentance address
  • 3/26 – Searching for Sugar Man (PG) themes of resurrection addressed

DEANERY FORMATION OPPORTUNITY

The Evanston Deanery invites you to come together for a day of workshops and fellowship. “The Way of Love” is a way of life. It is an intentional commitment to a set of practices. It is a commitment to follow Jesus through seven disciplines: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry shares, “Today I believe our vocation is to live as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. But how can we together grow more deeply with Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so we can bear witness to his way of love in and for the world? The deep roots of our Christian tradition offer just such a path. For centuries, monastic communities have shaped their lives around rhythms and disciplines for following Jesus together. Such a pattern is known as a “Rule of Life.” Leap Into the Way of Love: Practices for Jesus-Centered Life – outlines a Rule for the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”

Guest speaker Chris Sikkema will lead us through a reflective day which will include plenary sessions, personal reflection time and small group deep-dives into the seven rules.

Enrollment is $45 which includes all materials and lunch. Register today! LINK HERE to register.