Lockdown Lent

Another Lent in lockdown hasn’t stopped our worshipping communities around the diocese from journeying in faith together.

From courses over zoom and daily reflections, to virtual prayer walks and quiz show style challenges, you’ve been connecting with God – and each other - in ways you might never have imagined.

People were feeling a little ‘Zoomed out’ from the church of St Mary in Charnwood, Nanpanton, so rather than starting a typical Lent course online, Revd Adele Adshead recommended two books to everyone.

The first - Daily Reflections for Lent - they have been using at their regular morning prayer group. The second -  At Home in Lent: The story of Lent in 46 objects, by Gordon Giles – is an original way of approaching Lent, by each day looking at everyday household objects (such as the washing machine and curtains) and gleaning spiritual lessons from them.

The hope is to find God in the normal pattern of life - even in the mundane – and ultimately transform how you approach each day. Running as a thread through it are the seven Rs of Lent: regret, repentance, resolution, recognition, reconciliation, renewal and resurrection.

Ordinand Revd Matt Green, has been posting these daily reflections on Facebook.

Revd Adele says: “We hoped in this way to be offering both a traditional and a more contemporary approach to Lent and reaching beyond our immediate congregation.  We also passed on information from diomail and some people accessed the online webinars and Lent resources advertised there.”

The church family has been holding its local community in prayer by carrying out weekly virtual prayer walks – a few people actually physically taking the steps – while praying for the streets in the parish.

Revd Adele says: “The prayer walks were an attempt to keep us engaged in prayer and mindful of our local community, particularly as we have not been able to deliver seasonal cards as we normally would.”

The church has also organised an outdoor Easter in the Woods experience, which takes place in the neighbouring woods and is open throughout the week, 10am-2pm, until Friday. It’s a chance for the whole family to explore the importance of Easter in a new and exciting way.

As you move through the woods you are invited to stop, scan a QR code to hear part of the story, read a reflection, and take time to think and respond.

“It's so great to have the woodland, it's beautiful this time of year, and we're glad to be able to share it in this way and encourage people to reflect on the Easter story at the same time,” says Revd Adele.  

There’s been plenty of activity over at St Paul’s church in Oadby, with a book club based around Jeff Lucas’ Singing in Babylon, and a Zoom meeting each week to discuss it.

As a benefice (which takes in Oadby, Great Glen, Burton Overy and Carlton Curlieu) they’ve been joining together in daily evening prayer, live on Facebook - a different person running the session each time.

At the beginning of the year, and as fun way of connecting people – particularly those on the fringes and completely unconnected with Church - St Paul’s started a competitive Taskmaster style challenge.

This has continued into Lent, in a non-competitive way, with Lent based challenges set around three themes: caring for our wellbeing, caring for the environment, caring for others.

The church shares a highlights video each week on Social Media and at the start of their Sunday service on Youtube, so people can see what others have been up to.

Lou McGoldrick, Youth Worker at St Paul’s, says: “We think it's nice to do something visually together and to be able to see what one another are doing in a time when we can feel very separate and isolated.

“We’re also hoping to show that even in lockdown there is a great spirit of fun and kindness in the community of Oadby.”

In the neighbouring Wigston benefice, an online group have been following a course loosely set around Hilary Brand’s Not A Tame Lion: a lent course based on the writings of C.S Lewis.

The course draws on the richness of Lewis' writings - now turned into film - along with his life experience, and enables us to reflect upon our own lives and relationship with God.

Wigston’s Curate, Revd Nick Baker, led the sessions, which brought members of the church community together to pray, read Scripture and to discuss faith, whilst making sense of difficult subjects such as suffering, pain and loss.

He says: “It was an absolute privilege to join others on their journey of self-reflection this year, to share experiences and to pray. We bravely walked through that wardrobe into Narnia, albeit digitally, and were all the richer for it.

“We pray that such courses will lead others to reflect upon different aspects of their lives as Christians, from spiritual practices to the way that loving service is shown to others, and to contribute to that personal journey in faith.”

The journey is ongoing, and we might not always know which path to take, but reaching out to God and seeking guidance – putting our trust in Him - is a good start.

The parish green of All Saints with Holy Trinity in Loughborough has been set up with a labyrinth and offers a space to reflect, lament or simply reconnect this season of Easter.

This green space has traditionally been a place of transition, a passing place rather than a destination, but that changed during lockdown, explains Pioneer Minister, Reverend Emily Sharman.

“Green spaces have been valued more highly and this space has hosted many lockdown walks, socially distance picnics and become a place of play for children,” she says.

“The labyrinth is our attempt at creating a space for the grief which has been trapped with us in our homes, save for a daily walk over the past twelve months 

“It is a shared walk, and a shared cairn, to demonstrate our shared experience of living through the pandemic.”

Emile recognises that many people in the community are living with the loss of people they love and the future they thought they were going to have, and have no place to express their sadness.

“We are a parish of great diversity,” she says. “The labyrinth is available for all, a gift which connects us in our recovery as we start to venture back into the places we left a year ago.”

However your church community has been journeying together during Lent, we wish you a peaceful Easter and may the resurrection of our Lord be a constant reminder of His everlasting love.



First published on: 29th March 2021

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