Many new United Methodists come from other traditions that have never celebrated the liturgical year. Most folks in our community know little to nothing about the Church and its historical traditions.Here is a collection of resources that will help explain some of this season of 40 days known as Lent:Ash WednesdayAsh Wednesday is the start of the Lenten journey of forty weekdays (Monday through Saturday) that takes the church to the eve of Easter. While Sundays in the Christian Year are always "little Easter" celebrations (and thus we refer to Sundays IN Lent rather than Sundays OF Lent), Sundays are still fast days during this season.
Ash Wednesday is about corporate penitence and facing our mortality. We confront our mortality and our sinfulness, and we do this together. We acknowledge and embrace our mortality through the imposition of ashes as a corporate sign of our corporate acknowledgment and repentance, both individual and corporate. We confess and turn away from our sinfulness through confession and pardon. These two actions—embracing our mortality and acknowledging and turning from our sin—are the heart of this service. They are our primary preparation for Holy Communion that follows, and the taking up of our personal and corporate disciplines of discipling throughout this season.
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.