by Rev. Dale Azevedo, Sr. Minister          –          March 1, 2019

The season of Lent is almost upon us! For those who may not know, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and runs for the 40 days leading up to Easter (Sundays are not counted as a part of the 40 days as Sundays are considered “little” Easters). Historically, Lent is a time of penitence and preparation. In the earliest days of the church, new converts would take the 40 days to prepare themselves to join the church on Easter Sunday. Eventually, Lent became utilized by Christians to deepen their own faith and renew their commitment to Christ. This is why followers of Jesus began to “give things up” for Lent, arguing that since Jesus gave up his life for us, the least we can do give up some of our blessings in return. Most recently, Christian leaders have challenged themselves and others to “take things on” instead of give things up. People are invited to “take on” a prayer discipline, or “take on” a special service opportunity, etc. No matter how you look at it, Lent can be a deep and moving time for Christians.

This Lent, we are offering many different ways for you to find meaning in this season.

Special Worship Services

Ash Wednesday – At 7:00pm, on March 6th, Brendan and Dale will host an Ash Wednesday service. This service marks the beginning of our Lenten observance. The service will have our choir, some hymns, time for prayer, a few brief reflections, and an opportunity to receive ashes for those who wish it. This service should last about 30 minutes.

Maundy Thursday – At 7:00pm, on April 18, our Deacons will host our annual Maundy Thursday service. This service is a commemoration of the Last Supper, and is a beautiful, peaceful way to recognize the events of Holy Week leading up to Jesus’ resurrection. In addition to celebrating Communion, we will hear the story of the Last supper and our choir will sing an anthem. This service runs roughly 45 minutes.

Holy Week Devotional – Each weekday morning through Holy Week, Dale will a brief devotional service at 7:15am. We will gather in the Library for these meetings. We will have a scripture lesson, short reflection, and time for prayer. You should be on the road by 7:30 or 7:45.

Growth Opportunities

Wondrous Encounters – On Monday evenings Beginning Monday, March 11th, from 7-8 pm, Brendan invites you to participate in a special Lenten meditation series centering on the reflections of the contemplative Christian writer, and founder of the center for action and contemplation, Richard Rohr.  This series is offered during Lent as a space for us to explore together how we “encounter” and experience the divine in our daily lives.  Our contemplative practice together should nicely compliment the “soul talk” discussions also taking place.  All are welcome to come for the full six weeks of the meditation series or on a drop-in basis!  Questions?  Contact Brendan at brendan@bccucc.org or 246-0111 x 104

Soul Talk: Learning to Listen to the Divine Soul Within –  One of our growth offerings this Lent is an adult series exploring Soul Talk, a new book by Dr. Kirk Byron Jones.  Dr. Jones has written numerous faith-based books on rest, joy, and play.  In his latest book he discusses the need and benefit of listening to our inner voice and God’s presence in that listening.  Each week through Lent we will discuss a portion of the book and take time to experience soul talk for ourselves.  No experience or background is necessary, just a desire to explore the Sacred within.  Rev. Dale will be leading this five week group in the Library on Wednesday evenings from 7 – 8:15 pm beginning Wednesday, March 13th.  The book should be purchased ahead of time and is available through Amazon and other retailers.  Come and join us!  For planning purposes, please RSVP to Dale by Ash Wednesday, March 6th at dale@bccucc.org or 246-0111 x 103. 

Come to the Water – From 4-5 pm on Thursday afternoons during Lent (beginning Thursday, March 7th) Brendan will lead a Lenten book/Bible study ‘Come to the Water’ exploring the theme of God in creation and how our faith moves us to act as stewards and sustainers of the natural world that makes life possible.  We will be reading the “Read Across RI” book, What The Eyes Don’t See, by Mona Hanna-Attisha.  Brendan is incorporating this book study into the second hour of the community office hours that he hosts every Thursday at The Coffee Depot, 501 Main St, Warren, from 3-5 pm.  He will host weekly discussions on sections of the book and provide eco-themed scripture passages to expand the discussion.  All who wish to participate in this book/Bible study can purchase the book on Amazon.  If you have any questions about the study please contact Brendan at brendan@bccucc.org or 246-0111 x 104.

Other Opportunities

Personal Prayer Time – Perhaps this season is the time to begin a personal prayers time. You can follow along with the God is Still Speaking Daily Devotional or take this time to read through one of the Gospels a little bit each day. Or, you could commit to going to the beach each morning for some alone time with God. No matter how you choose to pray, a personal Lenten discipline of prayer or scripture reading can only help!

Weekly Sunday Worship – Of course, you could always just make the commitment to come to church EACH Sunday through Lent. In these busy days it is easy to put off attending church or to find a reason to skip a Sunday. Why not make the personal commitment to be in church EVERY week through Lent?

Why not take this special season to deepen your faith and join with God in a special way. See you around!