Lent begins Wednesday 17th February this year … a time when we remember Jesus’ 40 days in the desert over the 40 days (plus 6 Sundays) in the lead up to Easter ... a time of solemnity and self reflection … a time when we can think about our lives and how we fall short of what God expects of us fast and pray, give something up or do something new, and / or care for others by the ‘giving of alms’ and acts of generosity.
What will you do this Lent?
As we begin Lent its unlikely we will be meeting in church for worship. Its also unlikely that we will be able to meet together to pray and study the Bible ‘face to face’. However there are lots of things we can do this Lent on our own, and with others from our church (albeit while we are in our own homes), which will enable us have a Lent full of meaning and which will help us in our walk with God.
Hear are a few options for the church family of Walshaw church and the community of Walshaw, Lowercroft and Tottington:
Time for Reflection
Going Deeper Video: Sunday 14th February (free on You Tube)
The Biblical Roots of Ash Wednesday: Dr Brant Pitre
While we won’t be having an Ash Wednesday service in our church building this year, and therefore there will be no imposition of ashes either, this special day is still very significant for Christians for lots of reasons. This video helps us to understand what is beneath the imposition of ashes as well as what Lent is all about … and it is so helpful.
I would really recommend you do not start Lent without watching this video.
It is full of information and helps us to think, from a Biblical perspective, about the rationale and purpose of the season of Lent, as a time to ‘come back to God’ … a time when we consider our mortality, repent of our sins and pray for others.
In this video, Brant addresses questions such as:
• Why do you we use ashes?
• Why are we asked to fast, pray, and give alms during Lent?
• Is Lent just about abstaining from a favourite food, or is there something more to it?
Brant, a Roman Catholic, is a research Professor at the Augustine Institute in the United States, as well as a best selling author. He is clearly very enthusiastic about his subject … he is a very lively speaker.
This video is probably aimed at a Roman Catholic audience but Brant acknowledges the difference between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles and theologies and for me there is no divergence from the reformed catholic tradition of the Church of England.
A smashing video to kick off Lent.
The video can be found here:
Going Deeper teaching series through Lent (free on You Tube)
What it means to be human: Tim Keller
Tim Keller will already be a familiar speaker to many from Christ Church Walshaw as he has featured in our Going Deeper videos more than once, and many of you have been praying for him as he has been very poorly these last few months.
During this series of talks at Oxford University in 2019, for the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, Tim explores the story of Jesus and what it means to be human through readings from Marks gospel. Each talk is a stand alone but they also come together as a series as they were given over five evenings in July 2019.
This series really does help us to examine ourselves and reflect on where we are with God. I would suggest that you listen to one talk each week spending the rest of the week to think on, and pray about, what Tim has said.
w/c Sunday 21st February: Human Nature: To Err is Human?
How can we change the world or ourselves without knowing what is wrong with us … the human race? During this first of five talks Tim helps us, with the help of Mark 7: 14 – 23,
- to think about the feeling that things aren’t what they should be in our lives;
- he discusses why we suffer from guilt and where that guilt comes from; and
- he shares with us dislocation of the heart and disordered love impacts on us, our relationships and our lives.
And at the end .. stay tuned in for the very helpful Q&As session.
w/c Sunday 28th February: Human Race: The Pursuit of More?
Are you happy with life? Are you satisfied? Are you content? What do all these things really mean? In this talk Tim explores our desire for things which make us happy with the help of a reading from ‘Mark 2’ and he asks the questions …
- What are we looking for?
- How are we looking for it?
- Where can we find it?
w/c Sunday 7th March: Human Being: Recovering Who We Are?
Search engines think that one of the most important questions we ask is: 'Who am I?' So in this talk Tim explores issues of identity and what, for us, is the source of our identity? As he does this he explores the person of St Peter and draws on movies like Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and Frozen!
This is such a powerful talk ... very highly recommended!
w/c Sunday 14th March: Human Condition: Living When Life Hurts?
w/c Sunday 21st March: Human Story: Happily Ever After?
Our Book of the Month … a Book for Lent
Living His Story: Revealing the extraordinary love of God in ordinary ways - Hannah Steele
(The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2021)
The book explores accounts of Jesus and his first followers in the Bible, and helps us discover simple and practical ways of telling the gospel story afresh, as we look forward to celebrating Easter Sunday, when Jesus says to us “go and tell”.
“Hannah Steele uncovers liberating and practical ways of sharing the gospel story afresh. With warmth and encouragement, she shows us how we can live Jesus’ story in our own lives simply by being the people God made us and allowing people to be drawn to him through our natural gifts.” (SPCK review)
The Revd Dr Hannah Steel is an author and teaches at St Mellitus College … where Josh is studying at the moment. She loves watching football, baking and travelling, especially to Uganda where she and her family have spent some time in recent years.
The book (192 pages) is available at all good online book shops incl Amazon, starting at £7.99: https://amzn.to/2O1Gq9o
Play & Pray Activity Cards
Every Wednesday morning we share via our Twitter page (@WalshawChurch) ‘Play & Pray’ activity cards produced by Steph for the diocesan Children Changing Places Project. Each card has story and song links and a fun play activity for families with young children.
#LiveLent: God’s Story, Our Story app (free).
This programme is from the Church of England and connects with our 'Book for Lent'.
Daily reflections on your smartphone for each of the 40 days in Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day (17 February - 4 April) that encourage us to reflect on our own story of God and how we might share it with others.
For each day (Monday to Saturday) the app offers:
• A passage from the Bible
• A reflection exploring the reading
• A short prayer
• Full audio of the daily reflection, including specially commissioned music
• A suggested family activity to help you share the day’s theme with members of your household
For each week, there is:
• A theme, mirroring those of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book, Living His Story
• An introduction to the week’s theme and an action linked to it
• Links to other #LiveLent resources including weekly group study material
The reflections are written by Stephen Hance and are based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2021, Living His Story (see above)
The app is available for Android smartphones from ‘Google Play Store’ and for IOS phones from the ‘Apple Mac Store’ (producer Aimer Media)
40 Days with God’s Creatures app (free)
A daily Lent guide exploring Christian perceptions of animals using an app on your smart phone. Perhaps something families could do together?
"Why should Christians care about animals?"
"Are Christians good news for animals?"
"What might Jesus say about factory farming?"
Explore these issues and more through this interactive, daily guide this Lent.
Embark on a spiritual and creative journey, which includes biblical and theological readings, art, videos, music, photography and poetry.
Each week the programme tackles a different theme each week and identifies, critiques and moves beyond human-centred cultural assumptions about animals towards a deeper, more profound sense of wonder for the other creatures with whom we share this planet with.
In addition to the daily reflections, Sundays will include a weekly "challenge" and blog from a special guest contributor. Bonus features includes an extensive collection of art, a digital “prayer wall” and resources list.
You can download the app from ‘Google Play’ (produced by Sarx)
Time for Worship & Prayer
Ash Wednesday Service Online
While we won’t be having an Ash Wednesday service in church we will be have an short online service which will be just as meaningful … with most of the prayers from the usual Ash Wednesday service.
Through this service we will begin the season of reflection, penitence, fasting and ‘time with God’ by listening to, and reflecting on God’s word, by having a time of self examination and repentance, and by asking God to be with us during the season of Lent and to change us.
We are very pleased that the Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Mark Ashcroft, will be sharing a reflection with us as part of the service.
The service will be available from 8am on Ash Wednesday (17th February) as well as after that. You can find the service here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrJbnN-Z-I3dRV2Q3UYd_oAGOj7JS-wso
'10 Minutes with God’ Online
Prayer has always played a significant part in Lent .. but it isn’t always easy. However, this might make it a little bit easier …
At the moment, on Tuesday evenings, at 7.30pm, the church family of Christ Church Walshaw is sharing, online, in a few minutes of prayer led by a member of our church family. During this time we pray for our community, nation and the world.
You can tune in to ’10 minutes’ at 7.30pm Tuesdays (and after that too) here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrJbnN-Z-I3f1ycWNXPUTvP3FqzjFwqZ5
Wiggle Worship Online
For the younger members of our church family and community … every other week Steph and Wiggle lead a short fun worship time which includes action stories and songs. All are welcome to join us on a Wednesday morning at 10am … notifications are through our Face Book and Twitter pages.
You can also find the sessions, including from previous weeks on our website here:
Alternate weeks Baby & Toddler Group Online takes place … again with action songs, stories and more. These sessions are shared on Face Book and Twitter and can also be found using the links on our website here:
Daily Hope telephone line (free)
Daily Hope is a free national telephone line which offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of the phone. The line, a Church of England initiative in partnership with CONNECTIONS at Holy Trinity Claygate, and Faith in Later Life, is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 and has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind; to provide comfort and spiritual nourishment to the most isolated in our society.
Please do share this with those you know who are not ‘online’ but might benefit from this to help them pray and worship during Lent … though the telephone line is not aimed specifically at Lent
Sunday morning worship from Christ Church Walshaw Online
As we enter Lent it is likely we will not be worshipping in our church building. This decision has been made by the leadership of the church to protect our church family and our community. It has not been taken lightly and is being reviewed regularly. While our building is closed, however, we continue to be a worshipping community … we continue to gather together on the first day of the week at 11am … albeit it a virtual sacred space.
All are welcome to join us at 11am here:
Or through our Face Book and Twitter pages
Or using a link on our website here:
Alms Giving or Acts of Generosity
While our church building is closed members of our church family and our community are invited to donate to our local food bank, Porch Boxes, to help those who are going through very difficult times at the moment.
Donations can be dropped off at the vicarage: 37 Gisburn Drive, Walshaw BL8 3DH (0161 797 5121). When we are back in our church building those coming along to worship are encouraged to bring their donations to church.
Make a financial gift to Christ Church Walshaw
This Lent is a great time to make a one off gift to support the ministry and mission of Walshaw Church or to start to give to the church on a regular basis.
The last 12 months have been very difficult for the church as giving has been difficult for our church family and a number of income streams have dried up. At the same time we continue to minister to our church family and community, as well as support Christian ministry beyond our parish.
You can find out how to give a ‘one off’ gift or to give regularly on our website here (at the bottom of the page): https://www.christchurch-walshaw.co.uk/