As we continue to bear with distancing and other COVID-related precautions that keep us from worshipping in person together, St. Paul’s invites you to the observance of a holy Lent.
ASH WEDNESDAY WORSHIP OPTIONS: February 17, 2021
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, and a time to reflect upon the fragility of our own lives and of all life. This year, we are offering three opportunities to worship at different times on Ash Wednesday. You are welcome to attend any or all of them, as your schedule allows. Noting that ashes are an optional part of the liturgy, our bishops have advised us not to administer ashes this year. If ashes are essential to your personal observance of Ash Wednesday, please contact Rev. Chris by February 16th about obtaining pre-portioned ashes to self-administer during our service.
Adult Education During Lent
Lenten Film Series: The History of Christianity
Six PBS Films hosted by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Mondays in Lent from 7pm to 8:15pm on Zoom
Join Rev. Chris on Zoom this Lent to watch this six-part PBS series on Monday evenings in Lent exploring the history of Christianity from its New Testaments beginnings through the rise of the Roman Catholic Church, the growth of Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Protestant Reformation, the Evangelical Movement, and into the 20th century. British historian Diarmaid MacCulloch created this wide-ranging six part series based on his scholarship, and it provides a chance for us to step back and look at the long view of Christianity’s evolution over 20 centuries. Each film is a little less than an hour, and will be followed by about 20 minutes of conversation. You are welcome to “drop in” or come to all 6 sessions. If you plan to attend, please email Rev. Chris to let him know!
Lenten Meditation Booklets from Episcopal Relief and Development
The 2021 Lenten Meditation Booklet from Episcopal Relief and Development is available online from ERD’s website. For each day, there is a verse of scripture and a short, one-page meditation to spark our spiritual imagination. The meditations are written by various lay and ordained leaders in the church, and reflect a cross section of voices from The Episcopal Church. We hope they help to deepen your prayer life this Lent!
LENTEN FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION
From the first Sunday in Lent until Palm Sunday each year, the Narthex floor beneath the stairs is usually overflowing with food and household goods donated by our generous parishioners to the Bedford Food Pantry for use by our neighbors in need. Obviously, that will not be happening this year. With the continued Covid-19 pandemic we still cannot use our church building, and food pantries for the most part are not accepting in-kind donations for safety reasons. It seems as if everything has changed. One thing, however, has not changed and, in fact, has grown tremendously: the NEED in our communities. Since last summer, the number of food pantry meals needed has more than doubled. Massachusetts is at or near the top of the list of states with the greatest projected increase in food insecurity, around 80%, due to the pandemic. Currently, in eastern Massachusetts, 1 in 8 people and 1 in 5 children don’t know where their next meal is coming from (the Greater Boston Food Bank).
WE CAN HELP! All of the food resources in our area desperately need community support in the form of cash donations that allow them to continue to restock and supply meals to families who are food insecure. We are making this year’s Lenten collection a monetary one, because that is what is needed most, and because it is an entirely safe way of giving at this point in time. We have decided to widen our outreach as well, to include the Billerica Community Pantry (we have many Billerica parishioners), and the Middlesex Community College Food Pantry, as well as the Bedford Food Pantry whose funds are currently channeled to the Bedford Food Bank. The amount collected will be split evenly between the three pantries. The collection begins the first week in Lent (Feb 21) and continues until the week before Palm Sunday. Donations can be made either by checks payable to St. Paul’s or on the church website via PayPal, both designated clearly that they are “food pantry” gifts. We hope for very wide participation from the parish, because this is such an important effort. Give a little or a lot, or anything in between. Every single dollar is important and goes directly to helping your neighbors! Questions: contact Lynne Wolf.
Who will win the Golden Halo? LENT MADNESS Has Begun!
Each year in Lent, The Episcopal Church holds our own version of “March Madness” featuring many of the various Saints that we commemorate in our calendar. This year, 32 saints have been placed into a bracket, to face off in daily “head to head” competition – conducted online by popular vote! Every member of the parish is invited to learn more about this years’ 32 Saints and to complete your own bracket, by picking up a booklet in the Narthex. Completed brackets must be received by Rev. Chris by Ash Wednesday, February 17. Whichever bracket earns the most points through the tournament will be crowned the St. Paul’s winner and receive a prize on Easter Sunday. You can vote for your favorite Saint each day in Lent by visiting LENTMADNESS.ORG.