It’s not even Epiphany yet and Lent is only six weeks away. The poet W.H. Auden in his brilliant long poem “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio” expressed how some of us might be feeling:
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off
It's not far off but we are not unaccompanied. If you are looking for possible companions on the journey of Lent, here are some suggestions for study, worship, small groups and formation. Because many publishers do not have their offerings for Lent available yet, below are listed some reliable sources or previously published materials.
SMALL GROUP STUDIES
River Through The Desert, a Lenten journey in the Holy Land
From St. George's College in Jerusalem, comes this small group study for individual or group use. The book looks at the geography of the land both here and in one’s own context, to explore the presence of God in our lives. The six chapters, Desert, Well, Mountain, Sea, Road and Garden link to six short films to illustrate and expand the words in the book. The book is available on Amazon. Click here to purchase
*All profits benefit the College of St. George
Do you have folks preparing for baptism, confirmation or wanting to explore fundamental questions of faith? It goes well beyond Lent but is both a good grounding and open-ended exploration for small group discussion.
Parishes can also offer their own versions and freely adapt materials as needed. St. Thomas’, Chilliwack and St. Clement’s, North Vancouver are doing just that this year.
Videos: All 11 sessions are on the diocesan Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQfTr9pIH3U&list=PLaqfGDsHmRwyUFp-1-fOK9qjXK-GGFqA8
Download the Facilitator's Guide and The Participant's Guide
A brand new course to learn history, listen to experiences, build relationships and become a good ancestor... this is an introduction to some core issues of reconciliation work in the diocese and farther afield. Each session comes with video, prayer, discussion and personal reflection. The course is available from the Learning Centre for Mission and Formation. If you wish to offer this course in your parish, email the Missioner for Christian Formation: firstname.lastname@example.org or the Missioner for Indigenous Justice: email@example.com
The Way of Love in Lent
This is a small group course focused on the core practices of faith. Designed by the Episcopal Church, this program offers seven Adult Forums that tie the Easter Vigil readings to the seven practices of the Way of Love. It can be offered as a weekly session or a Quiet Day format. All the materials are here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/life-transformed-the-way-of-love-in-lent/
Lent with the Beloved Disciple
This is a six week book study that travels with the writer of the Gospel of John. Available for pre-order only, so a review is not ready yet. The author is Michael Marshall, an Anglican bishop, writer, and spiritual director. He was one of the directors of the Anglican Institute in St. Louis, Missouri.
Available on Amazon.ca and Bloomsbury.
Tarry Awhile: Wisdom from Black Spirituality for People of Faith
This is the Archbishop of Canterbury's book pick for Lent 2024. The summary from the publisher says, "This book makes the wisdom of Black spiritualities and faith available for all people. It focuses on seven themes: darkness as a place of encounter with the divine; the unity of all things; movement, belonging and migration; the Spirit as one who moves in unexpected ways; quiet contemplation as essential to spiritual growth; healing in community; and weeping that turns to joy." The CofE also includes many complementary resources with this book for the Lenten season.
PRINTABLE ACTIVITY CALENDAR
The Way of Love in Lent
If people can’t participate in a weekly session or small group this Lent, this calendar can be a way for any household to mark the days of Lent in a thoughtful way. It’s free and printable.
All of the below have free or low-cost daily emails/devotionals for the Lenten season.
Salt Project – their materials are especially good for meditating on art and poetry during Lent. This year's Lent resource looks at C.S.Lewis' Screwtape Letters.
Living Compass – The Lent 2024 guide is called: Practicing Forgiveness with all your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength
PWRDF – Now available! They reliably offer a daily emailed devotion addressing faith and justice during Lent.
Lent with Evelyn Underhill
An oldie but a goodie. Underhill is considered the greatest Anglican mystic of the 20th century. Everyone has the potential for a rich inner life in communion with God through ordinary life. This volume, back in print due to demand, is a great introduction to her thought and is a fine accompaniment to a “serious seeking” after God. Order early to get it in time from Episcopal publisher: Church Publishing. Used copies might be available too on abebooks.com or it can be borrowed for free with an account at: https://archive.org/details/lentwithevelynun0000unde
NEW LITURGICAL RESOURCES (esp. for clergy)
Following the clergy day of November 16th, 2023 the Bishop authorized a wealth of new liturgical texts. Among them are many seasonal resources, including all of Times and Seasons from Common Worship of the Church of England. You can find it and more resources for Lent and Easter on the diocesan website: Seasonal Resources. To help with navigating these new texts and designing liturgies for your parish, you can download the draft liturgical customary.