Mar 04, 2022

Lent is a season of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It lasts 40 days, not counting Sundays, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter or Resurrection Sunday. (Read “What is Lent and why does it last forty days?”)

Lent is a time of self-examination and reflection. During this season of the church year, the focus generally shifts from Jesus’ public ministry to his final journey to Jerusalem. Lent prepares us for the passion and death of Jesus and anticipates his resurrection.

Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications (book used in illustration is Renegade Gospel: The Rebel Jesus by Mike Slaughter)

Many United Methodists prepare most meaningfully by engaging earnestly in devout study, selfless sacrifice and intentional service. Throughout this holy season we would like to know and share what your congregation, or groups, or individuals are doing in these areas to celebrate Lent. What special studies, sacrificial activities, services of mercy, or acts of justice are you and your members performing, as you join Jesus on his final journey to Jerusalem.

Here are some ideas. Please send us others. Write to us at or use our website’s Submit News page.

  1. Organize a Lenten study for adults who are new to the Christian faith or unfamiliar with its tenets. Help participants learn about the events of Holy Week and discuss the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the Christian faith.
  2. Another emphasis of this season is Jesus’ time of trial and sacrificial fasting in the wilderness, just after his baptism by John. Plan a series of conversations about Christian discipleship. Invite participants to focus on what it means to follow Jesus as individuals and as a congregation. Invite adults to the daily practice of a spiritual discipline, such as worship, prayer, fasting, Bible study and/or generous stewardship in sharing God’s gifts.
  3. Find and share devotionals, activities for families, inspiring stories and information about our faith to help others observe the Lenten season. One source is ResourceUMC. Or visit’s “What We Believe” page about Lent and Easter. See some highlighted Lenten studies below.
  4. Create or find a meaningful service activity to enliven your Lenten season. For example, donate to the EPAUMC Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice Team’s Undies for Easter campaign. The Rev. Marilyn Schneider, a Deacon and PMRJ team leader, reports that we have met our goal for men’s and women’s briefs, thanks to generous donations from across the conference. But we are only half-way to our goal for donating much-needed men’s undershirts. We still have about 140 packages of those left to purchase, as of March 3.

    “We know people give up items for Lent in order to make space for God,” writes the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Director of Connectional Ministries.  “We also want to invite you to take up a ministry for Lent that may help you grow closer to God’s people. Men coming into Philadelphia prisons receive only one pair of briefs and do not receive an undershirt. Would you be willing to purchase a pack of undershirts during this Lent, so that persons coming into the prisons can be clothed in love? (See Colossians 3:12.)  Please donate a package of undershirts today.  For more information or other ways to support PRMJ’s ministry contact Marilyn Schneider at
  5. Take the United Methodist Lent Quiz. How much do you know about the themes and practices of the season of Lent? Take this quiz and share it with others.
Here are some recommended studies and devotionals for Lent:

Witness at the Cross: A Beginner’s Guide to Good Friday, by Amy-Jill Levine (Abingdon Press). EPAUMC is currently hosting a four-week study of this book, led by its author. Dr. Levine, a celebrated seminary New Testament professor, is leading us on an exploration of how the people at the cross of Jesus each have distinct roles to play in the Gospels. Join us on Wednesdays, 11 AM to 12 noon, through    for a fascinating presentation and discussion.

Besides Abingdon Press, the Upper Room and the Society of St. Andrew also have new studies and devotionals to help churches prepare for the miracle of Easter. Learn more.

The UMC’s General Commission on Religion & Race (GCORR) offers its 2022 Lenten small-group study, “Faithful Lent: Connecting the Practices of Lent and Anti-Racism. As a season for atonement and holiness, Lent is a perfect time for confronting the sin of racism. This new study guides participants in that quest. “Truth-telling, repentance, confession, recompense and renewal are central to our Christian faith,” writes M. Garlinda Burton, a Deaconess and GCORR’s Director of Resource Development. Read her Feb. 28 commentary.

GCORR 2021 Lenten Biblical Reflection, Roll Down, Justice!, written by Faye Wilson and featuring the music and reflections of Mark A. Miller, also remains an engaging, creative study that poses the following questions to believers:

  • What are you prepared to give in order to have a closer walk with God?
  • What can you give in order to embrace anew the work of justice?

At least three new Lenten studies with resources are being used in our conference. The Rev. Jeff Kapp shares a Lenten devotional his church, Kochenderfer UMC in Lebanon, is using to “think about ways to be life-giving to others. It’s a 40-day challenge of simple tasks to improve your everyday Christian life.” Contact him at to learn more.

And we have been recently promoting two other promising, local Lenten studies:

  • Fathers & Daughters of the Bible: This new, multimedia Lenten study resource developed by the Rev. Steve Morton, North District Superintendent, is available on the North District web page. Led by district clergy, the study for small groups focuses on a rarely explored topic: biblical relationships between fathers and daughters.
  • Living as a Beloved Community: Christ UMC in Fairless Hills will offer an interactive six-week study for Lent, titled Living as a Beloved Community, from March 9 to April 13, each Wednesday at 7 PM, online via Zoom. Participants will use resources and discussions to seek and offer insights about unity, diversity and Christian faith.

No doubt, there are more Lenten studies EPA churches are using and more Lenten activities planned that we would like to know about and report on. Again, please write to us at or use our website’s Submit News page; and let us know what your church is doing for Lent. Thanks!