February 16, 2021
Celebrating Lent 2021
Visit Celebrating Lent 2021, our new web page offering relevant information, insights and resources in observance of this sacred season in our Christian year. You can find it under the News & Events tab on our website. 

We will add more content related to Lent as we receive it from various sources. Please send us your Lenten season news, events, ministries, publications and reflections so we can add it there, too! Thanks in advance.
Observing a Long Lent
By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

The word Lent comes from a German word, “lango” which means “long.” It references the “lengthening of the days that are characteristic of the season of spring.” The days continue to get longer. In that spirit, let’s observe a “Long Lent” this year. What are some of the ways we might do that?
Long-suffering –Long-suffering calls us to be long in mercy and love. No matter the circumstances, it means having patience with those who are difficult or are suffering long ordeals for the sake of the Kin-dom. Lent is a good time to examine how we respond to challenges.
Long view – Lent is also a time to have a long view of the future of God’s kin-dom. We need to step back sometimes and remember that God has a plan for the future with hope. Good will triumph over evil, love will cast out hate, and life will conquer death. 
Longing for God - This kind of “longing” has to do with deep, almost desperate desire. Longing for God is an important aspect of our Lenten journey. Taking time for prayer, study, meditation in an attitude of “thirsting” for God’s Spirit is the key. Read more…
Marking Ash Wednesday in a pandemic
Medical professionals are urging that the safest way to hold an Ash Wednesday service this year is through a virtual or private household service. Philip J. Brooks reports how United Methodists have stepped up with creative ways to observe the Lenten season. Read story.

Character Matters: North District's new Lenten Bible study is available now
The North District’s new Lenten Bible Study, titled Character Matters, is ready and available for use. The Rev. Steve Morton, District Superintendent, developed and produced the eight-session, multi-media resource.

It includes video presentations featuring district Elders, plus worksheets and a leader’s guide, all available on the North District’s website. Bishop Peggy Johnson also recorded a special Easter message to culimate the series.

The videos can be accessed online or mailed to those who request them as stored media on a jump drive or DVD. Use the flyer to promote the study to your congregation and share it with others. Questions? Contact District Resource Assistant Deb Boyd with any questions. Download the flyer.
For other available Lenten studies, see our new Celebrating Lent 2021 web page.
UM bishops address racism in new Lenten devotions
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church will offer a weekly devotion during the Lenten season which begins this week. Each Wednesday during Lent and every day during Holy Week, the council will release a 15-minute recorded devotion, led by a bishop and leaders from their episcopal areas. 

“We are offering this Lenten Devotion Series on Dismantling Racism in the hope that the church can engage in honest reflection about the realities of racism, colonialism and tribalism,” noted Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Annual Conference, who chairs the Council’s Task Force to End Racism. “All of these sins persist in the church, our local communities and the world. Lent is the time to humbly acknowledge this reality, to pray, to learn and ultimately work to reshape our world as it is in heaven.”

The devotions are part of the larger Dismantling Racism Initiative launched by the Council in June of 2020. The purpose of the Initiative is to cultivate sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and to promote collective action for racial justice in the church and world.  Learn more…  
Please tell us how your church or Mission Link will observe Lent
The Northwest Philadelphia Mission Link will celebrate Ash Wednesday and Lent with weekly Wednesday night online worship services. They will take turns gathering on each host church’s online media platform—including Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube Live. During Holy Week they will worship online together for Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It’s an annual, well-attended worship and fellowship tradition that’s too important to stop just because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How will your Local Church or Mission Link celebrate the season of Lent? Weekly Lenten worship services or Bible studies, special events or ministry activities? Please tell us so we can spread the good word and let others know. Write to us at communications@epaumc.org

Northwest Philadelphia Mission Link Ash Wednesday Service
February 17, at 7:00 PM
Host Church: St. James UMC, Philadelphia 
Preacher: Rev. John Brice