Lent begins this year on the 1st March. Most people are familiar with the name and could probably tell you that it is a time for ‘giving things up’. They might also know that it is the forty days that lead up to the Christian festival of Easter. But what of the word itself? If you are a musician or a Spanish or Italian speaker you might think of Lento meaning slow but the church season draws its name from an Old English word for Spring. Perhaps an obvious connection since it always falls at this term of year. Thinking about Spring I thought of nature growing quietly and unseen in the darkness below ground preparing themselves to burst into life and flower when the time is ready.
Many of us will follow some sort of self-discipline during this period and we might think of that as a way of growing spiritually whether it is through abstaining from a particular food or drink or reading a book which helps us to think differently about faith or by making regular space in our lives for prayer. That forty days of growth can make us ready to greet Easter joyfully when it comes.
But although Lent has no etymological connection with lento that too could be a useful thought to follow through this time. Life is so hectic and busy for so many people that to make a conscious effort to slow down, to choose between those which things are necessary in our day to day lives and those which are simply a habit of rushing, could in itself be a good discipline. And for those of you who find you have too much time in your day perhaps you could dedicate a little of it to saying a prayer for those who are constantly in a hurry: pray that they may know peace.
And if you want to find a book to read in Lent, look in the back of church or if you want company in prayer I am usually in church for Evening prayer at 5pm except on Fridays). You are always welcome at our Sunday and Wednesday services.
Our new diocese – how’s it going?
A message from Bishop Nick
So much has been achieved since the Diocese of Leeds was created just two and a half years ago. Bringing together three very different dioceses was a hugely complex procedure, but we are all now part of a large, coherent body, whose benefits are being increasingly revealed.
The bishops and archdeacons are working closely with their areas, and the combined spiritual wealth of 656 churches, over 240 church schools and three cathedrals has brought increased creative energy.
We now have a central office in Leeds (complete with a charitable coffee shop that’s open to all), a new parish share system, new governance and further delegation of authority from the diocesan bishop to the area bishops.
Some of the challenges we face include: getting the right balance between one diocese and the five episcopal areas, tackling the anticipated fall in clergy numbers, growing our churches and maintaining parish share. And it remains vital to reach children and young people with the Gospel in order to build future generations of strong Christians.
At the heart of all we do are the values captured in our diocesan strap line, ‘Loving, Living and Learning‘. It’s a useful list to check against everything we do. What does that mean for you and your church?
+Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds
We aim to:
the world and one another.
the world as it is, but, drawn by a vision of something better,
we want to help individuals and communities flourish.
Learn when we
get things wrong, by listening and growing together.