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Lenten Poverty Lunches in Sharbot Lakeby Julie Druker
Photo: Anne Howes and her mom Theresa Ferguson serve up soup at the first Wednesday Lenten Poverty lunch at St. Andrew's Anglican church in Sharbot Lake.
With Easter just a few short weeks away, area churches are inviting the community to join them every Wednesday leading up to Easter for Lenten Poverty Lunches in Sharbot Lake.
The first of the five lunches took place at St. Andrew's Anglican church on Feb. 29, and Anne Howes and Theresa Ferguson served up soup to guests who attended. The Lenten lunches have been a tradition that has been going on for over 20 years. The lunches are hosted by different area churches and include a service. At last Wednesday's lunch, Marcel Giroux of St. James Major Catholic church led the service.
Rev. Nancy MacLeod of the Anglican Parish, who was also in attendance, explained the three pillars of Lent, which are prayer, fasting, and giving alms. “What we are hoping to do here at these Lenten lunches is focus on the three pillars of Lent, so we have prayers led by different members of the various churches in the area; we offer up a simple, free soup lunch which recognizes the idea of fasting; and lastly, for alms giving, we ask guests to give a donation to the local food bank.”
Rev. MacLeod said, “Lent is not about simply giving up things just for the sake of it. Rather it is more about realigning your life according to God's ways. So for example if you decide to give up something like sweets for Lent it is with the idea of doing so in order to lead a healthier life and by stewarding your body in a way that is more fitting in the eyes of God. Or as another example let's say if you decide to give up going to the movies, it would be with the idea of being able then to spend more time in prayer or to give away that money that you might have spent as alms.”
Lent lasts for 40 days to correspond with the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the desert before he began his ministry. Rev. MacLeod stressed that Lent is not intended to be a joyous time of the year. “It is really an introspective time and a penitent time leading up to Easter where we can focus on Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem, what he went through, and the crucifixion before his resurrection. It's also a really healthy time of the year and is a time to think a little more deeply and to reassess your priorities.”
Guests for the first Lenten lunch included members of St. Andrew's Anglican, Parham Free Methodist, St. James Major and the Sharbot Lake Pentecostal churches.
The lunches start with a short service at noon and their location alternates between the Sharbot Lake United Church and St. Andrew's Anglican Church. However, it is not necessary to attend the service in order to participate in the lunch and everyone in the community is welcome. March 7 was at the United Church; March14 - St. Andrew's; March 21 – United Church; March 28 - St. Andrew's. See Northern Happenings also.