Lent is traditionally a time of self-reflection and prayer to prepare for Easter.  Rather than giving something up why not do something special to demonstrate your commitment to following the way of Jesus.   Here are some ideas…

Support your prayer life

Life source: a 5-session course on prayer for Lent

Each session covers one major aspect of a balanced prayer life, and introduces one or two prayer patterns—different styles of praying.  Hosted by the Tuesday Link group, starting Tuesday 19 Feb, in Coton parish room.  Details from Lois Clark 780893.

Morning Prayer

Join one or more of the groups meeting for morning prayer locally.  Tuesdays—Coton, 9am.  Wednesdays—Hardwick, 9am (from 20 Feb).  Fridays—Dry Drayton, 9.15am.  Up to 30 mins with the day’s Bible readings, reflective silence and structured prayer for others and ourselves.

Prayer Calendar

Pick up a copy of your church’s prayer calendar to use at home, with prompts to pray for those living in areas of the village, aspects of community life and (in some cases) church members.

‘Praying with Passion’

There are more ideas for prayer activities on the Ely Diocesan website under Lent resources.

Read an inspiring (or challenging) book

Here are a selection of those published for this Lent.

Abiding by Ben Quash

Recommended by the out-going Archbishop of Canterbury as his last Lent book.   Ben Quash draws on modern fiction, film, art and the classical Christian tradition to show that the concept of Abiding is central to the Christian life — both God’s commitment to us and ours to our communities. But the kind of ‘abiding’ that Jesus calls his followers to is one of openness and change.

Friends, Foes and Families by Judith Dimond

Lenten meditations on Bible characters and relationships.  Stories from Old and New Testaments relate to common emotions such as love, friendship, rivalry and conflict and are linked with 21st-century attitudes, culture and moral dilemmas, to make clear how experiences of loss and failure which culminated, for Jesus, in the Cross are inevitably part of our relationships, but can be healed by the Resurrection.

Christ in the Wilderness by Stephen Cottrell

Bishop Stephen Cottrell explores five paintings from Stanley Spencer’s series of works Christ in the Wilderness.  Cottrell’s writing ‘is invitational, assuredly seeking to entice the reader out of an unreflective nine-to-five existence into the spiritual adventure of being an apprentice of Christ.’ Church Times 1 Feb

More Lent books are available direct from Christian bookshops eg http://www.eden.co.uk; http://www.chbookshop.co.uk or CLC, 88 Regent Street, Cambridge.   A selection of other booklets of Bible readings and reflections for Lent and Easter are also available from BRF via http://www.brfonline.org.uk/lent.

Think about how you live

Love Life Live Lent: Be the Change

Relaunched for 2013, these booklets prompt us to build better and more generous communities one day at a time.  Children’s copies available in church or via Sunday Club, Coton’s Great Pancake Event and Dry Drayton school.  Adults/young people’s copies with daily Bible verses and short reflection also available in church.

Christian Aid’s ‘Count your Blessings’

Copies of this leaflet with a reflection and action for each day in Lent are available in church or from the Christian Aid website, under ‘Get involved’ then ‘Lent’.

Fairtrade Fortnight: 25 Feb to 10 March

This falls within Lent this year.  Look out for (or host) a fair-trade coffee morning.  Think about how our choices impact people on the other side of the world.  Try an additional fair trade product.

Work on your Bible reading habit

Essential 100

Your journey through the Bible in 100 readings.  If you were intrigued by the journey through key Bible stories with the Jesse tree in Advent, then this book gives you 100 readings with a comment—designed to be read daily over 100 days.  Copies available from Alison or direct from Christian book shops.

Reflections for Lent 2013

Use this booklet of daily reflections for the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, based on the Bible reading set for each day in the Anglican daily ‘lectionary’ written by well known theologians.  Includes a simple form of daily prayer and guide.  Available direct from Christian bookshops.

Go to a special service

In addition to Sunday services over the next few weeks, you could try one or more of the following to add something else to your journey through Lent.

Ash Wednesday—13 Feb

A quiet, reflective service to pray for ourselves and the world.  7.30pm, hosted at St Mary’s Hardwick.

Palm Sunday—24 Mar

A performance in English for the Lordsbridge Team, as an act of liturgical worship for Palm Sunday, of Bach’s St John Passion.  7.30pm.  In Harlton Church. Free but tickets for seating from jandmhelmsing@hotmail.com.

Maundy Thursday—28 Mar

A reflective service to share communion and consider Jesus’ last act of love and service before the cross. 7.30pm, hosted at St Peter & St Paul’s, Dry Drayton.

Good Friday—29 Mar

An hour of readings and reflections at 12.30 in Coton, and 3pm in Dry Drayton.  Open church in Hardwick from 10am—1pm, for personal reflection in the company of others.  Move around the church and grounds to read or use the resources provided.  Drop in whenever suits you and stay for as long as you need.   (Also, Family Morning Service at St Andrew’s, Toft—look out for more details.)

And then…

On Easter Day.  An All Age Celebration of Holy Communion.  9.30 in Hardwick; 9.30 in Dry Drayton; 11am in Coton.  ‘Celebrate the resurrection.’