Mission & Ministry - Diocesan Lenten Practices

Diocesan Lenten Practices 2016


What is happening in our churches across the Episcopal Diocese of Florida this season of Lent? I posed this question to our clergy at the start of the season and received an excellent number of responses. A list of these from the various regions is found below in the words of the clergy who shared their Lenten offerings with us. I hope it might be helpful to us all to see what our brothers and sisters in other churches are doing this Lent and give us ideas for the future.

  1. The Bishop's Lenten Bible Study

But first, perhaps the most exciting news is that a large proportion of our churches across north Florida are following our Bishop's Lenten Bible Study series.  Bishop Howard filmed a Lenten Bible Study series based on the Book of Revelation. The series was filmed at St. John's Cathedral. In each session Bishop Howard speaks conversationally with The Rev. Deacon David Crabtree, Emmy-award winning anchor of WRAL in Raleigh and Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of North Carolina. The series was offered by Flash Drive as well as YouTube links. Well over 30 churches and laity requested the series. Plans are underway for future bible studies to be offered to the diocese.

Mary Hamilton has recorded some 29 requests for the Flash Drive and YouTube link and more than that have been distributed. These include: St. John's Cathedral; Emmanuel Episcopal Church; St Michael and All Angels; Trinity, St Augustine; St James, Perry; St. Elizabeth's; All Saints; St Mark's, Palatka; St. Alban's; Redeemer; Mediator; St. Thomas; Christ Church, Monticello; St Paul's by the Sea; Grace Mission; St Patrick's; St Joseph's, Newberry; Holy Comforter, Crescent City; Resurrection; St Mary's, Green Cove Springs; Trinity, Melrose; St Mark's, Starke; Chapel of the Chrysostom - Melrose; Advent; Holy Comforter, Tallahassee; St. Andrew's, Jacksonville and St. Bartholomew's.

  1. And here is what individual churches are doing (listed by region):


Ruge Hall, FSU

The Rev. Brian Smith:

 The students at Ruge Hall this Lent have compiled their own student written collects based on the Daily Office Lectionary for all of Lent. For a copy email Fr Smith: fb@rugehall.org

The FSU chaplaincy will also follow the Bishop's Bible study series for Lent.

 Church of the Advent, Tallahassee and St Michael and All Angels, Tallahassee

Mr Byron Greene (Senior Warden, St M & All Angels):

[We] are engaging in a shared Lenten season with our sister parish at the Episcopal Church of the Advent (Advent). We will alternate sites between our church and Advent during Lent and have potluck dinners along with a Lenten focused presentation and discussion. We will begin the Lenten season with Ash Wednesday service at Advent. This will be the second year that we have participated in a shared program with Advent.

[Fr Carl Goodlett kindly wrote as well re-iterating what the Senior Warden has shared above.]

St John's Church, Tallahassee

The Rev Abi Moon:

Here are some of the things that St John's is doing as we journey in Lent.

  1.      [our] "Guide to Lent and Holy Week" we print each year and have available for all to take with them.

2.      We have a parish-wide "Lenten Prayer Partner" program where people sign up for prayer partners for the season of Lent. They commit to praying daily for the person they have been given and sending a card by mail each week. On Easter morning they exchange gifts at the parish.

3.      We have begun a "Together in Lent" noonday service on Thursdays with lunch following. The Tallahassee downtown churches have collaborated to have each church host and another preach each week (see more details in the guide to holy week).

4.      We have the Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten Devotionals out for people to take with them as a free resource.

5.      The youth follow: http://videosforyoursoul.com/ a daily video blog for reflection

6.      The Journey through Lent Posters are available for all, especially the children, as a free resource- http://www.forwardmovement.org/Products/2322/join-the-journey-lent-calendar-2016.aspx

7.      The Society of St John the Evangelist has also created this resource for creating and living out a Rule of Life (we introduced this to our youth in January):  http://ssje.org/ssje/growrule/

St Paul's, Quincy

The Rev. John Wesley:

I will be using my own book The Holy Spirit inThe Book of Common Prayer for our St. Paul's Lenten Study Program.  I had specifically written the book with lay persons in mind, with questions for study / reflection / discussion at the end of each chapter. 


Trinity Church, Melrose and St. Mark's Church, Starke

The Rev. Anthony Powell:

[We] will continue hosting  our joint Lenten Soup Suppers on Wednesday evenings. This year we have invited St. John's Baptist and Melrose UMC to join us. Our focus this year will be on the Saints In Our Lives, inviting members to share their stories of holy men and holy women who made a difference in their life. We will also offer an official "saint" each week such as John and Charles Wesley, good Anglicans who began the Methodist movement.

St Bartholomew's Church, High Springs

The Rev. Lance Horne:

[We] will be doing five Wednesday night programs using Bishop Howard's and Dr. Crabtree's video reflections on Revelations. Soup and salad-- so y'all come. Personally I plan to get immersed in the Bishop's presentations along with my congregation using them to guide my studies and reflection. +John has insights to Holy Scripture that I am very interested in hearing and inwardly digesting.

St Alban's Church, Chiefland

The Rev. Jim Parks:

We. . .  are going to be looking at the Apocrypha. We will be looking at the different books to see if they can say something to us as the canonical scriptures do. We will discuss why we think they might not have been included in the Bible as we know it today. We have tried to approach subjects that our folks have asked about. To date we have 13 people lined up to join us for soup, crackers and tea. Then discussion.

 St Luke's Church, Live Oak

 The Rev. Phyllis Doty:

 We are doing a study of the book of Ephesians for our Lenten Series. For the Daughters of the King, I am recommending they read The God Who Comes, by Carlo Carretto or Befriending Silence by Carl McColman.

Church of the Mediator, Micanopy

The Rev. Les Singleton:

At Mediator, Deacon Diane [Whallon] is going to be leading the Revelation Bible study of the Bishop at 10 am each Sunday am (an hour before our 11 am service).

St Joseph's Church, Newberry

The Rev. Richard Pelkey:

At St. Joseph's, we will be having weekly soup suppers followed by Bishop Howard's video Bible study series on Revelation during Wednesday nights in Lent.

Christ Church, Cedar Key

The Rev. Jim Wright:

We are having a 5 week study/discussion group, open to the public, on Pope Francis' recent Encyclical on Care of our Common Home.


St Mark's Church, Palatka

The Rev. Bob Marsh:

At St Mark's Palatka we're going to use +John's teaching on the 7 churches in Revelation 2 & 3.

Church of the Holy Communion, Hawthorne

The Rev. Les Singleton:

Jay Jamison will lead the congregation in Stations of the Cross for an evening service, 2 or 3 times during Lent.


St Mary's Church, Green Cove Springs

The Rev. Celeste Tisdelle:

St. Mary's [administered] Ashes to Go at the sidewalk at the Clay County Courthouse on Ash Wednesday, February 10th,  from 12n-2p.

St. Mary's is walking The Stations of the Cross every Friday at 5pm-outdoors or in the hall-weather permitting from February 12th.

St. Mary's is holding a Lenten Book Study with Soup and Salad beginning February 17th at 630pm. We are once again reading the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book. This year it is "I AM With You" by Kathryn Greene-McCreight

St. Mary's held a Lenten Quiet Morning with the Spirituality Center at St. John's Cathedral on Sat., February 27th from 9am-11am at St. Mary's, GCS.

Church of the Good Shepherd, Jacksonville

 The Rev. Wiley Ammons:

 Our Wednesday night programming is focused on the lives of the saints, where we're learning about the great men and women of the tradition through Lent Madness, a March-madness basketball bracket style program that the creators at Forward Movement describe as a silly way to learn something serious. People in the parish fill out brackets and we have a contest for who can guess the most correct answers to the voting. It runs from the Thursday after Ash Wednesday through Wednesday in Holy Week. Young and old find it great fun here, and we leave the bracket up in church on Sunday so people can keep track of the contests.

  Online, we're publishing Bishop Howard's Bible Study on Revelation on our Facebook page, [I  wrote a parish] newsletter articl for this month that acknowledges how silly our Wednesday nights are and gives some other resources for going deeper into the Christian disciplines if people are looking for something meatier than a saints-based bracket game.

St Philip's Church, Jacksonville

 The Rev. Jo Ann Ford (on behalf of the Rector the Rev. Hugh Chapman and the clergy):

 I am helping to put together the Wednesday night Lenten program with Pam Pierce.  The theme for this year is: "Lent is not a four letter word".  We will be using "Growing a Rule of Life", the series developed by The Society of St. John the Evangelist and Virginia Seminary's Center for the Ministry of Teaching.  The evening will include a meal, some music, a talk by a different lay person each night on the four components of the series:  Relationship with God, with self, with others, and with creation.  The dinner and discussion will involve the same group of 10 eating and discussing together each week to help foster trust and deeper communication.

Our Sunday morning program this year has focused on going through the Catechism question by question and discussing the answers.  It has made from some great discussion as well as reflection on what it is each of us really believes.


All Saints' Church

The Rev. Donavan Cain:

This year's Lenten Series and Soup Supper, focusing on a new Bible Study on the Book of the Revelation of John, begins this year on February 18 at 6pm. Our Bishop, the Rt. Rev'd S. John Howard, has produced a new five part Bible Study on the Apocalypse of the New Testament just in time for Lent. With this great opportunity to join with our Bishop, we will gather each Thursday in Lent for a wonderful, enriching soup and bread dinner, followed by a 20 minute video with Bishop Howard, and discussion and questions, led by Fr. Donavan.  

Stations of the Cross for Lent begins on Friday, February 19 at All Saints

In addition to the articles below, All Saints has a "Thomas Merton Book Study Group" that meets during the lunch hour on Tuesdays.  We are planning a Lenten Book Study to begin on Tuesday, February 16th, at 12:10pm, here at All Saints. The group will read C.S. Lewis' renowned novel on heaven and hell, The Great Divorce. 

  St Paul's by the Sea

The Rev. Reed Freeman:

St. Paul's by-the-Sea, Jacksonville Beach will offer a series of five programs on Wednesday evenings during Lent at 6:00-7:30pm.  These will be on Feb 17, 24; Mar 2, 9, 16. The offering includes Taize worship at 6:00; a light meal at 6:30; and a program "Final Words from the Cross" (Adam Hamilton) at 7:00.

Operation Hope

The Rev. Bill Carroll:

…  the same Lenten book I've used for the last 15 years, Holy Island [Lindisfarne].

St Francis-in-the-Field

The Rev. Michael Ellis:

St. Francis in-the-Field will be offering The Crucified Life, a small group study during Lent. If you do not know of it, it is the first part of the Christian Life Trilogy developed by Fr. Charlie Holt in the Diocese of Central Florida. We have been signing up people for groups, and as of today have about 105 adults and teens committed to groups. We hope that by the time we launch next week we will have 120-130 participants.

Christ Church, Ponte Vedra

The Rev. Caroline Kramer:

[Our Lenten Schedule includes the following]

 Adult Formation : Sundays 10:15am and Wednesday 7:00 pm will focus on theories atonement/at-one-ment "How Jesus reconciles the World". Begins sun 14th/Wed17th. Parish Center Classrooms 111-113. No need to register.

Family Ministries: Begins Feb 17. Dinner at 5:45. This series will focus around child friendly spiritual practices and will include a service project to assemble care packages for Wolfson Children's Hospital. All welcome, nursery available for younger children. Contact Catherine Montgomery

  Forgiveness Works: 9:30-12:00 February 20th. This morning workshop will focus on the theme of forgiveness. We will look at Peter and Paul, at the vulnerability of forgiveness and think about what it means to be forgiven and forgiving. The workshop is free but please sign up at christepiscopalchurch.org as breakfast is included. Contact the Rev. Caroline Kramer

Lectio Divina 7:00pm on Wednesdays during Lent. This ancient method of reading Scripture and meditating on it is led by Parishioner Leila Quinlan. Contact the Rev. Leila Quinlan

Prayer Bead Workshop 7:00pm Wednesday 16th March Come and make a set of prayer beads and learn how to use them. Returning beaders welcome as these make great gifts. Contact the Rev. Caroline Kramer

 Quiet Day for Holy Week March 19th at our San Pablo Campus. The Rev. Wendy Billingslea will lead this day to prepare us for this most sacred time of the year. Please register at christepiscopalchurch.org Contact the Rev Wendy Billingslea.

The Labyrinth in Holy Week. Weather permitting we will be setting out a Labyrinth over the Palm Sunday Weekend which will be available for use during Holy Week. Contact Parish Office

NB: We have a very large labyrinth available if folks would like to borrow it (you will need to call for dimensions to make sure it will fit your space - it really is that big). We might even be able to find someone to come and run a workshop if you would like that. Contact Parish Office.

The Rev. Leila Quinlan:

I would also like everyone to know that there is a service project each week in the Family Ministries Lenten sessions on Wednesday evenings and there are several small group studies which are being firmed up as we speak! One from Wendy for Women Connecting and a few will hopefully be flowing out from the Advent studies into new Lenten small group studies.

  1. What individuals (clergy) are doing for Lent:

In addition to sharing what their churches are doing during Lent, a number of clergy also kindly shared their personal Lenten observances.

In the western half of the Diocese Brian Smith at FSU is reading Understanding the Whole Bible: The King,The Kingdom and the New Covenant by Jonathan Welton. John Wesley and his wife Sandie in Quincy are following a program called "An Ignatian Prayer Adventure" recommended on the Ignatian spirituality blog dotMagis. If you are a fan of journals, Abi Moon at St John's Tallahassee has a good recommendation from her Lenten practice: Sacred Ordinary Days. She writes, "It is lectionary based and allows for reflection, goal setting and evaluation all within the context of the liturgical year. It is a beautiful book to use". Deacon Phyllis Doty in Live Oak will continue reading The Big Book of Christian Mysticism by Carl McColman. For his own devotions, Richard Pelkey in Newberry is using Show Me the Way by Henri Nouwen.

 In the First Coast area, Kate Moorehead at the Cathedral says she is going to memorize a daily verse of Scripture. "Sounds very Baptist of me, but I want to hold it closer and having verses memorized will be good for me." Maybe so, (to the credit of our Baptist brethren) but it strikes me as also very Medieval (to the credit of our monastic forbearers). Jo Ann Ford at St Philip's, Jacksonville is completing The Four Vision Quests of Jesus by the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston--retired bishop of Alaska and a Choctaw Indian.  Steve was a mentor to Jo Ann in her first year in seminary in Minnesota.  During Lent Jo Ann and her soul friend and are both reading Kathleen Norris' Acedia and Me.  And finally, Donavan Cain at All Saints', Jacksonville is reading a book recommended by Bishop Bill Godfrey, The Road to Eternal Life by the Australian Cistercian monk Michael Casey.

  The Rev. Dr. HD Dupree,

Rector, The Bishop's Institute for Ministry and Leadership