21 January 2009
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, are encouraging families to share in simple acts of kindness together during this Lent. Suggested acts of kindness in the third instalment of the Church of England’s Love Life Live Lent programme, launched today, include having a clear out of unwanted clothes and toys and donating them to a charity shop, producing simple home-made gifts for Mothering Sunday, creating a prayer space in the understairs cupboard, making a bird cake or learning some basic first aid skills.
The campaign promotes the idea that doing something positive for friends, neighbours or the wider local community can be as transforming and spiritually beneficial as ‘giving something up’ for Lent. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York say in their joint introduction: “With God’s help we can change the world for good a little bit every day. Together we can build better and more generous communities. Together we can lighten the load on our planet. We show God’s love when we do these things.”
The multi-media campaign has captured the imagination of more than a quarter of million people who have got involved in the past two years. In 2007, more than 130,000 people joined in with Love Life Live Lent, many of whom opted to receive the daily suggested acts of service by text message. Last year, the suggested actions were available through social networking sites including Facebook and MySpace, and a group of prominent bloggers were enlisted to help spread the word through cyberspace.
This year, Love Life Live Lent returns with two pocket-sized booklets published by Church House Publishing, based on the ‘best of’ the previous series – one for children, and one for young people and adults – and, new for 2009, the family book packed with extra hints, tips and advice on completing a Lent’s worth of actions as a family. This resource book includes all the actions from the booklets, plus extra activities, recipes (for pancakes and hot cross buns) and prayers. The campaign website – www.livelent.net – will also include extra resources, including a colourful wall chart to help families chart their journey through Lent together.
Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, is to be marked on 25 February this year. The new set of booklets are undated, meaning they can be used every year. In both the children’s and youth and adults’ versions, six actions are provided for each week of Lent, one for each of the themes of ‘home and family’; community-focused activities; activities designed for school, college, or workplace; global actions (supplied by Christian Aid); environmental actions and, finally, actions encouraging prayer and stillness.
The price of the individual booklets has been held at £1 each (discount available for bulk orders) and the family book (ISBN 978-07151-4179-3) costs £4.99. The products are available from Christian bookshops, or by mail order via the web.
Love Life Live Lent started life in the Diocese of Birmingham in 2006, inspired by a local pilgrimage. The booklet was such a hit that the original print run had to be increased repeatedly, and 70,000 copies were distributed through churches, schools and community centres.