The Clewer Initiative’s Lent challenge introduces one industry a week that is touched by slavery- with challenges, each based around a different aspect of modern slavery. For example one week asks you to see whether your favourite tea is ethically sourced, and another prompts you to investigate where the minerals in your phone come from. The aims of the campaign are to raise awareness of modern slavery, and encourage people to think more deeply about the purchasing decisions they make.
Hungry for Change
Church Urban Fund’s Lent course focuses on food poverty, one of the most obvious signs of disparity in our society in recent years. It looks at the injustice, failure of generosity and distribution behind food poverty and asks whether the situation is a product of wrong human choices or a lack of God’s provision- these sorts of questions will foster healthy debate over the five-week course.
Broken. A six week study course for Lent, Canon Dr Paula Gooder, Director of Mission Learning & Development Birmingham Diocese
The TV series, Broken, written by Jimmy McGovern and starring Sean Bean is set in an estate parish somewhere in the UK. The church used at the centre of the series is in Liverpool but the series never explicitly states that this is where the narrative is set. The series focuses on the life and ministry Father Michael Kerrigan, a Roman Catholic, priest who, despite past trauma and anxiety about his own inadequacies, attempts to bring the light of Christ into the lives of the people amongst whom he ministers. The series portrays real life at its most gritty and unvarnished, and in doing so raises many questions along the way about how to live faithfully when life is very hard.
This course arose out of numerous conversations I had with people after the series aired. So many people commented that they thought it would make an excellent Lent or study course that I thought it would be interesting to have a go. I have shaped the course around the principles of the series itself – which raises far more questions than it ever answers. The idea of the course is to provide the space for people to pick up the questions raised in the series and to explore how they might want to answer them.
Please click on the link below to download the sessions, leaders' notes and a list of helplines as the series contains disturbing story lines.
Nothing More and Nothing Less: A Lent Course based on the film I, Daniel Blake
The film I, Daniel Blake covers themes of oppression, compassion and radical response by telling the story of two people's struggles with an oppressive and dehumanising benefits system. This is a five-week Lent study, suitable for groups or individuals, that encourages readers to consider the stories of the film and how Christians may be called to respond. Chapters cover such topics as Compassion in the Darkness and the Suffering Servant. The book includes scene timings for key scenes, discussion points, meditations and suggested prayers.
Not A Tame Lion
This is a Lent course based on the Bible and related scenes and characters from the Narnia films The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian and the C S Lewis bio-pic Shadowlands. There are five group discussion sessions exploring themes of suffering, God’s absence and the gift of the present in Christ. Personal meditations and further studies exploring the deeper meaning of the films with reference to heaven, judgement, and the force of evil are also included.
A Beautiful Friendship This course is based on the film classic Casablanca, which provides a great basis for discussion of themes of sacrifice, repentance, suffering, loss and hope at Lent. Its wartime setting provides additional poignancy for study at a time of continued armed conflict around the world as well as the centenary remembrance of the first world war. Miranda and Not Going Out writer Paul Kerensa makes an intriguing departure from his comedy writing, preparing this moving book with his wife, Zoe Young. It is designed to be studied by groups or individuals alongside the DVD of Casablanca. The book includes leaders' notes, timings for film clips, discussion-starters, reflections and prayers.
Finding a Voice This is a new and original Lent course by Hilary Brand which takes the film, The King's Speech, as a starting point, and explores the ways in which fear holds us back and examines how we, like Bertie, can face and overcome our fears and begin to find our authentic voice. The course is based around five weekly group sessions which each include extracts from the film, group discussion questions, exercises and meditations. There are also short introductory and follow up chapters, with related Bible passages, for individual reading each week. Also included is a suggested follow up session, along with full notes for leaders.
Another Story Must Begin This Lent course based on the film, the novel and the stage adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Through discussion of some of the themes and principal characters of this epic narrative, the course explores the grace of God and our own fallen state and opportunity for redemption, and helps us to reassess what we can do with our lives and for those around us. The course is based around five weekly group sessions: Fantine and Cosette, the Bishop of Digne, Jean Valjean, Javert and Redemption and Salvation. Each session includes watching scenes from the Oscar-winning movie (with timing references for the DVD), and questions and reflections for group discussion. Each session also includes introductory reading, notes for leaders, related Bible passages and suggested closing prayers.
The Mystery of Everything This Lent course by Hilary Brand takes the award-winning film about Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything, as its starting point. The course explores ways in which the mysteries of the universe and of everyday life - and the acceptance that we have more questions than answers - can reinvigorate our faith and spiritual journey. The course is based around five weekly group sessions entitled: the experience of wonder, the enigma of weakness, the complexity of relationships, the encounter with frailty and the hope beyond brokenness. Each session includes an extract from the film, group discussion questions and a meditation. There are also short introductory and follow up chapters for individual reading each week, and a chapter of Bible passages for further daily reading. The book supplies full notes for group course leaders.
This book provides encouragement to all those who feel the need to refresh how they pray. It looks at prayer as having the trust and belief that God is truly interested in everything that happens to us and wants to hear about it. The book leads the reader into the theological aspects of prayer and how it relates to Christ, to the Holy Spirit and to the Church. This is done without using complex theological concepts but simply through scriptural quotations. Chapters are kept brief intentionally to make the book suitable for daily reading over the Lenten period. With a foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Say it to God demonstrates that the everyday, even the most mundane of tasks and situations, can be applied in deepening our practice of prayer.
The Children’s Society provide The Story of Lent, prayers and reflections
Christian Aid have daily Count Your Blessings reflections for both adults and children.
21st century living is hectic. Getting the right 'life balance' between rest, work and play seems almost impossible. In five interactive sessions, Life Balance aims to help groups explores: How to build Sabbath time into the crazy pressures of everyday life. How 'Sabbath attitudes' can transform the way we spend our time. Each session contains enough material for a 90-minute session and includes guidelines for group study, with full background notes for leaders, interactive activities, questions for discussion and multimedia ideas, and ideas for practical action.
A series of Lenton Addresses at St Werburgh's church Spondon by Bishop Alastair. To download a copy of the booklet please click here
We are grateful to Ali Campbell, DYO for Chichester Diocese who has given permission to share this document. Please click here to get the finished PDF for the “Lent Bible Reflections for Young People”.
"My hope with the resource is that young people themselves will use it, with so many now having their own tablets and phones that can be used as readers – this seemed the simplest way. Use it however you like as youth and children’s leaders – if it also personally helpful – that is great! Please pass it on as you see fit."