Lent during the pandemic: how churches and Christians are marking lent this year


First published 17th February 2021

Churches in South Bristol distribute ‘Lent in a bag’

A number of churches across the diocese including St Martin’s at Knowle, St Luke’s Brislington, St Anne’s Brislington and St Cuthbert’s Brislington are distributing ‘Lent in a bag’ as a way for people to journey through Lent at home.

Designed by Rev Wendy Bray at All Saints Clifton, each pack includes five small numbered bags with a reflection sheet and an item for each week in Lent. These items, which include sand, stones and candles, invite reflection upon what might sustain us when we find ourselves in the ‘wilderness’.

Vicar of St Martin’s Knowle, Revd Becky Waring, said: “It's ideal for this season, not just because of the lockdown which for many will feel like a wilderness, but also because it can be done at each individual’s own time and pace, whether they're busy home-schooling, or working from home, or looking for a structured space of prayer and reflection.

“There are no right or wrong answers on the reflection sheet, just space for thoughts and a conversation with God .There are also short bible readings included each week  and at St Martin’s we are holding a weekly Zoom drop-in for anyone who would like to share what they're discovering as part of their journey.”

St Mary Redcliffe: A Journey of Prayer

This year for Lent, St Mary Redcliffe will be focusing on prayer. There will be a series of online events and activities as part of a ‘Journey of Prayer’, such as an all-age ‘laboratory’ to experiment with new ways of praying with props such as Lego and chocolate. There are also more reflective and peaceful services, Christian meditation sessions and a ‘School of Prayer’ based on the teachings of St Ignatius of Loyola.

St Peter’s Henleaze: Poetry and art

At St Peter’s in Henleaze there will be a poetry and art display, called ‘Lent Poartry', outside the church, set out in a Covid-secure way and open to anyone to who wishes to pray and reflect as part of their daily exercise. Large-scale prints of poems by R S Thomas, John Milton, Mary Oliver and other poets will be hung alongside paintings – some classical, some modern. Every attender of a church in Bristol West Deanery is invited to participate in Zoom sessions which will discuss the display.

Churches Together in Clifton, Cotham and Redland: Lent Conversations

This group of churches in north Bristol are running online Lent Conversations, featuring talks from speakers such as Professor Gavin G D'Costa Professor in Catholic Theology at University of Bristol and Mrs Josephine Carlsson, Church Ethics Lead, CCLA (Churches, Charities and Local Authorities) Investment Management Limited, about modern slavery, theology as poetry, and more. You can email lentconv@gmail.com for registration information.

St Mary Rodbourne Cheney: Living His Story

St Mary in Swindon is using the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chosen Lent book for 2021, ‘Living His Story’ by Hannah Steele, as a devotional reflection. St Mary’s will be holding weekly study sessions over Zoom, based upon each of the seven chapters of the book and the accompanying study guide.

Vicar of St Mary, Rodbourne Cheney, Swindon, Revd Nick Lines, said: “As we look to a period of recovery from the pandemic, the hope is that Christians may become more confident at sharing their experience of living the Christian story so that others might want to join Jesus and his people in this radically different way of living. The book and study guide ties in with this year’s #LiveLent reflections.”