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Churches join forces to celebrate Lent

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By The Staff

For the past 20 years, several churches have spent Wednesday nights together during the season of Lent. The Rev. Colin Kelly of Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church (TOTH), said, back in 1987, he and the Rev. Calder Gibson of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church (BELC) and the Rev. Gus of Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church (IHM) created Ecumenical Lenten Wednesdays in Los Alamos.The five-week shared program has been a tradition for many churchgoers in Los Alamos, a part of the life cycle of Christian practice for them and a 20-year habit. People come to eat, learn and worship with their friends from other congregations, a joyful activity that isn’t often possible on Sunday mornings.Kelly said for the past 20 years, the format of Lenten Wednesdays has remained the same. The churches welcome anyone in the community for a homemade soup and bread supper at 6 p.m., classes for all ages at 6:40 p.m. and worship at 7:30 p.m. Each church takes a turn at organizing the soup supper, offering its choir at worship and ministers as presider and preacher. The classes for all ages are led by members of all three churches.This year, Ecumenical Lenten Wednesdays are being held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 2390 North Road. The United Church of Los Alamos (UCLA) has joined in the efforts this year, even as IHM had to officially bow out in 2007 due to its full schedule of Lenten worship.“Ecumenical Lenten University” classes for adults have for the past 15 years included one taught by members of the Los Alamos Jewish Center; this year the center is presenting various topics related to scripture and practice in Judaism. The four other classes offered this year are “Discover Your Gifts” with Pat Slentz (UCLA) and Cynthia Biddlecomb (BELC), Eugene Peterson’s “Eat This Book” led by the Rev. Bruce Kuenzel (BELC), “Rediscovering the Labyrinth” led by Bob Thomsen and Kate Thomas (both BELC), and “Discovering What the Bible Really Says About Women (and Men)” led by the Rev. Alicia Pope (TOTH) and the Rev. Kay Anders (TOTH).During the adult “Lenten University,” separate classes geared for middle and high school youth and for children in kindergarten through sixth grade are offered as well. Nursery care is staffed by all three churches and is offered the entire evening for children up through age 5.The number of participants has greatly diminished since IHM pulled out of the program (though several IHM members still attend). But there is plenty of soup and room enough for 200 or more people. The churches wish to invite and encourage everyone in the community who would like to delve into his or her Christian roots throughout Lent to participate.For additional information, call BELC at 662-5151 or check the website, www.bethluth.com.