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For nearly 25 years here in Los Alamos, the annual journey of Christians through the season of Lent has been shared across denominational lines. Ecumenical Lenten Wednesdays will be hosted this year in the new Parish Hall at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church on Wednesday, and March 11, 18, 25 and April 1, beginning at 6 p.m. The public is welcome.
The season of Lent is as ancient as Christianity. Lent is the 40 days (excluding Sundays) that lead up to Holy Week and Easter (which is April 12 this year). Traditionally, it is a time of intentional practice of spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting and giving alms.
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church and Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church created Ecumenical Lenten Wednesdays back in the 1980s. Both have been a part of this journey every year since then. Just last year, the United Church of Los Alamos joined in when Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church could no longer offer its help in the planning. The event is open to anyone in the community who would like to attend.
Ecumenical Lenten Wednesdays begin with a Soup Supper at 6 p.m. Each of the three churches takes its turn hosting the supper. The evening ends with a half hour prayer service at 7:30 p.m. using the Holden Evening Prayer liturgy by Marty Haugen. The congregations take turns offering their choirs, preachers, worship leaders and teachers, making this a truly ecumenical endeavor.
In between the soup supper and worship, classes are offered at 6:40 p.m. for all ages. The Lenten University classes for adults will focus on the theme of Shalom/Wholeness:
Healing Body, Mind and Spirit will be led by the Rev. Alicia Pope, the Rev. Louise Weiss, the Rev. Colin Kelly and seminarians Diane Figge and Laurie Triplett. This course will address healing of the physical body, the need forgiveness plays in becoming whole, healing within one’s church, the importance of emotional healing, and peace and wholeness with God.
Five Great Dates will be led by Phil and Barbara Seeger of the United Church. A shorter version of David and Claudia Arp’s “10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage,” this class for couples includes a series of dates designed to improve communication and conflict-resolution skills. Participants commit to attend as many sessions as possible and to go on the assigned date during the week.
Dimensions of Shalom will be led by the Los Alamos Jewish Center’s Sy Stange, Rick Light, David Israelevitz and Andrew Dattelbaum. Topics in this course will include “Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World,” “Shalom HaBayit: Creating Peace One Home at a Time,” and “War and Peace in Jewish Law.”
Salam in Islamic Thought will be taught by Aziz al Eddebbarh, imam of the Santa Fe mosque, will lead this series of presentations with members of his congregation.
“Get a Clue!” is the theme of the youth class, for middle and high school ages.
“Tell Me a Story” is offered for elementary-aged kids; each night they hear a story and do a craft. Nursery care is available during the classes and worship time.