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Ministerial Association reflects on meaning of observance, announces Community Lenten Services

Posted: February 7, 2012 2:06 p.m.
Updated: February 8, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County Ministerial Association (KCMA) has a tradition of offering Community Lenten Services. These services are hosted by a local congregation while inviting another local pastor to preach. In past years these services were held in the evenings. This year the services have been moved to the noon hour.

“We’ve come to realize that a number of people are not comfortable driving after dark,” KCMA President Rev. Dr. Angela Jennings said. “Additionally, we hope to provide a lunch time worship opportunity for those who live and work in our community.”

The Kershaw County Ministerial Association is providing a series of Community Lenten Services beginning with an Ash Wednesday service Feb. 22 at noon. This service will be held at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church at 1301 Mill St., Camden. The Reverend Angela Jennings and Father Frank Travis will preside.

What is Lent?

Lent is a season of preparation leading up to Easter. It is the 40 days plus the six Sundays before Easter. For centuries, it has been observed as a special time of self examination and penitence. Lent is a time for concentration on fundamental values and priorities, and is not a time for self punishment. Throughout Lent, the worship services of the church take on a simpler tone, appropriate to this season. Banners are removed from the church. Crosses showing the risen Christ are veiled. The word “Alleluia” is not used in the words of the liturgy or hymns. These practices help the worshipping community to mark this season of renewal as a special time in the church year.
Observing Lent

The custom is to mark the season of Lent by giving up some things and taking on others. Both can serve to mark the season as a holy time of preparation. Some examples of things people give up for Lent include sweets, meat for all or some meals, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. In most cases, giving up something for Lent can be made more meaningful by using the money or time for another and better purpose. For example, meal times on fast days could be spent in prayer. Another example is that if you give up a food during Lent, the money saved would go to buy food, or given, to help others. Some things added during Lent are daily Bible reading, fasting on Fridays (or other times), times of prayer, taking a course of study related in some way to spirituality. This is a good time to join a Sunday school class or weekly Bible Study. Lent is an especially appropriate time for personal reflection and confession.

Note that the season of Lent is 40 days plus the six Sundays. This is one of the reasons that Wednesdays are normally set aside for additional worship services. This rather odd grouping happens because Sundays are always celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection and are therefore, always an appropriate day to lessen the restrictions of Lent.

Special Days and Services

Shrove Tuesday -- Feb. 21
This is actually the day before Lent begins. The day is named for the “shriving” or confession. The day before Ash Wednesday was traditionally a day of confession. This day is also known as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” because it was a time for eating the things from which one would abstain during Lent, namely fat and sugar. Pancake suppers are traditional as they are a way of using up the ingredients not needed during Lent.

Ash Wednesday -- Feb. 22
The first day of Lent is marked with a special liturgy -- worship service. The theme for the day, though not for all of Lent, is that we stand as sinners condemned to die, but for God’s grace. This is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on the forehead, with the words, “You are dust and to dust you shall return.” In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of penitence (feeling regretful at offenses) and mourning.
Ash Wednesday is one of two days of special observance (the other being Good Friday) for which traditionally fasting is recommended. While this usually refers to going without food for the entire day, this practice is not practical for all persons, including, but not limited to, diabetics. Use your own discretion in determining how you can best observe this day.

Palm/Passion Sunday   Palm Procession
This Sunday before Easter is the last Sunday in Lent. The day commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with a blessing of palms and a procession in which the whole congregation carries palms. The day is also marked by reading the story of Jesus’ passion (the word used to describe Jesus’ death comes from suffering, which is one ancient meaning of passion). Some of the Palm Sunday palms are kept and used to make the Ash Wednesday ashes for the next year.
The Passion of Christ, from the Latin patior meaning “suffer,” refers to those sufferings our Lord endured for our redemption from the agony in the garden of Gethemane until His death on Calvary. The Passion narratives of the Gospels provide the details of our Lord’s passion. Palm/Passion has been combined into one celebration. We begin the worship service in Palm Sunday and move into the Passion narrative.

Maundy Thursday -- April 5
This is the Thursday in Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). The day is a time for remembering The Last Supper. The name comes from the Latin word “Maundatum” for “commandment” as Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment; that you love one another.” At the conclusion of this service, altars are stripped of any ornamentation and crosses are removed or veiled to mark the solemnity of the occasion.

Good Friday -- April 6
The Friday in Holy Week is a time for remembering Jesus’ death. Traditionally there is a Good Friday service at noon as Jesus hung on the cross from noon until 3 p.m. There may also be an evening service. This is the second day of special observance for which fasting is recommended. One should use discretion in decided how best to observe this day. There is no celebration of Communion from Maundy Thursday until the Easter Vigil on late Saturday or early Sunday. However, it is customary in many churches to give out the elements of communion blessed during the Maundy Thursday service.

Community Lenten Services All servces will be held at noon followed by a light lunch.

Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22 at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church 1301 Mill St., Camden with The Reverend Angela Jennings and Father Frank Travis presiding.

Wednesday, Feb. 29th at Camden First United Methodist Church, 704 Dekalb St., Camden with Jimmy Hanf preaching.

Wednesday, March 7 at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, 1301 Mill St., Camden with The Reverend Chip Summers preaching.

Wednesday, March 14 at Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church, 1206 Lyttleton St., Camden with the Reverend Angela Jennings preaching.

Wednesday, March 21 at Bethesda Presbyterian Church, 502 DeKalb St. Camden with The Reverend Connie Barnes preaching.

Wednesday, March 28 at Southside Baptist Church, 200 York St. Camden with The Reverend Ellis White preaching.

Palm Sunday Parade begins in front of St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church at 10 a.m. Friday, April 6 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 1709 Lyttleton St. Camden with Stations of the Cross led by Father Frank Travis.

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