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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    Lent 2023

    Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Below, you'll find links to activities and information for observance of the Lenten season, which begins with Ash Wednesday on February 22, to use on your own, with your family, friends, and congregation. 

    Upper New York Conference

    Episode 2: Unity with our Neighbors

    The Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens sits down with Kristina Clark, Upper New York's Director of Missional Engagement, and discusses unity with our neighbors.

    Episode 1: The Call to Unity

    The Rev. Dr. Aaron Bouwens sits down with Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Héctor Burgos Núñez to discuss the call to unity.

    "On the Mission: Better Together" Podcast

    Listen above or click here for to our channel on Simplecast. The podcasts can also be found on iHeart, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, Stitcher, and Amazon Podcasters. Click here to learn more about the series or click here to watch the video version of the podcast.

    Spiritual Disciplines by the Rev. Nancy Dibelius

    Lent is a great time to try a new spiritual practice like praying the daily office, Lectio Divina, journaling, fasting, or prayer walking. The Rev. Nancy Dibelius, Assistant Director of Vital Congregations for Spiritual Life, has recorded several videos that can help you become better at spiritual disciplines. Click here to access and watch all of Rev. Dibelius' videos about spiritual disciplines.

    Rethink Church

    Photo a Day Challenge

    Each day during Lent, Rethink Church offers a scripture-inspired word for your consideration. Throughout the day, see how the word inspires you or shows up in your life and share your thoughts by posting a picture on your social media platform. No explanation is needed in your post.

    Quiz about Lent

    Time to test your knowledge. See how much you really know about the season of Lent.

    Article: 10 ideas for a more meaningful Ash Wednesday

    Books for Lent and Easter

    Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord? Meditations on Calvary by Linda Bonney Olin

    Explore Calvary through the eyes of people who were there when Jesus Christ was arrested and nailed to a Roman cross. Who were they? What did they see, and hear, and feel? What did they do? What can their experiences teach us? This book reads between the lines of scripture, delving into those questions with Bible readings, insightful meditations, thought-provoking discussion questions, songs, and prayers. Present it as a weekly program or small group study for Lent, or read it as a private devotional.

    Giving It Up for Lent by Linda Bonney Olin

    Want to put more GIVING into giving something up for Lent? Try this fun, life-changing, five-to-seven session Bible study, featuring “The Sacrifice Support Group,” a two-act dramatic comedy about a mixed bag of church characters whose pastor challenges them to offer Lenten sacrifices that glorify God and benefit their families and community—even the world! Two 20-minute acts, which can be performed with little or no staging or preparation. Giving It Up for Lent: Leader Guide includes Old Testament and Gospel accounts of people who offered sacrifices to the Lord; the drama script; and discussion questions for adult or teen study groups. Individual workbooks for study participants are available separately.

    Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas by Linda Bonney Olin

    This collection offers five one-act drama scripts portraying the people closest to Jesus Christ, transformed by his resurrection:

    • Mary, his mother, transformed from giver of life to receiver of life
    • Simon Peter, from brash betrayer to the Church's solid rock
    • Mary Magdalene, from desolate disciple to eternal beloved
    • James, from skeptical brother to ardent worshiper
    • John, from seeker of worldly honors to evangelist for sacrificial kingdom glory

    Transformed offers a variety of light and heavier drama, comedy, and optional music. The scripts are written for easy reading as well as performing.

    Water and Spirit 

    This collection by multiple author provides daily devotions for each day throughout Lent. Devotions begin with an evocative image and a brief passage from the Gospel of John. The writers then bring their unique voices and pastoral wisdom to the texts with quotations to ponder, reflections, and prayers.

    Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter 

    There is no Easter without Lent. This collection includes about 50 readings on Easter and related themes and will satisfy the growing hunger for meaningful and accessible devotions. (Plough Publishing House)

     Lent in Plain Sight: A Devotion Through Ten Objects by Jill Duffield

    In this devotional, you'll discover ten ordinary objects that Jesus would have encountered on his way to Jerusalem: dust, bread, the cross, coins, shoes, oil, coats, towels, thorns, and stones. In each object, readers will find meaning in the biblical account of Jesus’ final days. Free digital resources are available, which include a group study guide, sermon series guide, and images for use during worship or study and to promote your outreach. (WJK Press)

    A Way Other than our Own: Devotions for Lent by Walter Brueggemann 

    God has always called people out of their safe, walled cities into uncomfortable places, revealing paths they would never have chosen. Despite our culture of self-indulgence, we too are called to walk an alternative path one of humility, justice, and peace. (WJK Press)

    Living into Lent by Donald K. McKim 

    The Lenten journey is a shared journey—Christians join with others along the way of faith, following Jesus and seeking to live out the will and purpose of God. This book sets aside time for readers to reflect on their Christian identities, listen to God’s Word and will, and engage in practices that deepen the Christian experience through discipleship. (WJK Press)


    Watch the webinar recording with author Barb Roose and host Melissa Spoelstra as they discuss Barb's newest book and six-week Bible study, Finding Jesus in the Psalms. The book takes a look at six psalms and highlights Lenten themes like worship, hope, prayer, confession, forgiveness, courage, and faith. The study concludes with Psalm 22 and Jesus’ final words from the cross. During the webinar you will learn how to:

    • See the connection between Jesus and some of your favorite Psalms;
    • Overcome Lenten guilt by seeing Lent as a "preparation" season instead of a "performance" season;
    • Apply three fresh Lenten activities to enrich your experience

    Click here to watch the recording from Feb. 9, 2023. 

    General Commission on Religion & Race

    Free five-week Lent Bible study

    Try this free downloadable Lent Bible study using the practice of Lectio Divina. In this form of Bible study all participants are equal, all insights are of equal value, and there are no wrong answers to correct. This form of Bible study is built upon prayerful listening to the Holy Spirit and to each other. Click here to download the Bible study.

    Discipleship Ministries

    Podcast: Worship Matters- Learning to Live Inside Out (Episode 81)

    In this episode, the Discipleship Ministries' worship team discusses this series and how local churches can use these resources to fit their context in a dynamic way.

    Celebrating Lent with your family

    Part of faith formation at any age is compassion and offering a serving heart to our neighbors. These past few years have been challenging when trying to find ways to serve our neighbors while remaining physically distant. Lent is a good time to commit to giving money to a project that helps those in need. One way to involve the whole family is to collect coins during the season of Lent and then following Easter, donate the money. Click here to follow the Coins for Lent Giving Calendar guide.

    Society of St. Andrew

    Free Lent devotionals

    Order free new 2023 Lenten devotional booklets and have them shipped to your congregation. This year's writers share stories of redemption from their own lives, using Ephesians 1:7-8 as a prompt. The deadline to order printed copies of these booklets was Monday Feb. 6, 2023. Click here to download the booklet.

    United Methodist Communications

    Direct mail, banners, and Easter invites

    Invite your community to worship with you this Easter. Customizable resources are available in a wide variety of designs, languages, and message types. Click here to see the designs and place an order.

    With more than 140,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 825 local churches and 90 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."