The Bishop of Southwark's Lent Call
A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Christopher
As we move on through Epiphanytide, when we are giving thanks for the many gifts that God has given to us and our parishes and for the generosity of the parishes through the Parish Support Fund, I am pleased to be able to send to you materials for this year’s Lent Call. Lent begins quite early this year and I hope that you will be fully prepared for this important time in the Church’s calendar and that you will find this material a useful aid to keeping a holy and prayerful Lent.
The monies raised through the Bishop Lent Call each year go to support work in other parts of the Anglican Communion and projects in our own Diocese. In 2017 we were able to give grants totalling over £80,000 to our Link Dioceses in Zimbabwe and to projects that work with people in our Diocese. As we spend time in prayer and contemplation this Lent, I hope that you will feel able to generously support the projects we have chosen this year in the Holy Land, locally in the Diocese of Southwark and our Link Dioceses in Zimbabwe. I am glad that this year the 90+ pilgrims that I will lead to the Holy Land with the Dean will be able to visit two of the projects we have chosen to support in the Holy Land.
Successive Bishops of Southwark have called the parishes to a time of prayer and contemplation during Lent, through the Lent Call since 1986 and over the years, this has raised nearly £1,000,000 which has been shared with more than 150 projects. I am grateful to all our Churches and Schools for their generous gifts and fundraising. It is good that we share what we have in this way. It is as important though that the Bishop’s Lent Call helps each of us to keep a holy and prayerful Lent as we consider our lives and how we can show our love for God to the world.
Greetings cards produced for the Lent Call are available again and can be bought from Trinity House. They offer images from our Link Dioceses in Zimbabwe and are blank for you to use in whatever way you wish. Please publicise these in your church and consider having some to sell in your church as all profits will go to the Lent Call. There is an order form enclosed with this pack.
It is possible to give to the Lent Call by text and online (http://bit.ly/LentCall18) as well as by cheque, which should be sent to John Jackson at Trinity House. As well as information concerning the projects we are supporting you will find worship sheets for use in schools or Sunday Schools. Do follow our twitter feed (@southwarkcofe) as we will be adding extra material about the projects each week. There will also be a Lent Call blog which will include photographs and information from the Pilgrimage that I leading with the Dean of Southwark to the Holy Land in February as well as more information about the other projects. I hope and pray that you will find them useful as you encourage those in your care to use Lent well and to give generously to the Bishops’ Lent Call. (Do look out for the Pilgrimage blog too!)
This year we have used the wonderful words from Isaiah read by Jesus in the Temple and recorded in the Gospel of Luke chapter 4 verses 18 -19:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
We are each called to tell others about the Good News of Jesus Christ and to make it known in our lives as we seek to live in the way that God would have us so. We are to be bearers of Good News and of Christ, wherever we are.
The projects we are supporting seek to bring help to those who are in need in the Holy Land as a result of the years of conflict; to offer help to our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe as they work at this time of national transition for a better tomorrow there and to care for those in need of help across a wide spectrum of issues such as homelessness, mental health and domestic violence here in our own Diocese. Alongside giving to these projects I hope that you will which to pray for the people concerned and the needs these projects address. The projects we are assisting this year are listed below to help you, and the communities you lead and serve, frame your use of the Lent Call during this holy season.
The Lent Call materials can be found on the Diocesan website at: www.southwark.anglican.org/lentcall where you will also find the extra material.
With my thanks and prayers for our partnership in the service of the Kingdom,