It can be very difficult for schools, even church schools, to keep Lent – usually Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday will be marked, there is then a huge leap to Mothering Sunday and then, depending on term dates, children end up celebrating Easter before the rest of the Church has embarked upon Holy Week! With this problem in mind, this year all primary schools in the Diocese have been issued with a Lenten challenge by the Bishops and are being asked to mark Lent by performing a task each week. There is a great deal of choice involved in what schools actually do, but they have been given broad themes to work within, such as: “Thinking about the Meaning of Lent”; “Remember the World”; “Remember your Neighbours”. The emphasis is not so much upon “What shall we do” but on Lent as a time of personal commitment, and so at the end of the process schools will receive a gold, silver or bronze award based on their commitment to observing Lent. Twenty schools have already signed up for the challenge and there is still a month for others to put their names forward. They will be sharing their experiences through weekly blogs and you will be able to access these through the webpage http://www.stir-up.org.uk/lent.html, you can also find the challenge booklet as a download on the same web page.
The challenge is a great opportunity for parishes to get involved with their local school during Lent, in fact some of the suggestions within the challenge booklet do relate to the local church, so you might well find the schools approaching you for your support! Remember the challenge is open to all schools – church schools, community schools, academies, special schools, even secondary schools can join in if they wish – so if your local school is not yet on the list of participants you could bring it to their attention and offer to work with them on it – that could be your Lent Challenge!
Dr Shirley Hall
Assistant Diocesan Director of Education
Cambs CB7 4DX