This year Lent begins on February 17 (Ash Wednesday) and ends on April 4 (Easter Sunday). Lent offers Christians a chance to reflect, to examine themselves and their faith and to give up something to give to others - all as a way of preparing for Easter.
In normal times St Thomas's would offer a series of talks, courses, shared meals and other activities to help us prepare for Easter. However, during the pandemic, our Lent preparations all online and have three strands: Study and reflection, services on Zoom and our giving appeal.
Study and reflection
Services on Zoom
Lent giving appeal
A chance to give to this year's Lent charity: Salisbury Hospice Charity.
Tamsin Murley, Community Fundraiser for the Hospice, tells us that the pandemic has severely cut its fund-raising. It has forced
it to adapt to the ever-changing conditions and "shone a light" on the core aspects of its care services for patients and their families in their
homes, in the hospice, in care homes and in the hospital.
The Revd Canon Kelvin Inglis
The Rector writes . . .
Those who listened to Jesus must have been familiar with one of his more enjoyable teachings: ‘Whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in places of worship and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing ...'.
Truth to tell, I don't mind whether you give in secret or commission a brass band - Paul said, 'God loves a cheerful giver' after all - but do please support our Lent Appeal as you have the means.
Here are three ideas for giving up and giving to others, even during the pandemic:
1. Give up and Give
Why not give up a habit of pre-Covid times? Maybe a regular coffee or another beverage – remember those days when that was allowed? Work out how much these treats cost per week. ‘Give them up’ and give to the Lent Appeal instead.
2. Get Together and Give
Get together for a ‘Virtual Coffee Morning’ or ‘Afternoon Tea’ with some friends old and new. Create a zoom time and invite 4 or 5 people to join you for a chat. Ask them to give the cost of a cuppa or two to the Lent Appeal. (Fi Green will be available to help you to create or join a zoom call)
3. Get Out and Give Gratefully
Be grateful if you are allowed out of your house for exercise. Think up a sum that you could gratefully give each time you leave the house, make a note of how many times you go out and at Easter make that donation to the Lent Appeal.
You can donate online by pressing the yellow Donate button, using secure arrangements we have made with Charities Aid Foundation - CAF Donate. We accept debit and credit cards as well as PayPal. If you're eligible, please make a Gift Aid declaration to increase the size of your gift at no additional cost to you.
You can also send a cheque to: Lent Appeal Treasurer, St Thomas’s PCC, St Thomas’s House, 5 St Thomas’s Square, Salisbury SP1 1BA.
Cheques should be made payable to ‘PCC of St Thomas and St Edmund’. Please make it really obvious that this money is a Lent Giving gift.