Welcome to St. Stephen's Anglican Church
Diocese of New Westminster
St. Stephen's is a welcoming Christian Church providing spiritual and caring support to the community
We're a community-minded church discovering together what life can be like when lived from a place of faith, hope, love and purpose. We would love to have you join us for one of our Sunday services at either 8.00am or 10:00 am. Learn more
Message from the Vicar - What is Lent All About?
The season of Lent starts on Ash Wednesday - February 10th this year. Lent is the forty days, plus the six Sundays, which is observed as a special time of self-examination and penitence in preparation for Easter. For Christians Lent offers us a process of prayer and spiritual renewal and an opportunity to cultivate the interior life through spiritual exercise and practices. It is not meant as a bleak and restricted time, rather it is a time of rediscovery. A chance to open ourselves more deeply to the beauty and power of the ‘dying and rising to new in Jesus’ that our faith calls us to. It is a time to ponder the reality of the death and resurrection and to allow it to soak into our deepest self.
Traditionally Lent is marked by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Prayer isn’t just asking God for what we would like, prayer is attention to God; a way of ‘listening’ for the voice of God in our life. Prayer can include silence, various forms of meditation and mindfulness and time spent in nature. Lent encourages us to step aside from the busyness of life and experience a new depth of prayer.
Fasting is another traditional Lenten practice. While we normally associate fasting with giving up food, we can also ‘fast’ from a variety of things in our life (TV, shopping, indifference to others to name just a few). Fasting signifies a willingness to free ourselves from the desires, ambitions and pursuits that center on the demand of the self. It points to a willingness to be freed from the self-centredness that drives so much of our life and reminds us that our deepest hunger should be for God.
Our third practice is almsgiving. Almsgiving doesn't just mean tossing coins to a homeless person. More generally it means giving to the needy and can encompass a wide range of reaching out to help other people, our society and the world itself. Lent calls us to a greater compassion for others, especially the poor and needy. It invites us to examine ourselves honestly and to see how in many and subtle ways we have accepted societies concerns and priorities over God’s.
Lent is a time for spiritual growth. I invite you to take advantage of this opportunity for growth and newness of life.