Lent Challenge 2021
Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities. What have you given up for Lent?
Every year, we join in the Lent Challenges set by Bishop Stephen. This year’s challenge is all about hope and the future. “A future for us all in God’s world. There is much in the world at the moment where hope is needed. Life seems as if it has been put on hold, but God’s love is always there for us all… Christian hope is what happens when we are set alight with the vision for God’s world as one where all can flourish.”
Let’s find out… How did the virus affect our lives and where did you look for hope? Can you see a way ahead now?
Let the Bible inspire us… passages from the Bible that help us to find out more about the hope that God gives us:
Genesis Chapter 9 verses 6-12
After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
Jeremiah Chapter 29, verse 11- 12
For surely, I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you all.
Storytime: God has shown us that we know he is with us whenever things go wrong. Watch the story of Noah and his ark and think about the rainbow that God sent after the flood to show that he promises he will be there for us always and that we have hope and a future.
What can we do? …We can understand that: life is sometimes hard, God is with us in the difficult times, God promises that we have sunshine after the rain, we have hope after difficult times. We can help those who have suffered the most and reach out a hand of friendship. We can help everyone in our school as we all work together to be hopeful that all in our school can thrive.
Week Two: Hope can make a difference
Let’s find out… Can we make a difference? Can we reach out to others who are struggling? Can we stay safe and still be there for other people too?
Let the Bible inspire us… 1 Thessalonians Chapter 1, verses 3-5
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.
What can we do? …Let’s remember about all the things we wished we could do but couldn’t during lockdown. How can those wishes now become hope and give us energy in the way we live? What was it that kept us hopeful? What is it now that keeps us positive and ready to make a difference? Contact a relative who has been alone for so long, contact a friend who hasn’t been in touch for a while, go to the playground, walk in the village so people can see you and chance to meet again.
1) Create a Word Cloud (like the one above about hope) using words that describe the pandemic and words or phrases that they have heard so many times; or you could use words that would help those that may be struggling
Week Three: Hope in our Communities
Let’s find out… Which people need our help in our community? What organisations are there that are supporting people, such as the church, a local shop, a health centre, a hospital, a care home. Find out if there are now online communities which are supporting local people through communication and offers of help. This could be through Facebook or other social media as a way of knowing when people need support at this time. Are there organisations involved in Food Banks and community transport?
Let the Bible inspire us… passages from the Bible that tell us how Jesus met people in the communities and reached out to those who were suffering.
- Meeting the Samaritan woman at the well (John, Chapter 4)
- Meeting a man begging who was unable to walk (John Chapter 5 verses 2-15)
- Meeting the paralyzed man brought by his friends (Luke Chapter 5 verses 17-26)
Jesus met many people and you can find lots of other examples in the Bible.
What can we do? We could contact an organisation in the local community and have some contact with people who are lonely. We could bring food to school for the Food Bank, we could write letters to people in care homes, we could send them a video of children at school. There is a huge list of things you can do!
Hope in our Community
1) Create posters to advertise organisations in our local area that support our communities. Ensure you include contact details so that we can make sure those that need their help can find it easily.
2) In the summer, we wrote lost of letters to those who were shielding in their homes. You could create a card of hope, bringing a smile to their faces when reading your warm wishes, knowing they are being thought about.
Week Four: Hope across the world
Let's find out... What has happened in other countries in the pandemic? Find out about three or four countries with differences around the pandemic, eg. Thailand, USA< Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Ghana...
Let the Bible inspire us.... Hebrews Chapter 10 verse 23
Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise.
What can we do? We can be aware that other countries have had different experiences through the pandemic. What happened at schools in other countries? Find out where schools were closed.
Lord, I climbed up a huge mountain
and from the top I could look down on the birds, look down on the trees
And look down on the villages far away. I had never been so high up before.
Thank you for letting me see your world in a new and lovely way. Amen.
Anon (taken from Prayers for Children compiled by Christopher Herbert)
Challenge FOUR: Hope across the world
1. Investigate to find out which countries have been severely affected by Covid-19 and those that have not. Can you add that information onto a map of the world - what key will you create?
2. Can you also find out which countries have already bought the vaccine for their populations and which countries are struggling to get hold of the vaccine. Why the difference?
Week Five: Hope invites us to plan for the future
Let's find out...Looking ahead, where do we find hope? Is it in the hope that the summer of 2021 will see a big difference in our lives? Will Covid-19 be reducing? How will the vaccine have made a difference in the UK? What is happening to other countries? Where do we find God in a world of renewed hope?
Let the Bible inspire us... Mark Chapter 9 verse 23
Everything is possible for the person who has faith.
Isaiah Chapter 40 verse 31
But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed.
Challenge FIVE: Hope invites us to plan for the future
Create a plan for the future.
What do you want the future to look like? Can you write it in a poem or a letter, a picture of even a photograph from the past that you are desperate to re-create?
Lent Challenge 2020
This year, Bishop Stephen's Lent Challenge is looking at the theme: God's Creation, a gift or a loan? We undertook a range of activities that explore how we look after our environment and the wider world.
Week 1: Planet Earth: The children considered how we can look after this wonderful planet, our earth and what we can do to make sure it has a future.
Week 2: Our World, Our Climate: The children were asked to design some superheroes who will help protect our planet from Climate Change and explain their special powers.
Week 3: Our School, Our Home Environments: The children were challenged to reuse some items from home. For example, a picture of a house created from used materials or something useful like a game. They could even make something useful from old clothes, or design new ones like a bag from a t-shirt.
Week 4: Our Country: The children were challenged to print off a map of the UK and locate places they have heard of, visited or would like to visit in the future.
Week 5: Our Global Neighbours: To write a prayer that thinks about our world and the future.