Saturday, February 28, 2004

Church programs to look deeper at season of Lent

Faith Matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

Christians all over the world will take the next five weeks to renew their spirits in the season of Lent.

And churches all over the Tristate are hosting programs to help them do that, from hundreds participating in the 40 Days of Purpose campaign to individual churches hosting a lecture series or a fellowship gathering.

"In our culture, if you say, 'I can devote six weeks to my spiritual life,' there's something hopeful in that," said Canon Linda Bartholomew at Christ Church (Episcopal) Cathedral downtown. "Maybe that'll be a start."

The cathedral will focus its Lenten preparation on a deeper look at basic Christian doctrine with its series, "Christ is Risen: So What?"

Walter Bouman, a professor at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, will speak in the five-week series that examines the creed, the Eucharist, baptism, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments at 7 p.m. Tuesdays during Lent, beginning Tuesday.

"We want to answer the questions, 'What difference does Resurrection make? Why do we do these things?'" Bartholomew said.

The interdenominational series is free and open to the public. There's a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. each night at the church.

No registration is necessary. For more information, call 621-1817.

But at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Fairfield, parishioners are using Lent as an opportunity to do more than enrich their lives. They're looking to invite and welcome Catholics back into the community.

"Lent is a special time of spiritual preparation for anyone who grew up in the Catholic faith. That's their lifeblood," said Jeanette Miller, lay pastoral associate at the church. "We want to let people know that they're not left out of that."

The church, 400 Nilles Road, will host Catholics Returning Home, a six-week informal meeting for people who have left the faith and are considering returning. The program begins April 19 on Mondays at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Miller at 858-4210.

MINISTRY IN DRAMA: A news report from Galilee, a VH1 Behind the Music-like special on King David and a soap opera about Samson - they're all parts of an original live performance radio show, Gospel Home Companion.

Something Fishy Theater will present its fifth episode of the drama ministry at First United Methodist Church, 225 Ludlow St., Hamilton, at 7:30 p.m. today and Sunday at 1 and 4:30 p.m.

"It takes familiar stories, and it tweaks them to make you look at them from a different point of view," said Richard Jones of Hamilton, artistic director and author of the radio show. Drama "is one way you can understand the kingdom of God. We're trying to express the inexpressible the same way Jesus did, through stories."

For more information, contact Jones at 867-9246.

Send religion news items to Karen Vance at

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