LENTEN STUDIES: a useful tool for a local Church.
For the uninitiated, “Lenten Studies” sound like Studies which have been borrowed rather than purchased! For the initiated, “Lenten Studies” may never have been a feature in our Christian life or Ministry. We may even think of them as belonging to a by-gone 'Churchy' era.
For many years, some Anglican Churches have made a great deal of the six weeks leading up to Easter, as a time of personal reflection and preparation for the celebration of Easter. “Lenten Studies” have been prepared by all sorts of people to be used during this period.
“Lenten Studies” have been produced by the Media Department (now YouthWorks) of the Diocese of Sydney for many years, always written by a Bishop of the Australian Church. In recent years, contributors have been Evangelical Bishops including Stephen Hale, Harry Goodhew, Tony Nichols, Peter Brain, Ray Smith and yours truly. The books usually consist of forty daily Studies for personal use and sets of discussion questions for use by small groups. Sometimes, Parish Ministers base their sermons for the six weeks on the theme or book of Scripture being studied.
In 1993, I became the Senior Minister of Penrith Anglican Church at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Never having done it before, I decided to experiment with the introduction of “Lenten Studies”. About 100 Church members bought copies and began to use them through the week. Then on each Wednesday evening, they came together for an 'overview' of the week and a time for questions on the material they'd been looking at privately.