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New fasts for Lent

15 February 2013

by a staff reporter


Face-off: the Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd Keith Jukes, competing in the Shrove Tuesday pancake race outside the cathedral  

Face-off: the Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd Keith Jukes, competing in the Shrove Tuesday pancake race outside the cathedral  

CHURCHES and charities took to the streets and social media to mark the beginning of Lent, using tweets, apps, and emailed prayers to urge people to observe the 40 days.

One priest is encouraging people to avoid tax-evading companies for Lent - and to make his point he daubed a branch of Starbucks with ashes. The Revd Chris Howson, the Chaplain of the University of Sunderland, urged customers to use personal spending as a form of witness and economic pressure.

Christian Aid launched a mobile-phone app, to encourage people to reflect on their lives. The "count your blessings" app suggests various options for users, such as donating ten pence for every bedroom in their house as a reminder of how fortunate they are.

Bishops marked Ash Wednesday by taking prayer to the streets, offering to pray for those they met. The Archbishop of York visited Middlesbrough, and encouraged people to post prayers online through the prayoneforme.org website.

The Bishop of Dudley, the Rt Revd David Walker, was planning to collect prayers on the streets of Stourbridge.

A Canon of Durham Cathedral, the Revd Stephen Cherry, is encouraging people to give up being busy for Lent. He has set up a website (www.notbusy.co.uk) to foster reflection.

He said: "This is a way of taking Jesus's message that 'Time is made for people, not people for time,' right out into the marketplace, the workplace, the home, and the shopping centre."

In South Africa, the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, urged people around the world to join him in a carbon fast this Lent. Two of his dioceses have recently been hit by devastating floods. His fast suggests an action for each day of Lent, including a "meat-free Monday".

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