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
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
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".