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Generous deeds and a clean lifeboat for Lent

13 February 2015

DIOCESE OF CHELMSFORD

Keeping it clean: Bishop Stephen Cottrell at the RNLI lifeboat station at Southend, at the end of last month 

Keeping it clean: Bishop Stephen Cottrell at the RNLI lifeboat station at Southend, at the end of last month 

ABOUT 1000 churches and 40,000 people have signed up to a Lent campaign, 40acts, in its fifth year.

The campaign, by the charity Stewardship, encourages people to undertake a generous act each day for 40 days. Last year, more than 1.8 million "acts of generosity" were recorded, from "chocolate mobbing" on public transport, when people bought entire carriages and buses full of passengers a treat, to buying presents for strangers from their online wedding list.

The 40acts blog will include reflections from the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls; Canon Ann Easter, a Chaplain to the Queen; and the rap artist Guvna B, among others

Stewardship's head of content, Debbie Wright, said that "40acts began as a simple idea that asked, 'What if Lent . . . was a preparation for a lifetime of big-heartedness?'"

Another initiative, which started in Oxford diocese, encourages people to imitate the foot-washing of Maundy Thursday by washing other people's laundry, cars, and dogs during Lent.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, has launched the campaign, #washday15, by washing a lifeboat in his diocese.

He said: "On the night before he died, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. Ever since then, it's been the vocation of the Church to respond to the needs of the world in loving service. That loving service can express itself in all kinds of ways. So, for instance, there are homelessness charities up and down our country and sometimes they just do simple things like wash someone's clothes.

"But think of the big difference such a small act of service makes. That person's clothes are washed and cleaned; that makes it easier for that person to get a job. That person gets a job, and their whole life is transformed."

Six dioceses in the south-west are holding a Lent Carbon Fast, and other initiatives include a Pray for London campaign from the London City Mission, and a Lent Reflections app from Church House Publishing.

The Church Times will once again appeal for donations to its Train-A-Priest Fund.

www.40acts.org.uk

www.washday.org

www.ecochurchsouthwest.org.uk/carbon-fast

www.lcm.org.uk/prayforlondon

www.chpublishing.co.uk/features/apps-for-worship

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