Lent at Saint Mark’s

February 14 – March 28, 2024

Lent is a time of preparation.  For more than a thousand years Christians have spent the six weeks before Easter in special study, prayer, and fasting in order to be prepared for the most holy day of the church year – Easter Day.

There are lots of ways to observe the season of Lent. Many people give up indulgences, some add a spiritual discipline or commit to a special activity in the spirit simple living, prayer, penance, and almsgiving.

Saint Mark’s has a variety of resources and activities to help you observe Lent, including special music offerings, programming for both adult and children’s Sunday morning formation classes, Wednesday Evenings at Saint Mark’s Lenten activities, and resources for meditation and faith at home. We have also compiled a list of some of our favorite activities, podcasts, and online resources and listed them below.

Special Services During Lent

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 14

On Ash Wednesday we place ashes, made from blessed palms,  on the forehead in the shape of a cross as a reminder that we are all mortal and that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

There will be three services on Ash Wednesday.  8 a.m., Noon, and 7:30 p.m.

The 7:30 p.m. service will will feature the Saint Mark’s choir.  If you wish to have ashes sent to you to use during the livestreamed service, please call the parish office at 614-486-9452.

We will also participate in Ashes to Go this year.  If you wish to receive Ashes and are unable to attend any of the services, you can come to the vestibule by the red doors from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and  4 to 6 p.m.  You can download the Ashes to Go brochure for use at home.

Choral Evensong

Sunday, March 3, 4 p.m.

Music by Saint Mark’s Choir

Please join us for this beautiful and inspiring service, and be sure to invite some friends. A reception will follow.

Activities During Lent

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

February 14, 5 p.m.

The Marksmen will b serve up an All-Parish Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14 in the parish hall.

Shrovetide is a pre-Lenten period that culminates on Shrove Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the season of Lent. It gets its name from the old English word ‘shrive,” which means “to confess” or “to impose penance.” Traditionally viewed as a day of repentance, Shrove Tuesday has become regarded as the last day for celebration and feasting before entering the Lenten season of spiritual discipline, reflection, fasting, penance, and prayer. It was also a time to use up foods of indulgence, such as meat and sugar and foods with fat like milk, butter, and eggs, which would otherwise spoil. (This is why some refer to Shrove Tuesday as Fat Tuesday, or its French translation, Mardi Gras.) Pancakes were seen as an easy way to use up milk, butter, eggs and sugar in one meal.

So, however you like your pancakes: with lemon juice and powdered sugar or maple syrup and loads of butter, Nutella, whipped cream, or all of the above — come and celebrate this pre-Lenten tradition! There is no charge to attend, however, donations to cover costs will be accepted.

Note: The nursery will NOT be staffed as we have great high chairs and we love kids and kids love pancakes!

Lent Madness

Beginning February 14

Lent Madness is a fun and popular activity. It is disguised as a competition, but it’s actually an online devotion and a great way to learn about Saints while giving to a good cause.

Lent Madness is modelled after the NBA’s annual March Madness tournament. The way Lent Madness works is simple: Thirty-two saints are paired together into a tournament-like single-elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time and people vote for their favorite saint. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.

Saint Mark’s will have a Lent Madness pool. To join, fill out a bracket (available in the arched bookcase in the parish hall) and submit it – along with a $5 entry fee – to Pastor Vicki by February 14.

The winner of the Saint Mark’s pool will get to decide where to donate the funds.

Go to www.lentmadness.org to learn more, follow the celebrity blog, cast your vote, or just follow along. Lent Madness is a program of Forward Movement.

Book Study

Witness at the Cross by Amy-Jill Levine

We are reading and studying the book Witness at the Cross by Amy-Jill Levine.

The book looks at the people who were present at the crucifixion of Christ and what they and their stories have to tell us about Jesus and our own faith.

Amy-Jill Levine is a professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford Seminary and Vanderbilt University.

We will gather at 6 p.m. on Wednesday March 27 in the Canterbury Center to discuss the book.

Here is a study guide to help with your reading of the book.


Sunday Morning Children’s Formation – The Apostles’ Creed Project

February 18, 25, March 10, and 17 in the Christian Education area

After Jesus came back from 40 days alone in the desert, he very deliberately chose twelve people he wanted to walk beside him. He gave them a very important project. The people Jesus chose were not well-known, or wealthy, or particularly well-educated. They sometimes made mistakes, got into arguments, and had to deal with the poor choices they made.

In Children’s Formation throughout Lent we will learn about Jesus’ first friends, their project, and what that means for us in the world today. Click Here for more information.

Wednesdays Evenings at Saint Mark’s

February 21, 28, March 6, 13, and 20, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

On Wednesday evenings in Lent we are offering a three-part program.  You can choose to participate in one, two, or all three parts.

5:30 p.m.  Simple Supper.  Gather for a simple meal of bread and soup.

6:15 – 7:15 p.m.  Pysanka Workshop.  Come explore the art and process of decorating a Ukrainian Easter egg — called a “pysanka”. These eggs, or psyanky (plural), are decorated with motifs and colors with deep, symbolic meaning, such as wishes of love, protection, fecundity, or peace, and are created to be given to family members and respected outsiders.

Decorating pysanky is a multi-step, contemplative process most appropriate for ages 8 and up with adult supervision. A similar, age-appropriate Lenten activity will be provided for young children (ages 4-7) and the nursery will be staffed for very young children (infant to age 3) if needed.

7:30 – 7:45 p.m.  Compline.  Compline is the night prayer of the church.  It has been prayed by Christians for over a thousand years.  We will gather in the sanctuary for Compline.

Lent Quiet Morning

February 24, 9 a.m. to Noon

We will gather in the Canterbury Center for Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. There will be several meditations through the course of the morning. Bring your journal, art supplies, knitting or anything else that you want for significant periods of meditation. We will end with Noonday prayer at 11:30 a.m.

Resources for Observing Lent

Lent Materials

There are Lent materials available in the parish hall in the arch-shaped book rack near the kitchen, where the Forward Day by Day booklets are located.  You can also download these for use at home.

40 Stories from Mark every Christian should know.  We are reading from the Gospel of Mark on Sundays this year.  These readings give you a good overview of the Gospel.

Family Prayers.  This gives you a framework to add prayer into your household’s daily life.

Prayer Calendar.  This gives you a topic for prayers of intercession or thanksgiving each day.

Weekly Reflections.  This gives a theological reflection for each week in Lent.

Philippians Podcast.  This is a podcast Bible study of the Epistle to the Philippians.