Observing Lent at UPC

Join us for Lent, a season of repentance and reflection

Quick Links

What is Lent?

Lent is a 40 day season of spiritual discipline and preparation that starts annually with Ash Wednesday—which falls this year on February 14— and anticipates the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter (this year, March 31). During this time, individuals will often fast from something, or take on a new discipline as part of their preparation, all with the ultimate goal of deepening their relationship with God.

“What can I fast from?”
When we think of fasting, food is typically the first thing that comes to mind, and some choose to fast from a certain food. However, there are also media fasts (social media, television, and/or video games), spending fasts (eating out, new clothing purchases, miscellaneous shopping), and personal fasts (complaining, gossip, busyness). As you fast, you are encouraged to take the time and/or money typically devoted to that thing and use it in connection with and service to God.

“What are some examples of disciplines I can take on?”
There are many spiritual disciplines you can add to your Lenten observance: prayer, meditation, reading the Bible, service, connection with others. We’ll also be doing a sermon series to introduce some lesser-observed disciplines!

“But when I count the days on the calendar, there are more than 40!”
Sundays are seen as “little Easters,” and thus they are not counted in the liturgical 40 days. Some choose to make Sundays a rest day from their Lenten fasts; others choose to include those days.

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday, which falls on Feb. 14 this year. During worship on this day, ashes are used to mark a cross on the forehead or hand of each worshiper as a reminder of our humanity and mortality. We will offer the imposition of ashes in two ways that day:

  • Drive-thru/walk-up imposition of ashes from 12:30-1:30 pm (please enter via Franklin St.)
  • Worship in the Sanctuary at 7:30 pm (livestream available at upcch.org/live)

All are welcome to join us for Ash Wednesday worship.

Lenten Sermon Series

You’re invited to join us for worship each Sunday in Lent at 8:30 am or 11:00 am. Our 11:00 service is also livestreamed.

About our Lenten Sermon Series, Cross Talk: 

What does it mean to you when you wear a cross necklace, or see the cross at the top of our steeple, or on the communion table? How do you make sense of the statement: Jesus died on the cross to save me. What does the cross mean to us as people of faith?

The Lent, UPC will be engaging in Cross Talk–both in worship during a sermon series and in Sunday school. Each week we will be examining a different theory of atonement. Atonement is a fancy church word for what it is to literally be “at-one” with God. When we make atonement for something, we are doing something to repair a broken relationship. The church has different interpretations about how what happens on the cross connects us back with God.

  • Feb. 18: PCM Sunday (not part of the series)
  • Feb 25: Moral Influence
  • March 3: Ransom
  • March 10: Vicarious Satisfaction
  • March 17: Solidarity with the Oppressed
  • March 24: Christus Victor/Palm Sunday


Spiritual Formation Opportunities

Sunday School (9:45 am on Sundays):

Dunham Hall Class:
Faith in Plain Sight — A Lenten Journey of Storytelling

Join us in Lent as we hear the stories of fellow church members as they are articulate where their faith and life have been woven together. Everyday saints will be gently interviewed, exploring different threads each week, such as: work, health, family, current issues, community engagement.

Vance Barron Hall Class:
Cross Talk: The Atonement in Scripture and Life

Join this Lenten study of Good Friday and Easter, led by Rick Osmer. We will explore the saving significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The theme of reconciliation will be prominent. This will be a discussion-oriented class that explores theology and scripture in relation to everyday life.

Full details for both classes are available on our Adult Education page.

Devotional Resources

Tread Lightly for Lent:
a daily reflection/action calendar centered around earth care – click the image to access the download

Journey to the Cross:
a daily online devotional offered by d365.org, an ecumenical devotional for students and adults

Wandering Heart:
a printed devotional by Sanctified Art, which offers commentary, poetry, visual art, hymns, and reflection prompts. Copies will be available beginning on Feb. 11.

Holy Week & Easter

Maundy Thursday
March 28, 7:30 pm

Maundy Thursday is the day during Holy Week that commemorates Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, when he washed their feet. Join us in the Sanctuary for a contemplative service, including Holy Communion, to reflect on how Jesus proclaimed the gospel through service and love.

Good Friday Worship
March 29, 7:30 pm

On the Friday of Holy Week, we will worship together in a Service of Tenebrae. Tenebrae is the Latin word meaning darkness. Sometimes we learn things in the dark, in the shadows, that we could have never learned or appreciated in the bright light of day. On Good Friday, we will read the story of Jesus’ passion (his suffering and death) and extinguish lights until we leave the sanctuary in complete darkness, awaiting the glorious light of Easter morning.

Easter Sunday
March 31

8:30 am: Worship

9:45 am: Potluck Easter Brunch

10:15 am: Easter Egg Hunt

11:00 am: Worship