Grace United captures spirit of Lent

Published 12:01 am Saturday, March 1, 2008

NATCHEZ — Lent is a time of simplicity, spirituality and stillness.

Grace United Methodist Church has encapsulated all these qualities in their Tuesday night Lenton services.

Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. during Lent, the church invites the public to gather for prayer, greetings, silent meditation and a sermon given by a guest minister.

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Dessert and coffee is offered in the fellowship hall afterwards.

Rev. Darian Duckworth of Grace United Methodist Church said she decided to just offer coffee and dessert this year as opposed to the light dinner of years past.

“This is the first time we’ve done something as simple as dessert and coffee,” she said. “We decided to focus on the simplicity of Lent.”

The simplicity Duckworth speaks of is in reference to the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness spending quiet time with God.

“Simplicity is taking time out of our schedules and busy days to look at things that matter most in our spiritual lives; prayer and meditation and study of the scriptures,” Duckworth said.

The sermons from the guest ministers are centered on some aspect of the Lenton season, she said.

The ministers were personally invited from Duckworth and come from the Miss-Lou.

She said that all the ministers are Methodist and Presbyterian this year, but not on purpose, just by coincidence.

She said last year people from non-profit organizations in the city were invited to speak.

“That’s probably something we’ll do again one year,” Duckworth said.

The meditation portion of the service is like a moment of silence and it varies from week to week.

“Just before we say a congregational prayer, we meditate and voice the concerns of our hearts without speaking,” she said.

The first service was right after the tornados ripped through Tennessee and Alabama and Duckworth chose to focus the congregations meditations on that event.

“I said, let’s just specifically take a moment of prayer in our hearts for this,” Duckworth said.

The importance of meditation is to look within. Lent is supposed to be a time of developing spiritual strength, she said.

“The importance is really shutting out the world around us and focus on our spiritual lives and what God would have us to do, leading us in ministry,” Duckworth said.

She said attendance of the services so far has ranged from 55 to 60 people and she has gotten good response.

“The congregation especially likes the simplicity of it and especially going from a dinner to just coffee and focusing on fellowship afterward,” she said. “The feedback I’ve gotten so far is positive.”