The Beloit Area Ministerial Association is presenting the annual Beloit Area Ecumenical Lenten Services beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Each year, pastors from various churches who belong to BAMA come together and offer to host a Wednesday Lenten service and the Good Friday service. A pastor from one of the other churches involved then preaches at a church other than his or her own, said Lay Pastor Carol Taylor of the United Church of Beloit.
The public is invited to attend any or all of the services, Taylor said. Monetary offerings collected at the services will go to Caritas and Hands of Faith.
The Lenten season in the Christian church traditionally lasts about six weeks representing the 40 days before Easter that Jesus spent fasting in the desert before beginning his ministry to the masses, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in the Bible.
Traditionally, the purpose of Lent for Christians is to reflect, pray, perhaps fast or give up certain foods or luxuries as self-denial efforts.
Taylor said churches and pastors in the community coming together to share and host Lenten services shows people the churches are really community-based.
“I think we enjoy it and our parishioners enjoy it,” she said.
And, it gives people a chance to grow and learn about other churches. People who attend will get a chance to experience music and preaching other than that of their own church, Taylor said.
Lent ends with the celebration of Holy Week during which time Jesus was crucified on a cross, died and was resurrected (Easter), according to the Christian teachings.
At the first Lenten service, Ash Wednesday will include communion and imposition of the ashes.
A list of Lenten services are as follows:
Feb. 13, Ash Wednesday - St. Paul Episcopal Church, 212 W. Grand Ave. Guest speaker: Pastor Doug Gray
Feb. 20, United Church of Beloit, 657 Bluff St. Guest speaker: Fr. John Hedrick
Feb. 27, First Congregational Church, 801 Bushnell St. Guest speaker: Pastor Stephen Hawkins
March 6, First Baptist Church, 617 Public Ave. Guest speaker: Pastor Dave Ewing
March 13, Sun Valley Presbyterian Church, 1650 Sun Valley Dr. Guest speaker: Pastor Tina Koenig Ray
March 20, Atonement Lutheran Church, 901 Harrison Ave. Guest speaker: Pastor Ian Stirrat
March 29, Good Friday - River of Life Methodist Church, 511 Public Ave. Guest speaker: Lay Pastor Carol Taylor
All services are set for 7 p.m. excluding Good Friday, March 29, which is at noon.