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St. Paul's Sets Lenten Schedule
St. Paul's, Montrose To Study Letters

St. Paul's Sets Lenten Schedule

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Montrose, has announced its schedule of services and activities for Ash Wednesday, February 9, and for weekdays during the forty-day season of Lent.

On Ash Wednesday, February 9, there will be services of the Holy Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes at 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Beginning Wednesday, February 9 there will be a service of the Holy Eucharist at 8:00 a.m. every Wednesday during Lent. A study group will meet each Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent for Western Christian churches. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Christian Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. The forty days recall Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. Today many churches engage in special spiritual, liturgical, and educational activities during Lent in preparation for the great feast of Easter. For instance the parish’s Altar Cross is veiled in purple, the ancient royal color to prepare for the coming of the King.

Altar Guild members of St. Paul’s Church veil the Altar Cross in purple, the traditional color of Lent. Brenda Syle (left) and Esther Welden.

The customs of Ash Wednesday and Lent surfaced in the 9th century of the Common Era. It’s a time of recollection and penitence. Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and other churches mark worshippers with ashes as a symbol of penitence and mortality on Ash Wednesday, which gives the day its name.

The use of ashes, made by burning palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday, is very symbolic. The minister or priest marks each person on the forehead, saying, “remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” The phrase is based on God’s sentence on Adam in Genesis 3:19. The foreheads are marked with a cross because in the Bible a mark on the forehead is a symbol of a person’s ownership. By having their foreheads marked with the sign of the cross, worshippers are reminded that they belong to Jesus Christ, who died on a cross. This mark is an imitation of the spiritual mark or seal that is put on a Christian in baptism.

On Tuesday evenings, beginning Tuesday, February 15, a study group, convened by Jane Chandler, will read and discuss The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. Lewis, a British author, wrote more than 30 books, including children’s stories the most famous being The Chronicles of Narnia. Most of his writings teach moral lessons. After years of experiencing religious doubt, he converted to Christianity at the age of 35 and became a leading defender of Christianity. The Screwtape Letters was written in 1942 and is a witty satire in which an old devil advises a young devil on how to tempt a Christian, allowing evil to gain entrance into the religious person’s life. The group will also view Richard Attenborough’s film Shadowlands, which is based on true-life account of Lewis’ relationship with Joy Gresham. The film stars Anthony Hopkins. “We will begin our evenings at 6:00 p.m.,” said Chandler, “so bring a bag supper and join us for an informative and stimulating discussion. All are welcome.”

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St. Paul's, Montrose To Study Letters

Public Relations Chairman

During lent in 2005 St. Paul’s in Montrose, PA will be studying “The Screwtape Letters,” a collection of letters from an elderly retired devil to a young devil who has just started work on his first “patient.” The study will be held starting with the first Tuesday of Lent, February 15 and continue on successive Tuesdays until March 22. Discussion will be in the Guild Room in the Parish Hall at 6:00 p.m. and all are invited to bring a bag supper. Eating together will be part of the whole study. “The Screwtape Letters” is an exciting book, easily read, great for developing discussion, and an excellent book to read during Lent.

We will read the letters and make our own judgments. We may discuss things like metaphor and symbolism and irony... or maybe we won’t. We may even see some reflections of ourselves in the book. (Not that we are devils, we are ‘patients.’) In seeing these reflections we may learn something about ourselves and our own Christianity. This should be an interesting and rewarding study.

Of this correspondence C. S. Lewis writes the following: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors...”

“...the devil is a liar. Not everything that Screwtape says should be assumed to be true, even from his own angle.”

Did you know that C. S. Lewis is remembered as one of the most important Christian thinkers of the twentieth Century? The man who wrote “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was an agnostic who converted to Christianity in 1931. His conversion is recounted in “Surprised by Joy.”

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