HOUSTON – Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the Christian liturgical calendar and a community gathering begins the following week.
Lenten lunches will be held at noon each Wednesday leading up to Holy Week at Houston First United Methodist Church Family Life Center. A different speaker from area churches will deliver a message each week and all members of the community are welcome.
Lent is an observance of many Christian denominations and lasts for approximately six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. Traditionally, Lent is a time of preparation for the believer expressed through repentance, prayer, penance self-denial and giving of alms to the less fortunate.
During the community Lent services, no offering is taken and there is no charge for lunch, but donations are welcome for the Greater Ministerial Association.
The Association provides assistance throughout the year to those in need who may not qualify for other help. Pat Pettigrew serves as secretary/treasurer for the Association and said the needs in the community are great.
“In January of 2013, we were able to help 26 families,” Pettigrew said. “Compared to January of 2012, we only had six families.”
Pettigrew said she believes the Association is receiving more calls for help due to an unstable economy.
Those assisted by the Association are worked on a case-by-case basis to fill a specific need. Funding for the Association’s program comes from private donations, sponsorships from local churches and donations received from the Lent lunches and the annual Community Thanksgiving service.