A Celebration of Lenten Preparation
for those in the community preparing to focus on the renewal of faith at Easter
This rite is appropriately used at the principal service on Ash Wednesday. Because of particular circumstances, it may be used on the First Sunday in Lent. In this rite, baptised persons who, as participants in the catechumenal process, have been exploring the implications of their baptism and are preparing to affirm it at the coming Easter Vigil are recognised by the congregation. They are a reminder of the journey of conversion and renewal to which all are called.
This rite may be adapted to the particular circumstances.
Immediately before the blessing of ashes, or at another suitable point in the service, the presider uses these or other appropriate words.
Let us welcome N,N who have been growing in an understanding of their call as Christians among us and now desire to undertake a more intense preparation to renew their baptism this coming Easter.
The participants come forward with a Church Warden or other representative of the congregation who presents them with these or other suitable words.
We present these persons (N,N) who have been growing in the knowledge, love, and service of God. They are sharing in the life and mission of this family of God's people, worshipping God regularly, and serving those in need. They are seeking to recognise the ministry to which God is calling them and the gifts that God has given them in baptism.
The presider says to the participants
Will you so live the gospel that you challenge us with the demands of love?
Each participant as her/his name is called responds
I will, with God's help.
Presider Your turning to Jesus Christ is an encouragement for us all.
People May God keep you in the way you have chosen.
The presider says to the companions
Presider Will you continue to serve as companions on this journey of conversion, encouraging by prayer and example?
Companions We will, with God's help.
The presider says
Let us pray for these persons (N,N) in silence.
The participants may kneel or bow their heads. The companions remain standing and place a hand upon the shoulder of the one they are companioning. The congregation prays in silence and the presider may lay hands on the head of each in turn.
Then with hands extended over the participants the presider says these or other appropriate words.
Blessed are you, God our redeemer,
you love and care for each of us.
When we rebel against your love
you do not abandon us
but again and again you call us back to yourself.
In your servants (N,N) we recognise the movement of your Spirit
and pray that you renew them in your life.
May we all turn to you
as we prepare to celebrate
Christ's passing from death to fullness of life with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
At the imposition of ashes, after receiving ashes themselves, the participants may join the presider in imposing ashes on the congregation.