Wednesday 10 February is Ash Wednesday. It is very early this year and it seems we have only just celebrated Christmas. This Jubilee Year of Mercy offers plenty of material for us to use in preparation for Easter. The Anglican Diocese of Chichester has prepared a five week course called Opening Doors based on the theme of Mercy and The Holy Year Door. Using a Lent course for the group meeting, enables members to participate in prayer and discussion, that is also being used in the parish or in Lent meetings between local Christians.
The Anglican Diocese of Chichester course, encourages active discipleship amongst the whole people of God. The forty days of Lent 2016 fall within the ‘Year of Mercy’ (8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016) declared by Pope Francis. As part of this year, Francis has encouraged churches to designate a ‘door of mercy’ or ‘holy door’. He encourages pilgrimage to places where such a ‘holy door’ has been identified, so that those who enter ‘will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instils hope’. The writers of this course have found a focus on the mercy of God, and the metaphor of ‘opening doors’, to be provide a helpful framework and structure in preparing material for Lenten study and reflection.
The themes of each session are:
- Session 1: Opening doors of mercy (Anthony Cane)
- Session 2: Opening doors of prayer (Tim Watson)
- Session 3: Opening doors of witness (Jonny Gumbel)
- Session 4: Opening doors of service (Paul Redparth)
- Session 5: Opening doors to the future (Andrew Mayes)