Seven churches in Jefferson have teamed up every Lent season for decades to host series of lunches and worship services that reflect on and celebrate Easter. According to Pastor Gordon Moen, who leads worship at First Presbyterian Church and currently serves as the president of the Greene County Clergy Association, Lent provides a great opportunity for churches of different denominations to come together and share their common faith.
“The Lent season means different things to different denominations, but it’s important for us to come together as a community and recognize our common faith,” he said. “But it’s also important to recognize our different worship styles.”
Every Wednesday from February 18 to March 25, a lunch will be held at 11:45 a.m. at a different church each week. Following the meal at 12:15 p.m., congregation members at that week’s church will lead a worship service until 12:45 p.m. The full schedule for the Lent lunch series goes as follows:
- February 18: Gospel Open Bible Church
- February 25: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
- March 4: Trinity Lutheran Church
- March 11: Christ Lutheran Church (Hosting at First United Methodist Church)
- March 18: First Presbyterian Church
- March 25: First United Methodist Church
According to Moen, the Lent series schedule was planned to accommodate most people’s work schedules, so even those community members who are busy during the day are encouraged to attend. In fact, Moen says, that break from daily business is exactly what Lent is all about.
“It’s intended to be a season of preparing for Christ’s resurrection,” he said. “It’s a time for quiet reflection, and to have that time in the middle of the week is a good break and reminder about why we really celebrate Easter.”
Each lunch will cost a five-dollar free will donation that the churches will decide how to use. Moen said that many of the donations will go toward either mission work or to the Greene County Christian Action Resource Center. The seven churches that volunteer and rotate hosting duties plan the meals and worship services themselves, and several have become known for featuring the same lunches each year. “It’s been going on long before I got here, and that was 11 years ago,” Moen said. “People definitely love the tradition.”
However, community members who don’t belong to a Jefferson church are still invited to attend the events. After all, as Moen says, Easter is a time for churchgoers to celebrate their common faith.
“This time of year calls us to gather together to think about our faith and remember what it really means,” he said.