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Local churches unite to celebrate Lent

Pancake breakfast was last indulgence before Easter
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Six Auburn churches are joining together to offer a series of services geared at taking people through a most holy journey this Lenten season. Some local parishioners dove into a Mardi Gras-style pancake breakfast and dinner Tuesday to have one last indulgence before the more reflective season of Lent began, today, Ash Wednesday. Some local clergy say the 40-day period is a time for their church members to draw closer to God as the season culminates in Easter. Father Dan Williamson’s church St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Auburn hosted the pancake breakfast and dinner on Fat Tuesday. Attendees were encouraged to enjoy a last pre-lent meal, with all proceeds benefiting the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet and The Gathering Inn. Williamson said the traditions beginning on Ash Wednesday hold a deeper spiritual truth. “I think, for me, Ash Wednesday is an annual wake-up call. In imposing the ashes on myself and on the parishioners as part of our tradition it reminds me of two unpleasant truths that we need to face. First, our own mortality, and second, our own brokenness,” Williamson said. “This ancient liturgical right symbolically reminds us of those truths.” For him, Lent is a time to get past the busy parts of everyday life to tune into God’s voice. “I think for me, Lent is a time to seek God in the silence to listen for that still, small voice — a voice that you can’t really hear amid tumult and the business of life. It requires active listening,” Williamson said. Toney Gausewitz, of Lincoln, was volunteering at the pancake feast Tuesday. She said she is making a sacrifice this year during Lent. “Lent is a time that people give up something to honor Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and to grow closer to him,” Gausewitz said. “I am giving up cigars.” Historically people made pancakes on Fat Tuesday to use up dairy products, which many of them gave up for Lent, she said. Pastor Ken Winter of Auburn Presbyterian Church is also delivering a sermon during the Lenten series. He said aside from Ash Wednesday, his church celebrates Maundy Thursday by reenacting the Last Supper, worshiping with others on Good Friday and celebrating Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. While people may choose to give up different things during Lent, like chocolate or meat, Winter said people may differ in how they honor the season. “Lent is, in the end, an opportunity the church has created to remember and re-experience the key events of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection. Its customs and observances are all designed to take us deeper into the heart of God, our Heavenly Father,” Winter said. “We'd encourage any believer to take on a Lenten practice that helps accomplish this.” Annie Holmes of Auburn was bringing some cheer to the pancake feast Tuesday in her clown costume. She said Fat Tuesday celebrations used to take place in the Anglican Church in England. “Lent is a time of deep austerity, so this is a last fling before Easter,” Holmes said. “We are an Anglican Church and it is a deep custom of the Anglican Church.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. ______________________________________________________ Lenten Series Schedule 2012 Theme: “Christ, the sure foundation — What’s your story? Wednesday Evening Worship, 7 p.m. Feb. 22- Ash Wednesday, St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church, 11600 Atwood Road, Auburn, Preacher: Rev. Bryon Hansen, simple soup supper beforehand Feb. 29- Pioneer United Methodist Church, 1338 Lincoln Way, Auburn, Preacher: Reverend Daniel Williamson March 7- St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 124 Orange Street, Auburn, Preacher: Reverend Lydia Richards March 14- Auburn Presbyterian Church, 13025 Bell Air Dr., Preacher: Father Michael Carroll March 21- Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1279 High Street, Preacher: Reverend Ken Winter March 28- First Congregational (United Church of Christ), 710 Auburn Ravine Road, Preacher: Reverend Barbara Smith Offerings received during worship will be divided evenly for: The Auburn Interfaith Food Closet, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army Family Services, PEACE for Families and The Gathering Inn.