The first four episodes of “What is Lent?” are available now, with an additional four planned in the next two weeks, during the Lenten period.
The short videos explain the beliefs, practices, and history of key holy days and aspects of Lent, the period of prayer, repentance, and fasting that precedes Easter Sunday. The videos feature casual conversation with clergy and divinity school students within the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, speaking in clear, direct language, avoiding the “churchspeak” that often comes between religious discussion and the general public.
The videos are in English, with closed captioning available in English and in Spanish.
One clergy person featured in the videos is the Rev. Canon Dr. Kara N. Slade, Canon Theologian of the Diocese of New Jersey, who teaches theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.
“Lent is not about improving ourselves,” Slade says in the latest episode, “What is Lent?” “Lent is about looking into our hearts and thinking about what things separate us from God. What habits tend us away from God?”
Each video includes conversations with several people from diverse backgrounds within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion: Terry Jonathan is a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, a young man in his 20s who was received by the Episcopal Church just last year; The Rev. Canon Dr. Martin Oguike, rector of St. John’s Church in Sewaren, NJ, has been a priest for decades, having been ordained in his homeland of Nigeria; The Rev. Emily Mellott, rector of Trinity Church in Moorestown, is a leader of the national “Ashes to Go” evangelism movement and came to the Diocese of New Jersey from previous callings in St. Louis and Chicago; the Rev. Canon Dr. Brian Jemmott was ordained a priest in 1991 in the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago, where he was born. These people—and the others featured in the videos—bring a rich diversity to exploring Lenten practices, making the topic interesting and engaging for everyone, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey.
When completed in the coming weeks, the “What is Lent?” video series is planned to include the following episodes:
1. What is Shrove Tuesday?
2. What is Ashes to Go?
3. What is Ash Wednesday?
4. What is Lent?
5. What is Palm Sunday?
6. What is Maundy Thursday?
7. What is Good Friday?
8. What is Holy Saturday?
About the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey
We have one purpose: To form people as disciples of Jesus Christ who participate in God’s mission of reconciliation by alleviating the world’s suffering, pain and injustice thereby flourishing as human beings.
Founded in 1785, the Diocese of New Jersey is the second oldest diocese in the Episcopal Church. (The first, if you’re wondering, is the Diocese of Connecticut.)
There are 141 congregations in this diocese, which spans the state south of Elizabeth. The oldest congregation in the diocese is Saint Peter’s Church in Perth Amboy, where services began in 1685. There are more than 15 colonial-era parishes in this diocese.