Today sees the launch of the official Church of England Lent campaign ‘Love Life Live Lent‘. You might remember that last year the campaign was based around text messaging, which worked well once some initial technical problems had been ironed out. This year it centres around 50 daily ‘actions’, supported by a special booklet, the LiveLent website, a Facebook group, a Myspace page (anyone still use Myspace?) a Flickr group and various blogs, of which this is one.
The Times has a report today, and I’m pleased to say that this site gets a mention along with Bishop Alan. I’ll be blatantly honest with you – I haven’t worked out exactly how I’m going to be ‘spreading the word’, but I will endeavour to do so. There will be some cartoons, but the timing means I can’t promise one a day I’m afraid.
If you run a blog please do join in – the 50 daily actions are all about ‘loving our neighbours’ – locally, nationally and globally and they do seem to be well thought out and a good thing to do. The actions start tomorrow the 3rd of February which I know (preemptive strike) isn’t the start of Lent, but we need a few days to get warmed up. If you run a church or a school there are some resources for you on the website too.
Here is the official press release with all of the information:
This Lent, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, are calling for ‘good neighbours’ – online and offline – to try out daily suggestions to help create a safer and more pleasant environment in the real world.
The innovative campaign will use popular social networking websites and blogs to share actions to make the world a better place in small and simple ways. These range from leaving a thank-you note for your postie to going a whole day without gossiping.
Last year, more than 130,000 people joined in with Love Life Live Lent, launched by the Church of England to inspire, by text message, simple acts of service that spread happiness in our communities.
This year, daily suggestions are available not only through two colourful booklets produced by Church House Publishing, but also through social networking sites including Facebook, MySpace and photo-sharing website Flickr. A group of prominent bloggers has also been enlisted to help spread the word through cyberspace. They include ‘blogging bishop’, the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and Dave Walker, creator of the popular ‘CartoonChurch’ website and blog.
Church leaders hope that the online social network group will help develop a community of ‘Love Life Live Lenters’ sharing their experience of following the daily suggestions. In return, Facebook will reward those completing three or more actions a week with the elements to ‘build a neighbourhood’ or ‘grow a garden’ on their profile.
The latest project is the Church of England’s second initiative involving Facebook. Last Christmas, more than 2,500 users of the social networking site downloaded a special ‘application’ – sponsored by the Church of England – to send virtual Christmas cards to their friends.
There is also a Love Life Live Lent dedicated resource website, www.livelent.net, that features Bible study notes for adults, children’s activities, and material for use in collective worship in schools, and a podcast available at www.chpublishing.co.uk featuring an interview with one of the original team behind the project, Canon Peter Howell-Jones, the Diocese of Birmingham’s Director for Mission.
Most of the actions Love Life Live Lent can be performed individually, while others require a group working together. They include:
Spending a day trying to exist on just £1.40 – more than half the world’s population have only that amount to spend each day
Cooking or eating cuisine you haven’t tried before
Finding out about volunteering in a prison or supporting prisoners’ families
Discovering the names of your closest neighbours.
The Archbishops are commending the campaign, acknowledging in their joint foreword to the booklets: “For most of us, life is busy and pressured. It can be difficult to take time out to be with family and friends or to help to make our communities, local or global, clean and secure places of generosity. But Jesus calls us to love our neighbour as ourselves.”
The full colour pocket-sized booklet comes in two versions – one for adults and ‘youth’, and one for children – each packed with 50 suggested actions to encourage people to be good neighbours. The actions start next Sunday, 3rd February, and finish on Easter Sunday, 23rd March.
Love Life Live Lent started life in the Diocese of Birmingham in 2006, inspired by a local pilgrimage. The booklet was such a hit that the original print run had to be increased repeatedly, and 70,000 copies were distributed through churches, schools and community centres.
Other bloggers who plan to blog the 50 actions (let me know if you’d like to be added to this list):
Other Lent Campaigns
- The Methodists have Buy Less Live More, a special non-credit card: www.buylesslivemore.org.uk/