The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are using Facebook, MySpace and other social networking websites as a means of making Lent meaningful for the faithful. Ruth Gledhill of the Times gives the details:
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have joined forces to tell Anglicans to get down on their knees – and polish their neighbour’s shoes.
Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu are backing a church Facebook group urging members to find time in their busy lives to complete 50 actions over the seven weeks of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday next week. The aim is “to help you become a better neighbour and transform your world for the better”. Actions include polishing someone’s shoes on Maundy Thursday, a reference to Jesus’s washing of the feet of His Disciples; making someone laugh; and leaving a thank-you note for the postman.
Most are deemed “appropriate for those of all faiths or none”.
The Facebook group, Love Life Live Lent, appears today along with sites on MySpace and the photo-sharing website Flickr, in the Church of England’s first significant entry into online social networking. It is hoped that members of the networks will upload photos of themselves doing the Lent actions.
Bloggers will help to spread the word through cyberspace. They include the Rt Rev Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and Dave Walker, of the CartoonChurch website and blog.
Dr Sentamu, who will be giving up all alcohol for Lent when he adopts a 40-day vegan diet, told The Times: “Lent is a time for sober reflection but that doesn’t mean being dour. These actions help people to think globally and act locally, to broaden their world-view and to be good neighbours.