Episcopal Diocese of Washington

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love
for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice

Lent Resources

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 17 in 2021, forty-plus days before Easter Sunday on April 4th, 2021. During Lent we recommit to Christian practices such as prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and reconciliation to prepare to enter the mystery of Easter. Through these practices, we deepen our commitment to the Christian life and prepare to renew their baptismal promises. 

During Lent, the whole Church is invited to a “holy observance…by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (Book of Common Prayer, 265)

We offer these resources to help you, your family, and your congregation to set aside this time of preparation and reflection. 

Resources on this page:

 Highlight: Check out the resources from Holy Week @ Home to equip households in your congregation for Holy Week.  

Ash Wednesday

The Right Reverend Chilton R. Knudsen, Assisting Bishop, offers collected wisdom and guidelines for observing Ash Wednesday in a Pandemic.

The Rev. Shivaun Wilkinson, Associate Rector at St. John's, Olney, shares a creative Ash Wednesday Liturgy for Households with Children.

Bishop J. Neil Alexander shares a note on Ash Wednesday and the Imposition of Ashes in a Time of Pandemic.

The Episcopal Church in Colorado has this Ash Wednesday bookmark that could be included in a Lent-at-Home box for the self imposition of ashes.

The website BuildFaith offers a suite of resources for observing Ash Wednesday for the entire congregation. 

Ashes to Go has become a popular practice, offering ashes to individuals on their way to work, shops, school … just about anywhere. The Episcopal Church website offers supporting resources, including pamphlets and other promotional materials. Note that we are discouraging public Ashes to Go in 2021 due to the pandemic. 

Holy Week

Share this YouTube playlist of daily prayers with the children and families in your congregation during Holy Week.

A digital Easter Adventure from StoryMakersNYC offers lessons for the Triduum for children.

Holy Week for Children provides interactive ideas for meaningful ways for all ages to enter the mystery of the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil). 

This Is the Night by James Farwell, Professor at Virginia Theological Seminary, explores the theology of salvation as enacted in the liturgies of Holy Week. An excellent foundation for liturgical teams seeking to renew liturgical practices of Holy Week.

Three Great Days: Preparing the Liturgies of the Triduum by Jeremy Helmes offers practical help to plan the Triduum.  

Preparing for Baptism

In the early Church, Lent was time for people new to faith to prepare for being baptized during the Great Easter Vigil. Some congregations continue that practice today.  Lent is an appropriate time for all Christians to prepare to renew their baptismal promise and consider how we are living the life to which Jesus calls us. 

For resources to support baptismal preparation in your congregation, please check out this web page


Liturgical Resources for Lent

The Book of Common Prayer includes liturgies for Lent and Holy Week, including the Great Litany on p. 148, Ash Wednesday on p 264 and the Triduum beginning on p. 274.

The Book of Occasional Services offers additional blessings for Lent, pp. 24-26 and additional liturgies during the season of Lent, pp. 57-96.

 Enriching Our Worship 1 offers additional forms of the Great Litany on p. 46.


Lenten Resources by ERD

Lent was officially designated at the 2009 General Convention of The Episcopal Church as a time for dioceses, congregations and individuals to remember and support the work of Episcopal Relief & Development. Liturgical resources to help congregations observe Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday are available at episcopalrelief.org/sunday. 

Lenten Resources for Adults

The Episcopal Church website offers a number of resources for Lent and Holy Week

Words of Life: Jesus and the Ten Commandments by Adam Hamilton offers a suite of resources for your entire congregation to engage in the Ten Commandments as a guide for experiencing life today. Resources are available for children, youth, and adults

Lent Madness by Forward Movement has become a popular bracket competition and fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the Church’s Calendar of Saints. Vote for your favorite saint and see who wins the golden halo in 2021. Who says you can’t have fun in Lent?

Living Well through Lent 2021 by Living Compass offers daily reflections in print and by email. Look for their Facebook page for an online community to follow up on weekly reflections. 

Entering the Passion: A Beginner's Guide to Holy Week by Amy Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the Passion story. Professor Levine shows us how the text raises ethical and spiritual questions for the reader, and how we all face risk in our Christian experience. Can be used as a six-week Adult Lenten book study. Find the book, the leader guide, and teaching videos on DVD

Way of Love: Life Transformed offers a set of seven Adult Forums that relates the Easter Vigil readings to the seven practices of the Way of Love. Way of Love: Life Transformed is also available as a single day retreat.

The Soul’s Journey, offered through Forward Movement, presents beautiful imagery of the stations of the cross with reflections by well-known faith leaders to help participants relate this story of self-sacrifice and profound love to their own lives. A free study guide and liturgy supports the use of this book as a small group study. This downloadable PDF file makes it easy to use this book on Zoom. 

What Wondrous Love: Holy Week in Word and Art follows the events of Holy Week through the work of well-known artist, John August Swanson. This DVD features commentary by Thomas Long, Luke Timothy, Carol Newsom, Steven Kratchick, Jan Love, Walter Wilso, Carol Holliday, Joel Lemon and Andrea White from the Candler School of Theology. This discussion guide is available separately. 

The Walk, a book and video series by Adam Hamilton offers the opportunity for an entire congregation to engage with five core Christian practices of worship & prayer, study, serve, give and share. Resources to support The Walk are available for children, youth and adults.

In A Path to Wholeness: A Lenten Companion, Russel J. Levenson offers Scripture and reflections focusing on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. 

In Winged with Longing for Better Things, Sylvia Sweeney offers reflections from an eco-feminist perspective for each day in Lent, inviting readers into action and advocacy on behalf of the earth and the marginalized.

Sense and Sensibility: A Lenten Experience by Sam Portero helps readers claim themselves as embodied selves and the incarnate world in which we live to experience the fullness of Lent. 


Lenten Resources for Children and Youth

Pray, Reflect, Rejoice: A Journey through Lent, Holy Week, and Easter for Children and Families by the Washington National Cathedral helps you and your family mark this meaningful period of the year, including prayers and fun activities.

Faithful Celebrations: Making Time for God from Mardi Gras through Pentecost, edited by Sharon Pearson is chock full of practical ideas for congregations and households to come close to God in the seasons of Lent and Easter.

CandlePress is a perennial favorite for resources, including free Lent resources for families with young children. 

Illustrated Ministry offers Lent-at-home kits for a fee. 

Singing in the Dark: Ash Wednesday with Children by Luke Fodor suggests ways to observe Ash Wednesday with children

Give Us This Day offers daily reflections with bread recipes that are easy for the entire household. The reflections connect our faith with the world in which we live.

What We Do in Lent by Anne Kitch introduces children to the language and practices of Lent with coloring sheets and engaging activities. 

Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alary teaches children to see Lent as a special time to create space to welcome God. 

Other favorite books for children and youth to read during Lent include

  • The Legend of Blue Bonnet by Tomie de Paola (Preschool to Grade 3)
  • The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children by Mary Joslin (Preschool to Grade 3)
  • On that Easter Morning by Mary Joslin (Kindergarten to Grade 2)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (Grades 3-6)
  • The Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L’Engle (Grade 4-6)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Grades 6-9)

For more book suggestions, check out StoryPath, a website that curates children’s books according to the lectionary readings as well as Miriam McKenney's curated set of books for children.  


Lenten Resources for Households

Holy Week Prayers for Households is a set of one-minute prayers for each day of Holy Week recorded by the Rev. Jenifer Gamber.

Holy Week at Home offers resources for the Triduum and Easter for households by Wendy Claire Barrie.

Church Publishing is offering this free  Lent, Holy Week and Easter packet to share with all your households. 

Too tired or busy to get out for Shrove Tuesday? Try this Shrove Tuesday at home by Milestone Ministries.

A number of congregations have been sending home Lent-in-a-Bag or Lent-in-a-Box to support household faith practices. BuildFaith offers this article with one example of what to include in your bag or box. Home faith practices are primary supports for growing faith for children and youth. 

Crafting Faith by Laurie Easton provides 101 craft ideas that help a household observe the Church year.  

Lent at Home 2020 from Messy Church continues to provide a set of solid ideas for home practices during Holy Week. (Look for the 2021 update soon.) You might also take a look at these seven ideas for Holy Week at home from Christina Hides. 

If you have resources to add, please contact the Rev. Jenifer Gamber, Missioner for the School for Christian Faith and Leadership.