Dear St. Peter’s Community,
I’m excited to share with you a practice that we will be undertaking together as a parish community this Lent. On Sunday, March 10, you will be receiving an old-fashioned coin bank at the end of worship (all three services). You’ll be invited, as you journey through Lent, to put something into your coin bank every single day, in solidarity with all those experiencing hunger in Philadelphia and around the world.
On Sunday, April 7, we will bring our coin banks back to church and joyfully gather together all that we have set aside for those in need through our practice of Lenten almsgiving. We will tithe 10% of what we collect to Broad Street Ministries, a vital partner in the work of ensuring that our neighbors in need do not go hungry. The remainder of what we collect will be used to support the worthy mission of our St. Peter’s Food Cupboard: one of the few sources of free fresh produce in Center City and a place where many elders receive the nourishing food they need.
I particularly hope you will take up the challenge of putting something in your coin bank every day (bills are welcome, too!), rather than just writing a check at the end of Lent. Setting aside some money every day will help you to stay mindful of those in need throughout this Lenten season, reminding you of both the blessings of your life as well as God’s call to become a beacon of hope in our hurting world. There’s something really special about taking on a daily practice during Lent, so please put your coin bank somewhere visible in your home and join me in the holy work of cultivating generosity.
During the Lenten season, we hear God’s enduring promise in the words of the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Our practice of Lenten almsgiving is not just about raising money (although the Food Cupboard certainly does need our consistent and generous support). It is also about softening our hearts toward those in need. It is about allowing the plight of the needy into our consciousness and into our homes. It’s about allowing ourselves to care.
I very much hope you will join me in giving this Lent, in the sure and certain hope that all who hunger (including us), will be filled with good things!