Church helps people start Lent with a smile

Pancake parties are being held by churches across the nation this week to mark the start of Lent.

Leeds Minster hosted Shrove-tide pancake races on Monday afternoon, with pupils from St Peter's Church of England Primary School, choristers from the Choir of Leeds Parish Church and children from the parish church's Junior Church and Sunday School all taking part.

The pancakes were cooked by undergraduate and postgraduate music students from the University of Leeds, who are members of St Peter's Singers.

Norwich Cathedral also held pancake races joined by choristers and members of RAF Marham. The pans and pancakes have traditionally been provided by RAF Marham's catering team.

Today, Shrove Tuesday, the Bishop of Sheffield served up a pancake breakfast to clients of the cathedral's Archer Project.

This year, the pancakes being cooked up by churches come with a difference – a smiley face. This is the first activity in the Church of England's Love Life Live Lent: Be the Change resource.

Two editions have been published – one for adults and one for children - with different suggestions in each.

In the adult version, suggestions include phoning someone you haven't seen in a while and having a 'screen-free' day.

Suggestions for children include saying sorry for something they have done wrong and collecting their spare change to give to charity at the end of Lent.

If you feel inspired to make a few pancakes, a recipe is available at www.livelent.net, which also features a new prayer for churches and personal use:

God of life and love,
you bless us every day:
may all the things we say and do
be a blessing to ourselves and others,
sharing your love
and changing the world,
In Jesus' name. Amen.

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