Monthly Madness: Live from Lake Logan

In this month’s installment of Monthly Madness, Scott and Tim report live from Lake Logan, NC, where they are attending CREDO. As you know, CREDO is the Church Pension Group’s way of saying “I believe” in the magic of Lent Madness. Watch now for valuable insights into a couple of the first-round match-ups in the newly unveiled 2015 Lent Madness bracket, released yesterday on All Brackets’ Day.

Make sure you order your very own copy of the 2015 Lent Madness bracket poster today. After you put away your wallet, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

All Brackets’ Day: The 2015 Bracket Unveiled!

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the unveiling of the 2015 Lent Madness bracket. Stay tuned for the SEC’s color commentary on the bracket, highlighting some of the epic contests that will take place over the course of Lent Madness 2015. Right now you should read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the bracket. Then brag to all your friends about how you’ve memorized all the match-ups and can’t wait for Lent to begin.

LM2015 Bracket

Click the image to see a larger version. Or you can download a PDF for printing your very own copy.

Once you have the bracket in your hot little hand,  don’t stop by simply posting it on your refrigerator. The Supreme Executive Committee offers a few suggestions for helping spread the Lent Madness word.

1. Post a copy of the bracket on the front door of your church. In fact, why stop at your church? Channel your inner Martin Luther and nail the bracket to the doors of every church in your neighborhood.

2. Get the bracket tattooed to your back. You’ll be a big hit when you go swimming at the Y.photo

3. Mail them out with all your Christmas cards this year. “Lent Madness: It’s the Reason for the Season.”

4. Go to the mall and put them under the windshields of every car in the parking lot. For Jesus.

5. Get front row seats at televised sporting events and hold up the bracket. Consider it the new John 3:16 sign. Rainbow wig optional.

6. Staple a copy of the bracket to your dog’s collar and let her roam around the neighborhood sans leash.

Feel free to share other ideas (with photo documentation) of course. They may just end up on the Lent Madness Facebook page.

Don’t forget to order your very own 2015 Lent Madness Bracket Poster! They’re just $10 each, or pay only nine bucks if you order two or more. Get one for home, one for the car, one for work, and one for everyone on your street. Your parish priest will be delighted when she or he sees you’ve added a bit of Lent Madness spirit by attaching a bracket to the altar frontal or pulpit. Pre-order now, and be among the first to enjoy the poster!

And you’ll be thrilled to know we’ll soon be offering this year’s edition of the Saintly Scorecard — the definitive guide to all things Lent Madness 2015. Visit this website every hour until you see it!

New Celebrity Bloggers and New Liturgical Feasts

In what will surely become an Emmy-winning video, the Supreme Executive Committee is pleased to share news on several fronts. Watch now!

  • Remember to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the SEC on October 29, as Scott and Tim celebrate their individual birthdays October 28 and October 30. It’s like Presidents’ Day, only more holy and more fun.
  • Even more important: mark your calendars for November 3, All Brackets’ Day! It’s the natural evolution of All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. Yep, All Brackets’ Day is the day the Lent Madness 2015 bracket will be revealed to the world. Tune in right here to see the bracket on the morning of November 3.
  • Two of our world renowned Celebrity Bloggers have retired. Next time you’re in the Lent Dome, look up toward the rafters to see the jerseys of Penny Nash and Heidi Shott. Lent Madness won’t be the same without them.
  • After a global search, the SEC is pleased to announce to new recruits to the Celebrity Blogger team. Please welcome Nancy Frausto and Neva Rae Fox. Nancy serves as priest at two Los Angeles-area congregations, and she’s an ECF Fellow. Neva is Public Affairs Officer for The Episcopal Church, and she’s active in her New Jersey parish. She is passionate about opera. And saints.

While you are biding your time waiting for the release of the bracket, why not visit the Lentorium and perhaps order a Lent Madness 2014 Golden Halo winner Charles Wesley mug? Or maybe a perpetual Lent Madness purple mug?

All Brackets’ Day will be here before you know it!

Episcopal Youth Meet Lent Madness and a Vote is Taken

About 800 youth and hundreds of adults at the Episcopal Youth Event received a rare visit from the Supreme Executive Committee today. Tim and Scott invited participants to cast the first vote of Lent Madness 2015, deciding whether St. Francis of Assisi or St. Gabriel the Archangel would earn a spot on the bracket. Here’s the video of the SEC that was played on the giant screens for 1,000+ people.

Later that day, participants cast their votes. While the results were being tabulated, the SEC offered two workshops on the saints. Dozens of EYE youth came to talk about saints and this new approach to Lent.

Also today, the Presiding Bishop posed for a selfie with the SEC. Were they posing with her? Or she with them? You decide, but take note of the way she showed her love of Lent Madness by wearing a purple shirt.

PB selfie

This evening, on the last day of EYE, the results of the vote were announced just before the closing Eucharist. Here’s how the crowd reacted to the news.

Tune into Lent Madness on Twitter or Facebook for more photos from the day. While the SEC usually talks about how honored everyone else is by their presence, today we can turn the tables. It was a treat and an honor to join hundreds of the most passionate people in the Episcopal Church for a day of learning, fellowship, worship, and, of course, voting.

Behind the Curtain at the SEC Annual Spring Retreat

As devoted Lent Madness fans will know, Tim and Scott (a.k.a. the Supreme Executive Committee) meet every spring to unpack and contextualize the previous Lent Madness and engage in vision-casting and missional strategy for the next year.

This year’s meeting is taking place at various coffee shops in and around Cincinnati. The meeting began with the gentle sound of a Tibetan prayer bowl inviting relationship with the Spirit and/or spirits. After Tim and Scott removed their shoes, they proceeded to “check in” while in the Lotus position at a prie-dieu so as to integrate Christian spirituality into the global context in an entrepreneurial fashion. Both Tim and Scott shared their public narrative about their ministry settings from strengths-based perspectives, taking care to map their assets.

Once they were fully present to one another, they spoke into the circle of trust while reviewing the previous year’s minutes. Using “I statements” they corrected the minutes. For example, “I feel that there should be a comma in the third sentence.” In order to prevent deforestation and respect the dignity of Staples, they used PowerPoint to review the minutes.

Two hours passed, and it was time for a fresh contextual check-in to process their insights. Assured of growth in emotional intelligence and personal well-being, they mindfully moved into African Bible Study of the temptation in the wilderness. Following Bible Study, they enjoyed an ecologically sustainable, free-range lunch (that died a natural death).

Later, they opened themselves to the movement of the Spirit and/or spirits to begin to discern the 2015 bracket of Lent Madness. This was done both in plenary and small groups, with frequent reporting back. Tim and Scott made use of the latest techniques for writing down the names with both markers and brightly colored dots.

At this time, to preserve confidentiality, Tim and Scott are unable to reveal any details. However, we have a few photos to share. Stay tuned for news from the SEC tomorrow, but don’t expect to see a bracket.

For now, the SEC is resting after compline — and a lively hour-long debate over who would officiate at said office.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Tim and Scott search for an undisclosed, secure, marble-clad location
Searching for Secure Location

The SEC pores over the nominations
Meeting

The SEC attempts to use modern art as a source of inspiration, with mixed results
SEC looking for Saints

Is there any Wisdom to be found in the fountain?
Wisdom in Water?

Though they are ineligible for the bracket, Tim and Scott check to see if they can glean anything from Jesus or Mary
Mary Jesus and SEC

Last photo by Faith Lang. All others by Sherilyn Pearce.

Nominations Open!

Nominations for next year’s field of 32 saints are currently being accepted by the Supreme Executive Committee. Yes, in addition to Eastertide, today begins Nominationtide.

lent madness tote bagBut before we get to the main attraction, we encourage you to visit the Lentorium. You can prove your love for Lent Madness by loading up on Lent Madness merchandise, including the Lent Madness 2014 tote bag, the Lent Madness wall clock, some Lent Madness 2014 coasters, a Lent Madness 2014 magnet, and much, much more. And, of course, don’t forget to stock up on Charles Wesley or Lent Madness perpetual purple mugs.

And now, on to the main attraction, the call for nominations for Lent Madness 2015!

As always, we seek to put together a balanced bracket of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical representing the breadth and diversity of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Inevitably, some will disagree with certain match-ups or be disappointed that their favorite saint didn’t end up in the official bracket. If you find yourself muttering invective against the SEC, we implore you to take a deep cleansing breath. Remember, there’s always Lent Madness 2029.

While the SEC remains responsible for the formation of the final bracket, we encourage your participation in the nominating process. As in past years, we might even listen to some of your suggestions.

As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s “saintly smack down.” This includes the entire field of Lent Madness 2014, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2013 and 2012, and those from the 2011 Faithful Four. Here is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations — which you can do by leaving a comment on this post.

Also, please note that the saints you nominate should be in the sanctoral calendar of one or more churches. We’re open minded. To a point.

Remember that when it comes to saints in Lent Madness, many are called yet few are chosen (by the SEC). So leave a comment below with your (eligible) nomination!

The Field from 2014 (all ineligible)
Mary of Egypt
David of Wales
Ephrem of Edessa
Catherine of Siena
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Alfred the Great
Lydia
Catherine of Alexandria
Antony of Egypt
Moses the Black
Thomas Gallaudet
Joseph of Arimathea
John Wesley
Charles Henry Brent
Christina the Astonishing
Alcuin
Julia Chester Emry
Charles Wesley
FD Maurice
SJI Schereschewsky
Phillips Brooks
Harriet Bedell
JS Bach
Anna Cooper
John of the Cross
James Holly
Nicholas Ridley
Aelred
Louis of France
Thomas Merton
Basil the Great
Simeon

Past Golden Halo Winners (ineligible)
George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magalene, Frances Perkins, Charles Wesley

From 2011 — 2013 (ineligible)
Jonathan Daniels
Harriet Tubman
Hilda of Whitby
Luke
Dorothy Day
Li-Tim Oi
Oscar Romero
Enmegahbowh
Emma of Hawaii
Margaret of Scotland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Evelyn Underhill
Jerome
Thomas Cranmer
Clare of Assisi
Thomas Beckett
Perpetua

By the way, it’s worth remembering that all the talk you hear these days about transparency and accountability is moot for the SEC. We reveal little and answer to no one. So if you don’t like the choices that we’ll announce at an unspecified future date known only to us (see what we did there?), start your own online devotional.

For now, we wish you a joyous Eastertide and Nominationtide.

Monday Madness — April 28, 2014

The last Monday Madness of 2014 is ready for your viewing pleasure. After this episode, the SEC switches to Monthly Madness until the next high season of Lent Madness. Anyway, in this episode, Scott and Tim talk about how Lent Madness has become not only the world’s most popular and beloved online Lenten devotion, but the AWARD-WINNING Lenten devotion. They also preview Nomination Week for Lent Madness 2015, coming to a web browser near you very soon. And there’s more. Much, much more.

You really should visit the Lentorium and spend some of your hard-earned cash on unbeatable Lent Madness merchandise. Consumer therapy is the perfect way to deal with long-term Lent Madness withdrawal. You can buy a Lent Madness playing cardsCharles Wesley Golden Halo 2014 Lent Madness mug or a perpetual purple Lent Madness mug. But that’s not all.

Starting today, you can buy Lent Madness playing cards. Be the first on your block to get some, and then buy a set for all your friends. At just $21.50, these high-quality shiny cards are a bargain.

Forget the mall, forget the shopping channels on your television, forget the catalogs in your mailbox. The best place to spend your hard-earned cash is in the Lentorium. The best way to show you love Lent Madness the most is to have a pile of Lent Madness stuff.

Accolades for the Golden Halo Winner

Charles in Charge

Our friends over at the Wesley Bros. comic site have created a special graphic to celebrate Charles Wesley’s Golden Halo victory in Lent Madness 2014. You can get your own copy — suitable for framing — over at the Wesley Bros. site. And by the way, you should totally look there regularly, because it is funny and educational, just like Lent Madness only all Wesleyan, all the time.

Praise for Charles Wesley and for Lent Madness abounds. Check out articles at The Episcopal Cafe, The Living Church, and Episcopal News Service.

We would be remiss if we didn’t encourage you to visit the Lentorium, where you can buy Charles Wesley mugs and Lent Madness purple mugs.

Now, all this silliness aside, we hope you’ll get yourself to church this evening for the start of the Three Holy Days.

Congratulations to 2014 Golden Halo Winner — Charles Wesley!

Charles Wesley

The Lent Madness Supreme Executive Committee congratulates Charles Wesley on his victory in Lent Madness 2014 and authorizes the following text to be sung on Easter Day at liturgies throughout the world.

Charles Wesley is risen today, Alleluia!
his triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
who the Golden Halo won, Alleluia!
‘gainst all saints, the battle done! Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
unto Charles, with golden ring, Alleluia!
who endured his brother John, Alleluia!
all his hymns are sine qua non. Alleluia!

But the bracket he endured, Alleluia!
left his victory assured, Alleluia!
now above the rest he’s king, Alleluia!
where the saintly angels sing. Alleluia!

Sing we to the S-E-C, Alleluia!
praise their humor, praise their glee, Alleluia!
praise Lent Madness, all you lot: Alleluia!
Celeb Bloggers, Tim and Scott, Alleluia!

** Liturgical Note: As the wise and adept preacher will naturally mention Charles Wesley’s winning the Golden Halo on Easter Day, this hymn is most appropriately sung immediately following the sermon. The fourth verse, while optional, requires organ, trumpet, and timpani if it is to be used within the context of the liturgy.

In the final video of Lent Madness 2014 from the Archbishops, the Golden Halo winner is proclaimed and the kick-off date for Lent Madness 2015 is announced.

But wait, there’s more!

Charles Wesley mugCommemorate this great moment in church history by purchasing your very own Charles Wesley mug. It features Charles with the words “2014 Golden Halo Winner” and “Lent Madness.” This is the perfect gift for every Episcopalian and every Methodist. Or really anyone who likes good hymns. The Charles Wesley Golden Halo Winner Lent Madness 2014 mug is white ceramic, ready to hold 11 ounces of your favorite beverage. Pre-order yours now for just $11. Buy five or more for just $9 each. They’ll ship soon! Buy now!

Who will win the Golden Halo?Maybe you want to get a more general Lent Madness mug. How about a purple ceramic mug that says “Who will win the Golden Halo?” on one side with the Lent Madness logo on the other? Eleven ounces of tea or coffee will be more delicious, thanks to the wondrous powers of purple. This makes a great gift for anyone who loves warm beverages, the color purple, or mostly cylindrical objects. Pre-order for just $11. Buy five or more for just $9 each. They’ll ship soon! Buy now!

For the Golden Halo: Harriet Bedell vs. Charles Wesley

2013 Golden Halo winner Frances Perkins prepares to hand over her halo

2013 Golden Halo winner Frances Perkins prepares to hand over her halo

We embarked upon this Lent Madness journey over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday.” With your help we have whittled the field of 32 saints down to two: Harriet Bedell and Charles Wesley. Who will walk away with the coveted Golden Halo of Lent Madness 2014? Only 24 hours and your voting participation will reveal this holy mystery.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable holy people along the way. Perhaps you learned about some folks you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.

In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we’ve all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned some things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and had a lot fun along the way.

Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our stellar Celebrity Bloggers to whom we offer sincere gratitude. Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, David Creech, Laura Darling, Robert Hendrickson, Maria Kane, Penny Nash, Heidi Shott, and David Sibley. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his stellar behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily. And we can’t forget the ever mysterious Maple Anglican who brought us the inimitable shenanigans of Archbishops Thomas and John. You all rock!

Speaking of Maple Anglican, here’s the last Archbishop’s Update. But before you watch it (or after) be sure to check out some Golden Halo fashion tips from Lent Madness fan and Vogue model (seriously) Julia Frakes.

Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling in brackets, talking about saints at coffee hour, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

Oh, wait, there’s one more thing before we set our face toward the Triduum. But first we should note that Heidi Shott has shepherded Harriet Bedell through the brackets while David Sibley has done the same for Charles Wesley. We’ve asked them for a single image and one quote. We’ve already heard a lot about them and from them — click the bracket tab and scroll down to view their previous match-ups if you want to refresh your memory. And the, it’s time.

The polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced at 8:00 am Eastern time on Maundy Thursday. Now go cast your vote — the 2014 Lent Madness Golden Halo hangs in the balance!

Harriet Bedell

bedell

“Measured in terms of the number of lives she has touched and brightened, the achievements of Deaconess Bedell assume monumental proportions….She probably fits into no simple category for missionaries that her church knows. She has always been a pioneer; and she has been at home in Collier County which proudly calls her its own. This humble woman of God and servant of all who come to her…gives one the impression she might go on forever, as indeed her spirit will.”

Charlton Tebeau, Collier County historian, in “Florida’s Last Frontier,” 1966.

Charles Wesley

wesley

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.

Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;

Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,

Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Vote!

NOTE: At 10:55 p.m. EDT, the Supreme Executive Committee banned three voters and removed 41 votes from Harriet Bedell, due to voting irregularity. Remember to VOTE ONCE ONLY.

The voters in question were in Buffalo, NY; Rochester, MN; and Gulfport, MS.

Harriet Bedell vs. Charles Wesley

  • Charles Wesley (51%, 3,607 Votes)
  • Harriet Bedell (49%, 3,407 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,014

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