Creative Juices Overfloweth

St. Mark's Cathedral School Chaplain Judy Kane as "Lucy."

One of the fun things about hanging out at Lent Madness Headquarters (Cincinnati, Ohio or Hingham, Massachusetts, depending on your perspective), is hearing all the creative ways Lent Madness is being used this year. During the darkness of another weekend of Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW), we wanted to highlight a few places where Lent Madness is inspiring creativity.

Lent Madness was a big hit at St. Mark's Cathedral in Shreveport, Louisiana, as students at the Cathedral School and their families gathered at yesterday's Family Chapel service. Head of School Chris Carter organized a Lent Madness event based on the contest of the day, Oscar Romero vs. Lucy. After presentations by the Very Rev. Alston Johnson, Dean of the Cathedral, standing in for Romero and Dr. Judy Kane, School Chaplain, representing Lucy, everyone cast a vote for their favorite.

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Students and families vote at St. Mark's Cathedral in Shreveport, LA.

Chris reports that, while parents and teachers voted for Romero, Lucy completely ran off with the student vote. As he put it:

I really expected everyone to go for Romero, but I think the eyeballs won it for Lucy! There was a collective “eeww” when I told that part of the story, followed by grins on the faces of every Lower School boy in the Cathedral! Lucy won definitively, although Romero did have some following. It was nice that both showed great commitment to the poor, since today was the day we wrapped up our Lenten outreach projects. The basic message was service to God and others before self, which worked with the Gospel lection and both Lucy and Romero.

After the service Chris mentioned that one parent, "admittedly a Cowboys fan," told him he was delighted to see Louisiana students think of Saints as someone other than Drew Brees and his teammates!

11-year-old Hope Marie Copeland presents on Harriet Tubman at St. Philip's.

11-year-old Hope Marie Copeland presents on Harriet Tubman at St. Philip's in Southport, NC.

At St. Philip's Church in Southport, North Carolina, the Wednesday evening Lenten series is dedicated to Lent Madness. After a simple soup supper, the participants stand up to advocate for a particular saint participating in an upcoming battle. According to an article in Wilmington Faith & Values, some contestants have gone to great creative lengths to present their chosen saint. One parishioner dressed up as John the Baptist, one created a t-shirt, and another made heart-shaped bookmarks to remind everyone of St. Benedict's love for all people.

This has all been brilliantly organized by Millie Hart, the parish's Christian Education Director. And we were delighted to learn that this has become an intergenerational learning experience as well: a ten-year-old recently advocated for Damien of Molokai.

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Bulletin Board fodder at Holy Cross in Plainfield, NJ.

Lent Madness has also led to some wonderful bulletin board displays in several parishes. Of particular note is the bulletin board at Holy Cross Church in Plainfield, New Jersey. They are so ready for the Round of the Saintly Sixteen! We also understand that they're in between rectors right now -- supply priest the Rev. Stephanie Shockley sent us the photo. So, clergy in discernment, take a look. Who wouldn't want to serve a parish that was so into Lent Madness? When you apply, just tell them the guys at Lent Madness sent you. And a note to the vestry: we'll look forward to receiving our finder's fee.

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Homemade buttons at St. Christopher's in Midwest City, OK.

In a show of cross-church cooperation, parishioners at St. Christopher's in Midwest City, Oklahoma, made their own "I Voted" button based on a design from Grace Church in Medford, Massachusetts. If we had to guess, no one in Midwest City had ever heard of Medford before Lent Madness and vice versa. New Lent Madness slogan? "Making connections and bringing people together since 2010."

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15 comments on “Creative Juices Overfloweth”

  1. This is my first season of Lent Madness and I have been thinking about it as a focus for our midweek gatherings next Lent- it has been a treat to go about my day with Lucy or Romero or Demby in my head and heart. Mindfulness - a gift.

    1. This sounds great. Maybe Port Neches can do this with the Senior Forum next year.

  2. Fantastic to hear about these great initiatives! : )

    Please know that those of us functioning as Lent Madness Solitaries* can also celebrate "in community" even if there isn't whole-parish buy-in. My 2013 Lenten discipline is to translate each of my LM votes into something that honours the legacies of the saints in this year's contest with some kind of concrete action - giving of time or resources or prayer to a cause related in some way to their stories. Making those connections to celebrate LM in community both locally and worldwide has been a much better discipline than eg swear jar of past years (which never really had any lasting @*%#&@ effect).

    *I'm not surrounded by LM Haters so much as LM They-Think-They-Are-Too-Busyers, poor souls. But the bracket's up, and they hear about it anways...poor souls! ha!

    1. What a completely fabulous idea! This is a way for me to refine and focus one of my Lenten resolves to do at least one act of kindness /charity each day. This is my second year of Madness, and it just gets better all the time.

  3. Inspirational! I know good ideas when I steal them, and some of these might even lead me to come up with a few more of my own. Seriously, thanks for the article. We aren't done with this year, and I am already contemplating next year.

  4. This whole LENT MADNESS business has just run amok!!!!! And I love it! This one kept me from total withdrawal since I can't vote for anybody today. I'll just have to scribble on my wall poster and drink coffee (FRENCH OCCUPATION from RoastInc in Nashville TN) from my 2012 GOLDEN HALO winner: Mary Mags cup.

  5. Thanks for the shout out! Lent Madness was fun last year but with so many other people now involved, it is even crazier. What that particular article doesn't point out is that our group of presenters range in age from 10 - 70+ and even includes two autism spectrum youth. I know next year we are going to include some wagering on the brackets as well as find a location to post info on each upcoming battle. If the congregation won't come to Lent Madness, then Lent Madness will come to them in more ways next year!

  6. Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! Have been introducing Lent Madness to the congregation I am serving as an Interim Rector at St. Luke's in Chester, VT....so exciting to watch people "Catch the Madness"....Thanks again!

  7. My 6th and 7th graders are participating in LM and have really gotten into it. I expected the Episcopalian and Catholic students in my religion classes to enjoy LentMadness, but the Baptist, Methodist, and even the Muslim and Hindu students are also enjoying learning about these good, righteous Christians who stood up for their beliefs and risked everything to do so. I keep a tally of their scores, and at the end of the tournament, the top scoring students will win a free dress day, a LentMadness award, and a photo in the school newsletter.

  8. Perhaps Holy Cross in Plainfield NJ, which looks like a delightful place, might also want to ask their DTM to update their online portfolio with the Office of Transition Ministry, which was uploaded in Nov and says they stopped receiving names in mid-December 2012. If they're still looking, it's hard to tell that from the official source those of us who are in discernment are supposed to be using.

  9. Yes, the SEC ought to sell those "I Voted" things as stickers. Mainly because I'm too lazy to make them myself so I would shell out some of my "mad" money to get some. Hey, "Mad Money" also has a nice ring to it. Maybe the SEC should also print some of their own currency while they're at it.