Free Lent Madness Article!

free-picIn the spirit of FREE, as first announced in yesterday’s Monday Madness episode, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness is offering you a gift of great value. Do you have a looming church newsletter deadline? Is your local paper desperate for material? Here is an article you can use for…wait for it…free!

Just think of Tim and Scott as the Magi, kneeling before you, offering you this gift. Then erase that horrible image from your mind.

And if you use this article in any form? Let us know. We’d be delighted to hear how you, too, became a Lent Madness evangelist.

Lent Madness 2016
The Saintly Smack Down!

For the seventh year running, people worldwide are gearing up for Lent Madness, the “saintly smackdown” in which thirty-two saints do battle to win the coveted Golden Halo.

Yes, the world’s most popular online Lenten devotion is back for another round of saintly thrills and spills. With its unique blend of cut-throat competition, learning, and humor, Lent Madness is really about being inspired by the ways in which God has worked through the lives of saintly souls across the generations.

Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament, this unique competition pits saints against one another in a single-elimination bracket as voters choose their favorites throughout the penitential season of Lent.

Lent Madness began in 2010 as the brainchild of the Rev. Tim Schenck, an Episcopal priest and rector of St. John’s Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women who make up the church’s calendar of saints, Schenck came up with this unique Lenten devotion. Combining his love of sports with his passion for the lives of the saints, Lent Madness was born.

Starting in 2012, Schenck partnered with Forward Movement (the same folks that publish Forward Day by Day) executive director Scott Gunn, to bring Lent Madness to the masses. Schenck and Gunn form the self-appointed Supreme Executive Committee, a more-or-less benevolent dictatorship that runs the entire operation. The formula has worked as this online devotional has been featured in media outlets all over the country including national television, the Washington Post, NPR, USAToday, and even Sports Illustrated (seriously).

Here’s how to participate: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.

The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.

This year Lent Madness features an intriguing slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. The 2016 heavyweights include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Clare of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Sojourner Truth, Joseph, and Albert Schweitzer. The full bracket is online at the Lent Madness website.

This all kicks off on “Ash Thursday,” February 11. To participate, visit the Lent Madness website, where you can also print out a bracket to see how you fare or “compete” against friends and family members. Like that other March tournament, there will be drama and intrigue, upsets and thrashings, last-minute victories and Cinderellas.

Eleven “celebrity bloggers” from across the country have been tapped to write for the project: the Rev. Amber Belldene of San Francisco, CA; the Rev. Laurie Brock of Lexington, KY; Anna Fitch Courie of Ft. Leavenworth, KS; Dr. David Creech of Morehead, MN; the Rev. Megan Castellan of Kansas City, MO; Neva Rae Fox of Somerville, NJ; the Rev. David Hansen of Woodlands, TX; Beth Lewis of Minneapolis, MN; Hugo Olaiz of Cincinnati, OH; Dr. Derek Olsen of Baltimore, MD; and the Rev. David Sibley of Manhasset, NY. Information about each of the celebrity bloggers and the rest of the team is available on the Lent Madness website.

If you’re looking for a Lenten discipline that is fun, educational, occasionally goofy, and always joyful, join the Lent Madness journey. Lent needn’t be all doom and gloom. After all, what could be more joyful than a season specifically set aside to get closer to Jesus Christ?

16 Comments to "Free Lent Madness Article!"

  1. Mary Beth Wright's Gravatar Mary Beth Wright
    February 2, 2016 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    This being my first time, I am getting rather anxioux and excited to begin.

  2. February 2, 2016 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this freebie! I have posted it on our church’s website:

  3. Pastor Kay's Gravatar Pastor Kay
    February 2, 2016 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I will put this on the congregation’s FB page. I might suggest a brief “What is Lent Madness” post on that page, with a simple explanation and link to this, this close to the beginning of Lent. It’s time to get the word out!

  4. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    February 2, 2016 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I have been chomping at the bit for Lent Madness to strike again! Now it is not far off. My husband and I would never accuse the SEC of not giving away free materials. Both of you have our utmost respect and admiration. We have the giant bracket poster affixed to a wall and the Saintly Scorecard. On the appropriate day, let the Madness begin! We’re ready!

  5. Christy's Gravatar Christy
    February 2, 2016 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I just forwarded this to a Lutheran pastor in NJ (after all we have some Lutheran bloggers this year) so the word (and the brackets) are spreading.

  6. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 2, 2016 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I have been diligent in welcoming the bloggers but when you named them + their home sites, I was mini-appalled! Only one is from the South-Lexington KY! I’m a Tar Heel born; Tar Heel bred; and when I die, I’ll be Tar Heel dead! and I live Nashville TN. Baltimore is NOT in the South. If any blogger drops out (Not the KY one who fell off her horse 2 yrs. ago) replace with a died-in-the-wool Southerner. I seldom, if ever, complain but this bears attending to in a BIG way. My thanks to the SEC. Love y’all!

    • February 2, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Not to worry – after a decade in the hills of the Smokies and the Blue, and now a decade in Texas, my Southern drawl is pretty well solidified. So you should probably vote Drogo, Methodius, and Kierkegaard. 🙂

    • linda's Gravatar linda
      February 3, 2016 - 6:45 pm | Permalink

      i am from new orleans. can’t get much more south than that. i don’t care where the celebrity bloggers come from. they write so well. they never fail to give us a good saintly story. my mom’s family was from baltimore and she used to say “it’s below the mason dixon line so it’s the south!” be glad the bloggers are giving us their time to enlighten us…

  7. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    February 2, 2016 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! I was looking for something for the St. Paul’s parish Facebook Page.

  8. February 2, 2016 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Will be emailing this out to our members, thanks so much!

  9. Robin Carlo's Gravatar Robin Carlo
    February 2, 2016 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be posting your article on my Facebook page; Spiritual Formation in the Diocese of Western MA. Thanks for making it available; and let the games begin!!!!

  10. Peggy Layman's Gravatar Peggy Layman
    February 4, 2016 - 5:17 am | Permalink

    Why can’t I send this email to a friend so she can play too?

  11. Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
    February 4, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    I just made up a bulletin insert with your letter on one side and the brackets poster on the other for both of the congregations that meet in our church!

  12. February 4, 2016 - 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this article which I have just added to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Lebanon, Oregon for our February Newsletter THE CLOAK.

  13. Dan Lester's Gravatar Dan Lester
    February 6, 2016 - 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Well, if we want to whine about where the celebrity bloggers are from, I will whine (which I never really d0) that there is no one from the southwest. There are Episcopalians in the southwest, and even some Lutherans of all flavors (including the ones not in communion with us).

  14. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    February 9, 2016 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

Comments are closed.