Seven-Week Faith Formation Program
Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian church communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.
One of the major causes of damage to God’s creation and injustice in our world is the pattern of human consumption.
If the Earth were divided equally among us, each person now living on the planet would be entitled to approximately 4.5 acres. From that 4.5 acres we would have to get everything we need for our life. Our food, housing, energy, clothing, appliances, cars, water and everything we consume come from somewhere on this planet.
A fair-share is 4.5 acres. But according to Global Footprint data, the average Canadian uses 14.2 acres – and it takes a staggering 22.3 acres to make the average lifestyle in the United States possible.
We have a huge global problem. We Christians in affluent countries have a faith problem. Today those who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ cannot ignore or remain indifferent to the consumption habits of our country. The way we consume must change if we are going to bring forth a world that is both sustainable and just. How can we share our planet with nearly 7 billion other human beings in a way that enables all of us to live with dignity?
What is the focus of the program?
The program is organized around weekly themes which focus on various areas of consumption.
- Ash Wednesday Week – Christian Simplicity: Compassionate Living
- 1st Week of Lent – Food: Buying and Eating are Moral Acts
- 2nd Week of Lent – Consumption: Buying Less, Wasting Less
- 3rd Week of Lent – Water: Conserving and Protecting
- 4th Week of Lent – Energy: Choosing Efficient and Clean
- 5th Week of Lent – Transportation: Reducing Carbon Emissions
- Holy Week – Gratitude and Generosity: Becoming Involved
How can a church or school participate?
There are four ways for a church or school to participate.
- Weekly Handouts / Bulletin Inserts (Set of 9)
Becoming Informed and Taking Action
Take-home materials are central to the program. Each weekly handout focuses the congregation on an area of consumption. It presents the church’s teachings, a menu of practical suggestions to abstain from over-consuming in that area, a reflective prayer, and suggestions for additional learning activities. Each handout educates your congregation, helps them understand how to reduce their consumptive patterns, and motivates them to embrace Christian simplicity. Handouts can be included in weekly parish bulletins or distributed separately.
- Discussion Courses: "Christian Simplicity"
Study Groups and Faith Sharing
Christian Simplicity: A Gospel Value is a seven-session course which enables faith sharing groups to have a more in-depth experience. This self-facilitating course is designed for 8-12 people to meet weekly for 1½ hours to pray, reflect, and discuss readings based on the weekly themes of Lent 4.5. The course book (125 pages) is a collection of essays, articles, book excerpts, prayer services, and discussion questions designed to create a lively interchange.
- Online Resources and Weekly Reflections
Going Deeper and Exploring Options
Members of participating churches will have access to practical guidance on how to implement the lifestyle changes they select and be able to expand their knowledge with the online resources at www.lent45.org. They can also subscribe to receive free weekly Lenten email messages of inspiration and creative alternatives for living Christian simplicity. They will be able to participate in the Lent 4.5 blog, a nationwide community of sharing faith in action. Activities for Children
- School Resource Book
The school resource book helps teachers of grades K-8 address consumerism through age-appropriate curriculum guides. Children can begin to understand the impact of their purchasing habits, the problem with the consumer mentality, and the harmful impact consumerism has on God’s creation, matters of justice, and their spiritual welfare.
Broaden the scope of discipleship in prayer, sacrifice, and service this Lent.
Lent 4.5-Christian Simplicity is a more meaningful way to experience Lent than simply giving up chocolate. This seven-week program informs and inspires Christian communities on how to use prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to care for God’s creation. It offers practical opportunities for people to apply church teaching on Gospel simplicity to their everyday lives.
For more information about Lent 4.5, contact Doreen Josephs.
Lent 4.5 National Coordinator