10 February 2014
Give out not up for lent 2014
Say thank you, create a generosity toolbox, share a skill and always talk to strangers. These are just a few of the forty acts of generosity that feature in Stewardship's 40acts, a generosity campaign to help people put a more positive slant on Lent and mark it differently.
A fresh website launched 10 February, and the 40acts begins 5 March 2014, challenging participants to 'give something out instead of give something up' for Lent. During the forty days, participants will complete forty simple acts of generosity which will challenge and inspire.
"40acts began as a simple idea that asked, 'What if Lent could be about more than simply giving up chocolate? What if it was a preparation for a lifetime of big-heartedness?'" says Debbie Wright, head of content at Stewardship.
"Lent marks a pivotal point in the history of the Church, when Jesus prepared to give himself up as a sacrifice for all mankind. Traditionally we mark Lent by giving something up, but for the past three years we've seen people awaken to a new idea: that we can reflect something of God's incredible generosity on the cross by creating a daily habit of generosity throughout Lent.
"Small acts of generosity, performed by thousands of Christians across the UK, have the power to make a big change to our communities, to our churches and ultimately, to our world."
Individual participants receive daily 40acts emails from 5 March to 19 April 2014 and through the 40acts website and social media.
New this year, Stewardship are partnering with five fantastic charities and organisations to create 40acts Together, a fresh way for groups to do Lent generously in 2014. Families, churches, small groups, workplace groups, schools, youth groups and more can now access free online and printable resources to guide them through 40acts as a community, helping them to plan a generous event over Easter weekend.
HOPE, Urban Saints, Switch ID, Stopsley Community Primary School and give.net are the official partners helping to bring 40acts Together to the masses, with each contributing to downloadable studies, activities, event planners and children's resources. Group leaders can sign up to receive a unique link to download resources for their group.
"Generosity is a key ingredient to blessing our communities and Easter is the key moment to celebrate the ultimate gift of God's generosity to us." said Roy Crowne, director of HOPE.
Phil Hulks, development director at Urban Saints and co-creator of the 40acts Together youth resources, said: "40acts has become a great resource in enabling the church to demonstrate the love and generosity of God to their communities."
Children will also be well-catered for this year, courtesy of a partnership with Rachel Carron – a teacher at Stopsley Primary School. "I knew it would fit well into the drive to increase good behaviour in my school. This year I'm looking forward to seeing the children I work with enjoying the challenge of paying it forward to others."
Forty biblical reflections from 40 highly regarded contributors are included with the 40acts challenges by contributors such as Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Luke Smith (Fusion UK), Dot Tyler (Tearfund), Caleb Meakins (My 40 Days) and many more.
Downloadable flyers, posters and social media icons are available at www.40acts.org.uk/downloads