As Christians, Lent and the Easter story are at the heart of our faith. But the way in which we observe this important festival varies depending on your church tradition and orthodoxy.
For many, the six weeks (40 days not including Sundays) leading up to Easter, are a time to reflect and to pray.
The Bible describes how Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray and that he was tempted by Satan but was able to resist.
Many Christians remember Jesus’ fasting in the desert and use his example to give things up and to test their own self-discipline.
In recent years, as well as giving something up, many Christians use the season of Lent to take something up and to test their self-discipline to develop the God-given gifts they have but which may have been left neglected or overlooked in the busyness of life.
So how will you observe Lent this year?
Around the Diocese of Chester churches will offer different things, from Lent study courses, to "Ashes to Go" for passers-by.
St George’s, Stockport
St George’s will be leading weekly reflections every Monday throughout Lent using selected works of art as a basis for discussion. All are welcome to attend. On the four Saturdays in March they will also host a series of Lent Prayer Breakfasts on the theme of Celebrating Difference - understanding and embracing others who may not be like ourselves.
St Andrew's, All Saints' and St Peter's, Crewe
Visitors can enjoy everything from pancake parties for toddlers, daily services at St Andrew’s during Holy Week, to a Passover meal and Easter Triduum at All Saints'. Residents in Crewe will also be encouraged to have a go at the 40-Acts campaign, an international generosity campaign and app, alongside which the parish will offer its own “suggested local generosity challenges” to encourage people in the community to “take something up” for Lent. They will also offer Ashes to go on the streets of Crewe on Ash Wednesday.
St Mary's, Lymm
Join St Mary’s for a Lent course titled A Way Through the Wilderness - Experiencing God's Help in Times of Crisis. The course is by Paula Goodier and will run from 7pm every Tuesday evening in March. All are welcome.
St John’s, Great Sutton
Following on from a project they’ve been running called Go Green for God, which so far has prompted discussion and reflection about the fashion industry and the consumption of meat and the impact of food-miles, St John’s will be encouraging parishioners to think about how and what they are eating during Lent.