PARRISH – In the church year, Lent is a penitential season when many schedule personal retreats in anticipation of Easter.
During this season, visitors are invited to come to the 97-acre campus of DaySpring Episcopal Center for times of personal and corporate reflection. While DaySpring is open year ’round, Lent is a special time at DaySpring for personal retreats.
In the church calendar, Lent begins on Feb. 14 with Ash Wednesday and ends on March 29, 2018, on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. While our parishes offer services throughout Lent (visit our Find a Church page for a location near you), it is often helpful to step out of the daily routine to reflect on the season.
The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer mentions the observance of Lent in the Ash Wednesday service:
“Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. …Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
The invitiation for Lent, an old English word meaning spring, is given to all the church to pray, read, medidate and fast in the 40 days that precede Easter. The liturgy says:
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self‑examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self‑denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.
Some Lenten Opportunities
Lent begins at DaySpring on Wednesday, Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday, where the traditional Anglican Ash Wednesday service, with imposition of ashes, will be observed. Other opportunities include:
- Attend Our Lenten Quiet Day: Bishop Dabney Smith will hold a Lenten Quiet Day on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The subject for this year’s quiet day is The Spirituality of Lent. To register to the day’s teaching, which includes a $10 lunch, email email@example.com.
- Pray at St. Thomas Chapel: Pilgrims may use the St. Thomas Chapel for silent prayer and reflection during regular hours. Often, visitors bring a special passage to medidate on. In the chapel there are also copies of the Book of Common Prayer, which includes the Ash Wednesday liturgy. The chapel is open daily from 9 to 5 p.m., or by request.
- Walk the Labyrinth: Next to the chapel is the Episcopal Church Women Labyrinth. The labyrinth, inspired by the famous labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, is not a maze; instead it is a circuitous route from the outside to the center of the design. Pligrims walk to the interior while praying or meditating.
- Spend Quiet Time on Our Trails: DaySpring has nature trails that crisscross our 97-acre woodland campus. These trails are open during the day for group walks and individual walks. Our outdoor chapel is also available.
- Follow the Way of the Cross. A favorite activity of those on personal retreats is the walking of the DaySpring Stations of the Cross. These stations, which symbolize Christ’s steps on the journey to crucifixion, can be walked, with a reading at each of the 12 “stations.” The Episcopal Church’s Forward Movement has an online version of the Way of the Cross, which can be used as you walk at each station.
For group visits, please reserve at the front desk or call ahead to reservations at 941-776-1018. For many days in Lent, our dining room at Curry Hall is open to visitors, both groups and indviduals. Please call ahead to make reservations.