The Lent Challenge: An Introduction

If you’ve signed up late for the Caldecote Lent Challenge, or are just intrigued to find out what it is, here’s an introduction.

During Lent we’re sending out one email a day which is designed to offer you a simple way to observe the 40 days of Lent that can fit in with the time you have available.

The emails provide a friendly way in to the Book of Common Prayer Morning Prayer service, which can be hard to grasp if you’re new to the traditional language, and easy to miss the meaning if you’ve grown up with it.

If you sign up after Shrove Tuesday and so miss the first introductory email, or are intrigued to know more, below is a guide to the format of each email.

It’s not too late to join this Lent Challenge – sign up here to receive tomorrow’s email.

Welcome to Morning Prayer!

Some people were brought up on a church diet of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), while many of us struggle with its old language. Every day of Lent, whether you have 5 minutes or half an hour, this is a chance to experience what is familiar with new eyes and ears, or to allow God to speak through unfamiliar words.

Each email will begin with a Spotlight: a short piece of background that will serve as a reminder to those familiar with the liturgy, and will provide an entry point for newcomers.

After the Spotlight, choose either the 5 minute challenge or the 15 minute challenge, depending on the time you have available to set aside. Start small and aim to gradually build up over the days and weeks.

If you choose the 15 minute version, you can read as much or as little of the service as you like: the suggested sections are there as a scaffold, and you are free to build around it as you wish.

The important thing however is not how long you spend, but the quality of the time spent, so take a few moments of silence to still your mind before you begin.

Once you’ve completed the challenge, you might enjoy the daily Lent Extras: our Word and Music of the Day. Each is designed to enrich our understanding and our experience of the Book of Common Prayer’s morning prayer service.

Word of the Day: An introduction
One of the things about the Book of Common Prayer which can be a stumbling block is its beautiful but archaic language. If you’ve ever wished you could stop proceedings during a Matins service to ask what something means, you aren’t alone! Each day in this Lent Challenge series we’ll focus on one of those words, arming us with understanding that will enrich our worship.


Music of the Day: An introduction
The beauty and depth of meaning of the biblical elements of the morning prayer liturgy have been appreciated throughout the centuries and across the globe. The texts have been the inspiration for countless musical settings, and through these 40 days of Lent we’ll be taking a virtual trip around the world and through the ages, from a fifth-century monastic setting of the Te Deum to modern Tongan young people in Australia singing the Apostles’ Creed. We’ll hear what the Venite might have sounded like in the Temple of Solomon, and how the Lord’s Prayer inspired Rachmaninoff.


Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Dona McCullagh

(Churchwarden of Caldecote Church)