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Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, meaning “lengthen” and refers to the lengthening days of spring. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by new converts and then became a time of penance by all Christians. Today, Christians focus on relationship with God, growing as disciples and extending ourselves, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of ourselves for others.

Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

(Content produced by Ask the UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications)

During the Lenten Season, you will hear about "giving up" certain things as the pastors focus on this part of Lent during all three worship services on Sunday morning, things like Giving Up: Control, Giving Up: Superiority and Giving Up: Fear all leading up to Easter Sunday (April 12th) when the message is about Giving Up: Death.

Please scroll down to learn more about things happening during the Lenten season here at 1st UMC.  

  • Ash wednesday

    february 26th

    worship services at noon and 6:30 pm

    Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season, a time when Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. Ashes are the Biblical symbol of mourning and repentance.


    This year there are two Ash Wednesday Worship Services, one at Noon (Sanctuary - upper level) and the other during Celebrate Recovery Worship at 6:30 pm (Asbury Hall - lower level). 

    If you wish to take part in the imposition of ashes, but can't be at one of the services, Rev. Catherine Nance will be at the church from 6:15 am to 7:45 am to do that (no service: just quiet and 'smudging').

    A light lunch will be served following the Noon service and supper for Celebrate Recovery is at 5:30 pm. 

  • lenten noonday worship

    wednesdays - march 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th & april 1st

    sanctuary (upper level)

    Lent is more than just a season on the Christian calendar, it is also a journey, one that leads us to the cross and to the celebrations of Christ's resurrection. 

    During the season of Lent, you are invited to take a break from your day and join in a time of reflection and worship on Wednesdays at Noon. The emphasis will be on the “five senses” (from Ministry Matters, Sensing the Gospel).   

    1st UMC pastors and special guests will lead these services which will be about 30 minutes long followed by a light meal and time of fellowship in Wesley Hall.  These services will last no longer than 30 minutes and afterward you are invited to Wesley Hall for a light lunch.

    March 4th - Touch

    Rev. Sarah Slack

    March 11th - Sight

    Rev. Catherine Nance

    March 18th - Taste

    Eric Bronkala (Shannondale Chaplain)

    March 25th - Hear

    Rev. Matt Hall

    April 1st - Smell

    Chris Black (1st UMC Oak Ridge)



    APRIL 5th

    WORSHIP AT 8:15 and 10:30 am

    Traditional Worship at 8:15 am and 10:30 am

    Contemporary Worship at 10:30 am


    APRIL 6th - 9th


    Lunch will be served after each service in Wesley Hall.



    On Maundy Thursday evening, we focus on the new commandment Jesus gives us to ‘love one another.’ The story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet is read and we share in ‘the Last Supper’ remembering these last moments before the trial and crucifixion.


    FRIDAY, APRIL 10th

    On Friday evening, we move from the intimate and private setting with the disciples to the very public and humiliating display of ‘justice’ before corrupt power. The story of the crucifixion is read and worshipers leave in darkness. It is a reminder of the hopelessness and finality that was surely sensed among our Lord’s followers. We return early on Easter morning at the sunrise service (7:00 am) to shout the Good News that Death and Hate and Fear are defeated!


    SUNDAY, APRIL 12th

    7:00 am  Sunrise Service

    8:15 am  Traditional Worship

    10:30 am Traditional Worship

    10:30 am Contemporary Worship

Lenten Study

As Christians we know we are beloved, but how much do we really believe and/or understand that? Author Kristen Vincent takes a look in her book, "We are Beloved." This will be a journey alongside Jesus where you will discover just how deeply beloved we are.

Rev. Sarah Slack leads this study during the Lenten season. The cost is $10.