This year, during Lent, Cromer Church is, collectively and individually, going to try the 40 Acts challenge. The idea behind the challenge is to encourage us and people around the globe to live Lent generously through daily acts of kindness.
40 Acts is a generosity challenge that runs throughout Lent, created by the charity Stewardship. During 2016, 100,000 individuals and thousands of groups took the 40 Acts challenge, creating a wave of more than 4 million generous acts in 180 countries around the world. It’s easy to register yourself with just your name and an email address at www.40acts.org.uk. You will receive a daily email with a generosity challenge (an ‘act’) and short Bible-based blog sent straight to your inbox. Each act is designed to give you practical ways to stretch your faith as well as your generosity. It is a great way to encourage us to Live Mission.
Whether or not you can join us on the 40 Acts challenge – here is a simple prayer we could all pray daily during Lent. “Almighty God You showed us through the life of your Son Jesus Christ, that You are willing to do something different for the sake of generosity. Please give us hearts of compassion like yours and help us to be alert to those in need of Your transforming love. Help us to be ready to be changed ourselves as we reach out to others. Show us ways to restore our relationships, our community and our world. We ask this, in the precious name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
To kick off our 40 Acts challenge, Jonny Bell and Simon Fenn gave out ‘Love Heart’ sweets on Ash Wednesday outside the Parish Church. We explained that rather than giving up for Lent we were giving out by doing random acts of kindness. While giving out our sweets, we spoke to a young family about the 40 Acts challenge, our church family and some of our toddler friendly groups and activities. About half an hour later, the couple returned with big smiles and two cups of take-away coffee, saying “This is our random act of kindness to you. You looked like you needed warming up!”. Simon commented, "This is the power and beauty of stepping out in God’s love. I truly believe that by simple acts of kindness, like baking for a neighbour, sending anonymous gifts or grabbing some rubber gloves and a bin bag and cleaning up our street, we’re able to transform peoples’ lives, demonstrate God’s amazing love and give something back to our wonderful community."
Also, as a church, we are going to join together in a variety of generous ways to bless our community. If you would like to get involved alongside your fellow small group members, church friends and family then check out some of these activities:
- Friday 10th March - #lean - Offering practical help by bag-packing at Morrisons. (Two sessions: 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.)
- Tuesday 14th March - #chocolatetuesday - Saturate Cromer with chocolate by giving free chocolate bars to the people in the town centre throughout the day!
- Tuesday 21st March - #prayer - Opportunities to pray for and with people in our community. Join in with:
- hourly themed prayers (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.);
- the Big Prayer Wall outside the Parish Church and at our Take-a-Break group;
- the Prayer Sofa in the churchyard.
- Friday 31st March - #2:1 - Giving away one extra when getting something for your yourself (supporting Cromer Food-bank) (Two sessions at the Community Stand at Morrisons: 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.)
- Tuesday 4th April - #stepout - Stepping out and sharing your faith with a 2-minute testimony. (10-11.30 at Take-a-Break; 2-4 p.m. in the Parish Church Lounge.)
- Saturday 15th April - #delivery - Celebrate Easter by working in pairs throughout the day to give away free Easter eggs in Cromer town centre
For more information on the above and to get involved, go to our 40 Acts page.
Please share your 40 Acts stories on social media using the hashtags: #40Acts #LoveCromer #LiveMission
Simon Fenn and Jules Zulu