This year more than 46,000 people joined together to do Lent generously with 40acts from Stewardship, which means that more than 1.8 million acts of kindness were completed throughout the 40 days. Here are some of our favourite bits & highlights!
This year more than 24,000 people have signed up to do Lent generously with our challenge, 40acts.
40acts aims to celebrate and reflect something of God's generosity at Easter, by preparing challengers for a life-time of big-heartedness. 40 days of Lent, 40 inspirational reflections, 40 simple acts of generosity. You can sign up here: www.40acts.org.uk
Today - Shrove Tuesday - we've asked the brilliant Meggie's Cupcakes to give us unique recipe for these pancakes. You can make, adapt and share these wonderful mulled wine pear/caramelised apple pancakes. Hop over to our Facebook page and let us know how you get on!
Meggie's Cupcakes Vanilla Pancakes with Mulled Wine Pears/Caramelised Apples
(serves 4-6 people)
- 135g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 130ml milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) plus extra for cooking
- mulled wine pears (available in most supermarkets, or you can make your own)
- homemade caramelised apples
- maple syrup
- clotted cream
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
2. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.
3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it's melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm (½in) thick.
4. Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan.
5. Serve with real maple syrup and a dollop of clotted cream. The combined flavours are simply divine!
Some alternatives to try!
Try adding 2 tablespoons of cinnamon in the flour instead of vanilla sugar for a different twist - this will taste especially good with caramelised apples!
To make the pancakes extra fluffy you can also substitute self raising flour for plain flour.
This year Stewardship have partnered with a number of brilliant organisations to bring you 40acts Together - a new way to do Lent generously as a group.
From Wednesday 12th February 2014, you'll be able download resources especially for churches, families, youth groups, schools, work groups and more. Some of the resource packs have been created alongside HOPE, an organisation that helps to equip the church in their local community.
You'll find some HOPE resources inside the 40acts event planners when you sign up as a group at www.40acts.org.uk, but there are bonus resources for everyone to benefit from.
Download them below.
Lent has formed part of many church traditions for centuries, as we take the time to remember Jesus' sacrifice for all mankind. Traditionally Lent is marked by giving something up, but for the past three years we've seen people awaken to a new idea: that we can reflect something of God's incredible generosity on the cross by creating a daily habit of generosity throughout Lent.
Whether your church usually observes Lent or not, we invite you to join us for 40acts Together. This free seven-week, downloadable series will include full sermon notes for each week, event planners and promotional activities to help your congregation get to grips with generosity, and reach out into their community during Lent and beyond. Download the sermon outline, and you'll get a preview of the resources.
Sign up for 40acts Together as a church leader and you'll receive:
- full sermon notes for each week
- an event planner and weekly emails to inspire you
- posters and postcards to put up and give away in your community
- the daily 40acts emails with reflections from high profile contributors from the Christian community
Contributing this year: Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor), Shaun King (HopeMob), Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Luke Smith (Fusion UK), Dot Tyler (Tearfund), Jonty Langley (Huffington Post), Caleb Meakins (My 40 Days), Sam Gibb (Sorted Magazine), Charlie Blythe (A21 Campaign, Hillsong) and many more.
Head to the 40acts website and select your group from the list. You can sign up as a group leader, and the resources will be available to download for free from Feb 10th.
The 40acts challenge is back! 40 days of Lent, 40 reflections, 40 simple acts of generosity.
Now in its fourth consecutive year, 40acts is the triple award-winning challenge from Christian charity Stewardship that invites people to do Lent differently. From March 5th to April 19th you will be offered the chance to give out rather than give something up. Over 15,400 people have already signed up to take part in 40acts 2014 and there is still plenty of room at the party!
"40acts began as a simple idea that asked, "What if Lent could be about more than simply giving up chocolate? What if it was a preparation for a lifetime of big-heartedness?" says Debbie Wright, head of content at Stewardship.
"Traditionally we mark Lent by giving something up, but for the past three years we've seen people awaken to a new idea: that we can reflect something of God's incredible generosity on the cross by creating a daily habit of generosity throughout Lent."
It may be talking to strangers, hugging a friend or giving away your time but for each and every day of Lent participants will be assigned a fresh and exciting challenge that will bless the people around them as well as a daily Biblical reflections from an esteemed Christian contributor to chew on.
Those contributing to this year's 40acts campaign include: Shaun King (HopeMob), Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor), Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Luke Smith (Fusion UK), Dot Tyler (Tearfund), Jonty Langley (Huffington Post), Caleb Meakins (My 40 Days), Sam Gibb (Sorted Magazine), Charlie Blythe (A21 Campaign, Hillsong) and many more.
New for this year is 40acts Together. Whether you're a family, church, small group, workplace, school or youth group, 40acts Together - in partnership with fantastic organisations - will provide you with the online and printable resources to guide you through your generous journey as a community.
There will be downloadable studies, prayer guides, event planners, kid's wall charts and much more to help different kinds of groups do Lent generously alongside the individual 40acts challenge.
Join in the fun, pouring out love to your neighbours while learning more about our generous and compassionate God.
Sign up here and you'll receive the daily 40acts challenges when Lent begins, as well as a unique link to download 40acts Together resources for your group from February 10th 2014.
Download the official press pack here.
The Christian festival of Lent has had a recent reinvention. It’s no longer just the annual opportunity to forgo chocolate or caffeine. These days you can give up chocolate and give out free hugs, or plant trees, or cut your carbon footprint, or ask the big questions, or read a section of the Bible alongside hundreds of others online.
Lent has become a time for generosity and thoughtfulness. This month, we celebrate the charity campaigns that have helped thousands of people to reconnect with Lent in a meaningful way.
What it is:
This brilliant campaign from Christian Aid has encouraged thousands of people to help end poverty this Lent. Last year’s campaign raised over £300,000 for the charity, and this year they launched an android app to help people connect and give on-the-go.
Why we love it:
With daily suggestions such as ‘give 10p for every light in your home’ and ‘give 20p for every time you have accessed free healthcare this year’, the Count Your Blessings campaign uses simple stats to highlight exactly how blessed we are. And we all need a reminder of that from time to time!
What it is:
Tearfund’s Carbon Fast campaign asks us to consider what effects our energy-intensive lifestyles have on God’s creation. Again taking a daily action approach, the Carbon Fast focuses on environmental tasks such as buying energy monitors, creating a compost-heap, and walking or cycling to work.
Why we love it:
It offers a good amount of flexibility, and the daily actions are achievable. There’s also the option to simply do an ‘Action of the week’. A great campaign for the environmentally-conscious among us, and they’ve put together a nice promo video too.
What it is:
This year’s Big Read focuses on the gospel of Mark, with material written by Profession Tom Wright. It is put together by BigBible – a project that promotes bible reading in a community setting, whether online or offline.
Why we love it:
It’s primarily an online-driven campaign, making use of Google+ Hangouts, online homegroups, blogging and twitter hashtags to keep up momentum, as well as downloadable resources. BigBible are traditionally great at making connections with other organisations and initiatives, and we love their ability to reach out and promote other campaigns as well as their own.
What it is:
40acts has returned for 2012, and this year we’re encouraging people to ‘do Lent generously’. With daily inspirational contributions from likes of Nicky Gumbel (Alpha course), Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), and Andy Frost (Share Jesus International), 40acts gives subscribers 40 nudges in a generous direction. So far 5000+ people have signed up to take part.
Why we love it:
Our 40acts challengers never fail to surprise us. Whether they set up daily blogs to chart their 40acts journey, or anonymously send Easter eggs into the office, or nearly get arrested for offering free hugs: all of them remind us of the transformational nature of generosity.
What it is:
Mark Powley’s book, ‘Consumer Detox’ offers practical solutions to combating the consumerist culture we live in. The Lent campaign is designed for small groups and churches, and takes a week-by-week approach. There are also daily blogs and online talks.
Why we love it:
There’s a great emphasis on doing Lent alongside others with this campaign. That sense of accountability and honesty makes for an interesting journey, as the group travels together into the heart of the difficult questions: ‘How can we prevent our stuff from choking our faith?’, ‘Why do we find it so hard to set limits on our consumption?’, ‘If God is so generous, why does He ask us to surrender everything?’
So there we have it, a round-up of Lent 2012. What have your favourite Lent campaigns been this year? What would you like to see next year? Let us know in the comments.
“We’ve crossed social divides in the playground, and bought cups of tea for the homeless. We’ve sent thank you notes by the hundreds and prayed for our enemies as well as our friends. We’ve bought fair-trade chocolate from local shops, switched off our TVs, and left our comfort zones for the sake of spontaneous kindness.
Because we believe that what we do during Lent, and beyond, should reflect the incredible generosity of the Easter message.”
We hope that taking part in 40acts has been a real blessing to your Lent experience this year, but more than that – we hope that it has ignited a spark of God-inspired generosity that will last a life-time.
It doesn’t stop here!
40acts will be back again in 2013, but you can continue to journey with Stewardship throughout the year.
We’ve got three final acts for you:
Thank you for taking part in 40acts 2012. We hope it has inspired you to do life generously.
The 40acts Team
blogs by the Stewardship team and selected guest writers.