The Rector's Letter
Lent - a Grace Jar
Use an old glass jam jar with a metal top or empty tin which has a metal lid (for example a cocoa or syrup tin). Cut a slit in the lid so that coins can be put through. (This can be done with a chisel or similar tool. It must be done by a grown up.)
Make a paper label to fit the jar and label it 'The Grace Jar'. It could be decorated too. (This can be done by a child.)
Use the Grace Jar to collect money throughout Lent, which is the forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. (Many diaries tell you when Ash Wednesday is.) When Easter comes and the jar is full, collect up the money and send it to a charity. You could send it to Christian Aid (PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT) or find the address of your favourite charity and send it there.
Here are some ways that you could gather up the money. Everyone puts in a small coin before each meal as a way of saying thank you for having enough to eat You might like to give up something which is really a bit of a luxury for the duration of Lent: if you often have chocolate biscuits, you could have plain ones instead; children might be able to give up sweets on the way home from school; a grown up might be able to give up a glass of beer or wine or whatever; or you could drink water instead of juice at meal times. Put the money that is saved by this in the tin.
Lent is a time when we remember that Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days all alone. He was very hungry. It has been the tradition in Lent for Christian people to give something up, to help them remember what happened to Jesus and as a reminder of what it is like to be hungry and to be tempted. Today, it also helps us to remember what it is like for the many people in the world who are often hungry because they live in places where there is not enough food, or they are too poor to buy enough to eat.
Older children and grown ups might like to have a sponsored fast for 24 hours in Lent. Some charities do this each year, but there is nothing to stop you organising your own and giving the money to your chosen charity. It doesn't do healthy people any harm and you certainly find out what it feels like to be hungry! Small children and people with health problems shouldn't try it though. When you tell people what you are doing they are usually very interested!
Help us, dear God, to live with thankful and generous hearts this day and evermore. Amen.(Prayers for Children) continued...