Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Congregations Vary in Lent Observances

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Congregations Vary in Lent Observances

Article excerpt

This year, Peace Presbyterian Church added a twist to its evolving Lenten tradition of giving to those less fortunate.

As the East Manatee church observes the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, its charitable focus through the "Pintos, Panties and Pampers" program is to gather undergarments for those who may need them the most.

"There's a lot of children affected and do not have the most basic things, such as clean undergarments and diapers for babies," said Eirinn Camphire, a church board member who is helping coordinate the effort. "We learned from the Community Coalition on Homelessness how dire the need is."

Church leaders met last fall with the coalition's executive director, Martha Childress, and learned of the need. The organization assists between 30 and 60 new homeless children every month and often only has six diapers to give to a mother.

While the underwear drive seeks donations from the community, Camphire said, the main purpose is to pique the involvement of Peace youth to help other children their age.

"We wanted to bring it to our children so they could shop for underpants they'd like to receive and have fun with it," she said. "They'd remember when they had diapers and go with their parents and help their parents purchase something to donate."

The Lenten effort that runs through April 8 includes the "Pintos" component that urges the purchase of a 50-pound bag of beans for $24. The bags are donated to Beth-El Farmworkers in Wimauma, one of the church's mission projects. Bags of rice can be purchased for $18.

The opportunity to take part in any aspect of the drive can serve as a learning tool for youth in how best to view the world, Camphire said.

"We want to encourage that way of looking at the world and that they can always make a difference," she said. "It's just to embrace the opportunity to look at the world in a different way and look outside of themselves."

As Peace proceeds with its Lenten giving, other churches are focused on exploring the season through its Scriptural meaning. First Presbyterian Church has moved its services from noon to 7 p.m. every Wednesday prior to Palm Sunday, said Harry Ferguson, the minister of visitation. …

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