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Please post your suggestions, lessons, and resources for celebrating "Shrove Tuesday" (the day before Ash Wednesday) and Ash Wednesday (the official start of Lent).

History and celebration of "Shrove" Tuesday on Wiki.

"The word shrove is a form of the Old English word shrive (schrifen in German) which means to obtain forgiveness for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday was named after the custom of Christians to be "shriven" before the start of Lent"

Celebrants would "use up" the last of their eggs and butter making baked good/pancakes to eat on the last day before fasting begins.

Bible Lesson Idea for Kids:

  • Making pancakes and deciding what you will "give up" (fast) in the daytime during Lent (or all Lent).
  • "Giving up" also means "confessing." What bad habits do you need to confess and try to give up this Lent?  How can you visualize "forgive" (do away with) these sins?  Flash paper?


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Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Originally posted by member Lisa Martin

Things to "BURY" during Lent

This could be a Sunday School ritual during Lent or a series of children's sermons.

Week 1 - We buried the "Hallelujah" (which we don't sing during Lent) by placing the word in an extremely large box and wrapping it with purple wrapping paper. We cut a slot in the top. The children all touched the box as we said a prayer about our Lenten journey.  See this excellent explanation of the practice at UMC Discipleship website.

Week 2 - "L -- Lies" We asked children to tell us time that they had told lies. We wrote these on slips of paper for the children. Then had them slip their papers in the box. Everyone touched the box as we said a prayer asking God to forgive us for lying. We put a giant "L" on the outside of the box and buried it.

Week 3 - "E -- Envy" Same process as week 2

Week 4 - "N -- Nothing" (Sins of omission) Same process as week 2

Week 5 - "T -- Teasing" Same process as week 2

Week 6 - Holy Week. Placed nails inside the box and sealed a cross on the top slot.

In preparation for Easter Sunday, I took out the nails and papers with sins on it and the "Hallelujah" that had been written on it. I filled the box with gold and white helium filled balloons attached to the word "Hallelujah" decorated in glitter on posterboard. Make sure you get balloons that they put a coating in to ensure that they'll be aloft the next morning -- don't do it yourself. You will have to experiment to make sure the balloons are powerful enough to lift the posterboard Hallelujah -- I had to cut my first example back so that it could be lifted up. Also, if you have a vaulted sanctuary, make sure you have one very long string attached so you can pull the balloons back after service.

Easter morning - I called the children forward and reviewed what we'd done the last six weeks. I said that now that it was Easter morning it was time to take our Hallelujah out of the box. The children helped open it up and voila -- the balloons rose to the ceiling with the word Hallelujah. And the sins were gone!

Even the adults are still talking about it.

Writing confessions with ashes (ashes mixed in glue or paint).

Worshippers approach the Communion Table to paint with ashes. Dip in paint then dip into ashes.  

Not sure which member originally posted these photos!  ...but it's a great idea for worship.




"Sackcloth and Ashes"

Write confessions on sackcloth with ashes (as in "sackcloth and ashes").  Read 23 verses about "sackcloth and ashes."

Paint pens, marker or ashes mixed into glue or acrylic paint and brushed on. Let the students dip their brushes into the paint then into the ashes.


Hanging or nailing burlap strips to a wooden cross on Ash Wednesday.



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Greetings from south Louisiana, where we call the day before Ash Wednesday “Mardi Gras” (Fat Tuesday) rather than Shrove Tuesday.

"Mardi Gras" is a French phrase that literally means "Fat Tuesday"--the traditional last day of the season of Epiphany. Both the Feast of Epiphany which takes place 12 days after Christmas, and Fat Tuesday forty days later, celebrate the Magi and "revealing" (epiphany) of Jesus as King with feasting and frivolity. Thus, Mardi Gras represents the "last hurrah" before we turn our thoughts and attitudes towards the season of repentance.

One of the culinary features of Mardi Gras here in south Louisiana is a sweet pastry called a "King Cake." It bears the traditional colors of Mardi Gras (see their significance quoted below), and also hides a surprise in its layers!

From "King Cake History" at

The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. A King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy, crossed between a coffee cake and a French pastry that is as rich in history as it is in flavor. It's decorated in royal colors of PURPLE which signifies "Justice," GREEN for "Faith," and GOLD for "Power." These colors were chosen to resemble a jeweled crown honoring the Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. In the past such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were also hidden in each King Cake.

Today, a tiny plastic baby is the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the "baby." If so, then that person is named "King" for a day and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake.

The Writing Team’s lesson on THE MAGI has a terrific Cooking Workshop lesson that features a "quick baking" King Cake your kids can make (and can also be adapted into a church-wide inter-generational event before Ash Wednesday. Supporting Members can view the lesson at


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What could you do with the number "40" ?

Collect 40 things people want you to pray for.
Collect 40 names of people to remember to God.
Collect 40 promises people have made.
Name 20 things that don't please God, 20 that do.

Collect 40 cans of food.
Make a Lent board game with 40 "do and don't" spaces.
Make and display "4-0" ads, such as "4-God, 0-Excuses" "4-Prayer Minutes, 0 Distractions"

What else could you do with the number 40? or 4-Oh? to celebrate Lent?



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Making Ashes

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are traditionally made by mixing olive oil with ashes of the palms that were used in the previous year's Palm Sunday celebration.  Below are some suggestions for burning the palms, and also some really interesting thoughts from various people on the MEANING of burning and applying palm ashes.

Burning and making the ashes can be a terrific activity for children and youth, and can be accompanied by its own meaningful ritual and prayers.

To get the good ash, you can’t just burn them. You have to let them smolder with little oxygen, and that’s where it gets the real charcoal black. If you just burn them in an open container, the ash will be grey.

If you don't have any palms to burn, you can buy palm ash online at religious supply stores.

Why Impose Ashes

A quote from

“There’s something about the simplicity of admitting that we need God that … a lot of people feel solidarity with,” he explained. “There’s something of a "wonder" about it because you’re marking yourself with the cross. Maybe it’s the humility of it; not just receiving the ashes, but receiving the little prayer we do as people receive ashes.

“There’s something about the ashes that calls upon our humanity.”

A quote from http://kirkepiscatoid.blogspot...rush-em-to-dust.html

The palms slated for burning represent a year's worth of things in a person's life that were "not quite right." They are the old things, the dried out things, the dessicated things, the things we'd like to have a do-over, the promises to God that were broken. They are the things worth repenting, the things worth burying, the things worth dispersing. It's good to watch them burn.

After they are burned, the next step is to pulverize them to dust. I usually use something like the bottom of an old coffee cup to grind them down. It feels renewing, somehow, to take those burned leaves and crush them to a fine powder.

But for me, burning and pulverizing the ashes gives me a fuller sense of what it means for our sins to be forgiven, for God to no longer remember them, for them to be flung as far as east is from west. I think about how everyone walks out of the service on Ash Wednesday with the "same dirt" on them. My sins are not so unique. They're the same as everyone else's. We bear the corporate burden of each other's sins. We're not so much our brother's keeper as we are our brother's sibling. All our sins are made up of the same DNA, so to speak.

What makes the Ash Wednesday service unique is it's the one time we go forward twice--the first time to accept our common sins, and the second time to receive a common meal. There's a tendency, I think, to think of the "sins" part, the "From dust you came and to dust you will return" part as a solo adventure, but in reality, it's just as common and corporate as the meal.

A quote from a leader talks about having her Confirmation class burn the palms, from

"When the palms were all burned, we pulled ourselves together for a closing prayer. Standing in a circle around the grill, we held hands and gave thanks for the presence of the Holy Spirit in that fire and in those holy moments. We asked God’s blessing for each person there, servants of God, and on the ashes that would be signs of God’s love for each person who received them, this year and for many more."

"These Ash Wednesday ashes are now infused with special meaning. Sure, they are an outward symbol of the Lenten journey of repentance. But they are also infused with holy laughter and blessed with the full-of-life spirits of now-confirmed, young Christians."

Last edited by Luanne Payne

A Zoom-Powered Shrove Tuesday Progressive "Brinner"

shrovetuesdayBrinner = Breakfast for Dinner
Shrove Tuesday = The day before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally on Shrove Tuesday, you eat the last fats and sweets in the house before the fasting of Lent starts. Hence its alternate name: "Fat Tuesday" and the tradition of having pancakes with syrup and bacon. It is a time of asking for forgiveness. In some places, it became associated with parties or "carnival" (like Mardi Gras which literally means "Fat Tuesday"). In many churches it has been the occasion for the annual pancake supper. It's holy day celebrated in many denominations. More info

Due to the wise restrictions against in-person gathering during the COVID pandemic, many churches are not able to host in-person Shrove Tuesday brinners, but they could celebrate in small groups connected by Zoom. Below is an idea for doing that based on that old church favorite: "progressive dinner."

Similar to a progressive dinner, but without the traveling, participants are given a schedule of four Zoom meetings to join: the first at 6 pm, the second at 6:15, the third at 6;30, for example. Each Zoom meeting is hosted by a different family at their kitchen table. Everyone eats at their own table throughout the 45 minute Brinner. The hosts have a Bible reading and question for the participants to quickly discuss while they all eat. Any extra time can be taken up by conversation or sharing what each is eating for their brinner.

The fourth and final stop at 6:45 can be an "all groups" arriving at the pastor's kitchen table for a closing message and hymn.

You can adjust the # of hosted stops, the length of time at each stop, and the number of people arriving at each stop.

For example, if you have more than 6 people/families coming to each Zoom stop, you can add MORE stops (hosts) and divide up who goes where so that each stop feels less "crowded." By adding hosts you can vastly expand the number of hosts/stops, and still all end up on the last Zoom meeting at the pastor's home together. The travelers still only go to four stops total. The hosts wait for people to join their Zoom meeting --which they repeat for each group who arrives per the schedule.

Lots of possibilities here, and who knows, maybe this will become another a terrific outreach to friends of your church family and those who are home-bound.

Mardi Gras Pancake Supper | Burnsville, MN |


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Here's a great idea for a simple & meaningful recipe for Shrove Tuesday "crepes" (pancakes).

Flour to remind us of our daily bread
Salt to remind us to be the salt of the earth
Milk to remind us of the goodness of God
Eggs to remind us of the new life we are called to
Honey to remind us of the Promised Land ahead


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  • Shrove Tuesday Honey Crepes Pancakes

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