The following article is a testament to GNJ’s Breakthrough Series, a 5-part series resource guide to worship for all congregations, submitted by Shirley Carvatt from Cokesbury UMC.
The Fountain of Grace was flowing abundantly at Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Lebanon, NJ, during Lent. Worship materials provided by Rev. Emily Wilton, Breakthrough Coordinator, formed the basis for the Sunday services led by Pastor, Rev. Lynn Mears.
Each week of Lent, a simple everyday cup was elevated to holy status, beginning with brokenness, and culminating on Easter Sunday with a cup overflowing with God’s grace. Shards from the cups broken on the first week were used to form a beautiful mosaic cross by member Dot Klitsch. It was prominently displayed at the altar on Easter Sunday. In the intervening weeks, members chose cups of discipleship and compassion to reach out to the community with gifts of food, gift cards, notes of encouragement, and prayers.
A group of churches came together in a testament to the excellence of the Breakthrough worship materials. Several denominations used Fountain of Grace each Wednesday for the soup and bread evening Lenten studies. Each church took a turn as host during the evening gatherings and provided the soup dinner. Pastors of the participating churches also took a turn to lead the discussions. Members from several congregations shared in the discussions, coming together as one Christian family.
The Breakthrough materials were very helpful in leading participants to understand that Lent is a journey from the brokenness of sin to the sacrifice Jesus gave for our redemption, to hope in the Resurrection and its gift of joy. The Breakthrough authors deserve our thanks and appreciation for their beautiful effort.