St. Paul’s sponsors Lenten lunches

Published 8:15 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

Eating a bowl of soup and listening to guest pastors speak at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has become a long-time tradition for many in Selma.

That tradition will continue this coming Wednesday, March 8 when the church starts its annual Lenten Soup and Speakers Series.

“It’s something St. Paul’s has done for a long time, and it’s a staple of our ministry, and it has become an outreach,” said the Rev. Jack Alvey, rector at St. Paul’s. “We eat soup as sort of a way to observe the simplicity of Lent. Soup is a modest meal, so that is sort of the reason behind the soup.”

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The five-week lunch and lecture series will be held every Wednesday at noon until April 5.

Lent is a religious observance that starts on Ash Wednesday, which was March 1, and lasts until Easter Sunday.

“A lot of times when you think of Lent you associate it with fasting and repentance, and you sort of get this idea that it’s a very dark season, which it can be, but Lent is not a self-improvement project,” Alvey said. “Lent is about the one who died for you so that you may rise to new life. And that rising to new life is all about what it means to grow in grace.”

And that’s what this year’s theme of the series is, growing in grace.

Each week will feature a different speaker and a different soup. The first speaker will be the Rev. Otis Dion Culliver, pastor of historic Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma.

“The speakers are typically other clergy or Episcopal priests, but this year we will welcome Dion Culliver, who is pastor at Tabernacle Baptist,” Alvey said. “He’s a good friend of mine and colleague over the years, so we’re excited to have him to sort of kick us off.”

The Rev. Michael Rich, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham will speak on March 15, the Rev. Thomas Joyner, campus chaplain of Trinity Commons Birmingham Episcopal Campus Ministries will speak March 22, the Rev. Ed Bacon who previously served at All Saints’ in Pasadena, California, will speak March 29 and the Rev. Mary Bea Sullivan, associate rector for pastoral care at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham will finish off the series on April 5.

“I’m excited about it because it gives the people at St. Paul’s a different voice to hear, a different voice that proclaims the same gospel but sort of in a different way that I can’t always do,” he said. “That’s nice for me to be able to have other preachers come in to help them grow spiritually.”

The series is free and Alvey anyone that is interested is welcome to attend.