The parishes of Whitehead and Islandmagee have presented cheques to a number of charities after another series of successful Lenten Lunches.
The parishes, north of Carrickfergus, have for a number of years been holding a series of lunches on Wednesdays during Lent. These were originally organised in a bid to reduce the debt from a major building refurbishment programme.
The Rector, the Rev Mark Taylor, said that Lent Lunches were not a new idea, but were something the parishes felt they could work with. He takes up the story: “To those who know about these things it was a bit of a surprise. During the penitential season of Lent it is expected that Godly souls will, in remembrance of Our Lord's fasting in the wilderness, be abstemious in all things.
“So imagine the idea of a simple soup and bread lunch (in the proper Lenten tradition of watery soup and stale bread – just so that we know we are fasting!).
“'Come to the Parochial Hall in Whitehead for the good of your soul!' was our thought.”
Instead of watery soup and stale bread, the churches offered a variety of good wholesome soup accompanied either by fresh wheaten bread, a roll or a filled roll. This was followed by a choice of deserts. Home made luxurious Blueberry cheesecake, apple tart, rhubarb crumble, pavlova, banoffee and all with a choice of cream or custard and polished of with tea or coffee with fresh homemade shortbread.
The hall was filled week after week, with people also placing orders for delivery or collection.
In the first year it was decided that a tithe should be given away to a variety of charities, and as the years progressed and the attendance increased it was felt that a larger amount should be given to charities.
This year it was rounded up to £100 per charity, with a different charity being favoured each week. This year the charities CMS Ireland; the RNLI; NI Leukaemia Research Fund; NI Hospice; the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association; Cancer Research and Summer Madness all benefited.
There was also a stall run during the Lenten Lunches by Mrs Mary Wilson selling a variety of things and she was able to present a cheque for £1,242.47 to Chris Hackworth and Alex Dance to help fund a Mission Experience Team Abroad project with CMS Ireland to Kenya this summer.
The cheques were presented to the charities with many thanks to the intrepid band of volunteers who made it all possible.