Universal Life Church

Stack of PancakesShrove Tuesday occurs every year the day before the season of Lent begins. It can mean different things to different faith communities. For some believers, it is a solemn event that involves confession and being shriven (i.e., forgiven) of their sins. For others, it is a final feast day, sometimes referred to as Fat Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday, wherein all the fat and other decadent food in the pantry is used up so as not to be wasted once the Lenten fast begins the next day.

Some congregations host a pancake supper, gathering to eat together and prepare for the upcoming season. If your church is not meeting in person, or if there are many members that don't live nearby, this may not be a feasible option. That's no reason to just let the day pass by, though. You can host an alternative Shrove Tuesday event.

Progressive Dinner

Depending on the COVID-19 infection rates in your area in mid-February this year, you may decide that it's in everyone's best interest not to gather together at a large indoor event. Instead, consider asking several families to host outside stops in their front yards. Each stop can reveal a different aspect of the event:

  • Coffee and hot chocolate
  • Pancakes and syrup 
  • Breakfast meats
  • Fat Tuesday game
  • Blessing and communion

The invitation to the event should include a description of each stop and a list of guidelines, such as masking and social distancing, that you request that each participant observe. By breaking up the celebration into smaller gatherings, you not only safeguard your congregation from infection but also introduce a creative way to mark the beginning of Lent.

Online Cooking Class

A virtual meeting is a great way for members to fellowship without having to leave their homes. A member of the hospitality team or volunteers who have great pancake or waffle recipes to share can do so simply by taking their laptops into the kitchen. Those in attendance can either cook along with the demonstrations or simply observe. If you email the recipe to everyone beforehand, they don't have to worry about missing something. Rather than just sitting down and talking to each other on Zoom again, this creative approach gives them something to do while talking to each other. It may not be the same as meeting in person, but it can be helpful to those who would be unable or unwilling to get together on the church property.

Community Fundraiser

Shrove Tuesday can also be an opportunity to raise money for a project at the church or for a partner organization in the community. What better way to kick off the Lenten season than collecting funds that will meet the practical needs of those less fortunate? Volunteers can put together a pancake basket that includes the dry goods mix, a bottle of syrup, a small bottle of oil, additions such as chocolate chips or coconut and a recipe. Once you have decided on a price, you can take orders from the congregation and let them know whether you will be delivering the baskets or designating a day when they can pick them up. Be sure to have a shipping option for those who don't live close to the church and clear deadlines for placing orders. Coming together as a community for a themed fundraiser for Fat Tuesday helps members celebrate the occasion while living out their faith.

There are many different ways to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Even if you are not gathering together in person, a little creativity can make the occasion memorable and meaningful. Choosing online options and communicating the details of the event clearly ensures that everyone who wants to participate can do so.

Category: Holidays and Observances Religion Christianity

Catholic holidays and observances food celebrations

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