ALL over Australia, people are putting aside their coffees, weekly newspapers and favourite television shows and instead
throwing their energy behind efforts to build water tanks in Zimbabwe.
No, they're not actually travelling to Africa.
People help overcome poverty by giving up an item from everyday life during the period of Lent and donating the cost toward overseas development projects.
At the same time they are encouraged to reflect on their spiritual journey through the use of the Journey Guide, which includes daily prayers and a six week bible study, This One Life.
Worship and children's resources are also available.
Beenleigh Region Uniting Church member Sharon Robinson said members of her church enjoyed taking part in last year's Lent Event.
"We had about 70 people involved in the Bible studies and found them absolutely fabulous.
"We also enjoyed the worship material and our children participated through their Sunday School activities too," she said.
"We found Lent Event helped us understand the importance of being in relationship with partners overseas and helped
prepare us for the relationship we've formally developed with a community in the Solomon Islands.
"It's been a totally life changing experience," said Ms Robinson.
St Paul's Uniting Church in Stafford, Brisbane, took part in a Lent Event Water Walk on 13 November 2011 and are looking
forward to spring boarding into Lent Event 2012.
Congregation member Julie Packer said she had been asked to think about directions for church mission and the next day
received the Lent Event Water Walk information in the mail.
"It seemed to me that God was nudging me straight away in the direction he wanted us to be heading," she said.
"We had about 45 people of all ages involved in the Walk which helped raise money as well as awareness for water projects in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.
"We were able to include all ages in a worship service and I think the event had a big impact on everyone."
Lent Event has raised close to $2 million for water and sanitation, education, health and nutrition projects in countries as
diverse as the Philippines, India and Zimbabwe.
Congregations report that they come away with a better understanding of the issues, and the way the Uniting Church in Australia partners with communities overseas to help alleviate poverty and injustice.
They also say they bond around a common cause, with people of all ages supporting each other as they focus on the needs of others.
Lent begins on 22 February.
To register or to order a study guide contact the UnitingWorld Lent Event office on (02) 9868 2277 or visit www.lentevent.com
Photo : St Paul’s Uniting Church, in Stafford, members take part in a Water Walk. Photo courtesy of Cath Taylor Making an event of Lent