The Great Lent Challenge 2024!

pew runner with swifts

St Mary’s Smeeth in the Stour Downs Parish comes up with a creative and engaging Lent Challenge each year, which in the past has seen people from across the parish take part in cycling to Jerusalem, creating 40 blankets in 40 days and walking on a treadmill from Durham Cathedral to Smeeth and even to Bethlehem and back!

In 2024, walkers completed a total of over 5000 miles to complete the distance some Swifts may fly to come from the Congo to Smeeth Church. On top of this, we carried out over 400 Acts of kindness additional to those which are part of everyday life and completed a cross stitch Pew Runner showing the Swifts over Smeeth Church and the Downs. Over 60 people read the reports on our progress. The Challenge, as every year, was part of Lenten discipline.

The Swifts politely waited for the Runner to be in Church on 12th May to arrive in Smeeth churchyard! The Pew runner will be blessed at the Sunday Pentecost Communion service on the 19th May at Smeeth at 9.30 and will then be in regular use.  

Both accomplished and novice stitchers, from children to octogenarians, contributed to stitching the wonderful image of the Swifts and St Mary’s Smeeth, with a lot of the work completed as part of a weekly “Tuesdays@10” group over coffee, biscuits and chat in the Oak Room Smeeth.

Ecclesiastes 9. v 10  says “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”.