LENT is set to start in a blaze of colour and fun.
Instead of the traditional pancakes, Belmont and Pittington parishes will take their cue from the more exotic Mardi Gras celebrations held around the world, with a Carnival themed weekend of events planned.
The vicar, Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, said: “Traditionally around the world, Lent as a time of self-denial has been framed by great celebrations before and after, emphasising the contrast of the seasons.
“We wanted to revive this sense of holding celebration and fasting together, and do it in a way that is engaging for young families and those in our neighbourhoods who don’t have a habit of churchgoing.”
The parishes have joined forces with Beaver Scouts for a Carnival Activity Day on Saturday, in St Mary Magdalene Church, Belmont, from 10am to noon.
Miranda said: “It will be like a massive Messy Church event with crafts and activities for all ages from toddlers to teenagers and adults.
“At the end of the morning, the church will be almost unrecognisable.
“Our focus is going to be on bright colours and exuberant decoration, to make a dull February day glow with all the colours of the Rio Carnival.”
Morning service at 9.30am on Sunday will be a joint celebration with sister parish St Laurence Pittington and the Beaver Scouts.
It will continue to feature the carnival theme.
Miranda said: “Expect more crafts, some lively music and well known hymns for a good sing and a fresh look at what some of the traditional elements of the service mean.”