Ecumenical Lenten lunches set in Montevallo

By NANCY WILSTACH / Community Columnist

The Montevallo Area Ministerial Association once again is sponsoring its community Lenten services, beginning at noon March 1 with an Ash Wednesday service and simple luncheon at First United Methodist Church.

The program started about a decade ago and represents cooperation among Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian and Episcopal congregations in Montevallo.

Montevallo’s First United Methodist Church will host Lenten luncheon services with participation by Ministerial Association members. (Contributed)

Each Wednesday during Lent one of those pastors will deliver a message, and volunteers from his or her congregation will provide a simple soup and salad lunch. The Methodists add tea and a dessert, said Nancy Simmer, Methodist secretary.

The Christian season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, traditionally a day of fast and abstinence. In keeping with that tradition the Ash Wednesday fare will be a salad and a meatless soup provided by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Tyler Richards, the St. Andrew’s priest, will bring the Ash Wednesday message, followed by the distribution of ashes, traditionally marked as a cross on each penitent’s forehead. Luncheon will follow the service.

The Rev. Lawton Higgs Jr., president of the Montevallo Area Ministerial Association, is the pastor of the First United Methodist Church. He stressed that the Lenten programs are open to all members of the community, regardless of religious affiliation.

The Rev. Raymond Dunmyer, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and secretary of the ministerial association, said the luncheon will precede the services at the remaining six Wednesday Lenten services. In each case, he said, the meal will be simple fare.

The Lenten speaker schedule is as follows:

-Ash Wednesday, the Rev. Tyler Richards, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

-March 8, the Rev. Leanne Pearce Reed, Montevallo Presbyterian Church.

-March 15, the Rev. Raymond Dunmyer, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.

-March 22, the Rev. Daniel Stallings, University Baptist Church.

-March 29, the Rev. Terry Sutton, Montevallo First Baptist Church.

-April 5, the Rev. Brandon Hudson, Cross Creek Baptist Church.

-April 12, the Rev. Kenneth Dukes, Holly Grove Baptist Church.

All of the Wednesday luncheon services will be at the First United Methodist Church at 861 Middle St. Each lunch is $3.

The Montevallo Area Ministerial Association’s churches also band together for a Palm Sunday program on April 9. The program starts with a 9 a.m. breakfast at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church followed by a blessing of the palms and a procession down Main Street.  St. Andrew’s is located at the corner of Oak and Plowman streets.

Easter marks the end of the Lenten season, and the ministerial group also joins together for an ecumenical sunrise celebration. The sunrise service is at 6:30 a.m. at University Baptist Church with the Rev. John Harris preaching. A continental breakfast follows the service.  University Baptist Church is at the corner of Shoshone and Overland Road.

Anyone with questions about the Lenten program may call the First United Methodist Church office at (205) 665-7535.