The Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev Canon Rachel Firth, has an invitation for the people of Huddersfield. Here she explains how Huddersfield Parish Church is preparing for Lent.

On Tuesday March 1 there is a Pancake Party at Huddersfield Parish Church. From 4.30pm-6pm in our crypt community room we will be serving one of the best puddings in the world with all the best toppings.

Savoury or sweet, there will be something for everyone. All ages are welcome. There’s no charge – it’s a ‘donate as you feel’ event.

For us in the church Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day marks the day before Lent. Traditionally people would have used up any of the good stuff that was still left after the winter before it wasted.

This was also part of getting ready for Lent, a time for thinking about living a better life as Christians look towards the great celebration of Easter.

Also on Tuesday March 1 Huddersfield Parish Church will be open for Prayers for Ukraine from 6pm to 7pm.

This is not a formal service but a space to light a candle and to spend some time in the peace and tranquillity of our town’s beautiful parish church.

Places like the parish church represent our desire to pull together as communities when we have something to celebrate but also when we have something to lament.

People have been asking what is the point of praying now there is a war? The answer for people of faith is that when we pray we make the space for God to show us the way forward – to show us how to act.

Prayer changes us, and we can change the world. We’re opening the church at this specific time because it has been requested by the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, and by the people of the Anglican churches in Kyiv who have asked us to pray with them.

We are open 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday in addition to our weekend services and people can come in at any time. Everyone is welcome, people of all faiths and none.

Ashes to Go – Wednesday March 2 is Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent in the Christian tradition.

As well as all the services you’d expect local churches to be having on this day, the community at Huddersfield Parish Church are taking to the streets of our town centre and offering ‘Ashes to Go.’

This is something that will be happening in town centres across the country, and it gives folk the chance to connect with something in the midst of the business of life that they might not otherwise get the chance to.

Rev Rachel and Rev Amanda will be offering simple prayers and giving people the chance to be ‘ashed’ – marked with a sign of the cross on their forehead.

This simple sign is meant to show our intent to turn away from the bad things humans do to eachother, and to turn towards our neighbours and show them love.

The bad things that humans do to eachother are on our news every minute of the day, and it’s important to think about turning our hearts towards goodness so that we can make the world a better place than what we see. Ashes To Go – Taking Church to the Streets

Lent Life – Conversations for our Town – as part of our faith community’s offering to our town in Lent this year Huddersfield Parish Church is hosting a series of panel discussions about issues that are close to our hearts and that we know are close to the hearts of all the communities who make Huddersfield what it is.

Each event will have a panel of speakers from organisations in Huddersfield who will kick things off by sharing their personal view on the topic for discussion.

The panels will then take questions from the audience, and each event will end with refreshments and less formal conversation.

With speakers from the University of Huddersfield, The Mission, Friends of the Earth, faith and belief groups, the Court Chaplaincy Service, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Greenhead College and more we hope that lots of people will want to come along and listen and join in the conversation.

The events are: March 15 – Environment; March 22 – Inclusion; March 29 – Huddersfield and April 5 – Poverty & Justice.