Lent, the  solemn religious observance which covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday begins March 5, Ash Wednesday.

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the Bible beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

First Congregational Church of Tallmadge

Lenten opportunities ... During the Lenten season, First Congregational Church has two options for adults to deepen their faithful journey. On Wednesdays, March 12 through April 9 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., there will be a book discussion led by the Rev. Dr. John Schluep. The focus of the study will be the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, supplemented with the book by John Ortberg, “Who Is This Man: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus.” The cost is $12 per book.  
The second opportunity is “Rest in God: A Lenten Invitation” on Thursdays through April 10 from 6 to 6:30 p.m. A guided contemplation led by the Rev. Matt Wooster will teach and lead the ancient spiritual practices of Contemplative Meditation and Lectio Divina, a Latin phrase meaning “holy reading” of scripture. This opportunity for spiritual practice is designed to open space in people’s lives to listen when God is speaking to them
and within them. The 40 days of Lent are modeled on the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, and the 40 years spent by the Hebrews in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt.
First Congregational Church of Tallmadge is located at 85 Heritage Drive. For more information, call 330-633 4931 or visit tallmadgefcc@sbcglobal.net.

St. Mark Lutheran

St. Mark Lutheran is offering a March 5 -- Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. All Christians are welcome to the dispensing of ashes and beginning the Lenten season.

St. Mark Lutheran Church is located at 158 North Ave. For more information, call 330-633-3718, visit www.stmark-lutheran.org or find the church on Facebook.

Queen of Heaven
A Lenten mission, “Ordinary People and Extraordinary Grace,” will be presented at Queen of Heaven Church, 1800 Steese Road, Green, by the Rev. Gerard Gonda, OSB. The mission will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. for three evenings as follows:
• March 24 — Vespers (evening prayer) with a conference on the power of your words and the willingness to get involved.
• March 25 — Eucharistic adoration with a conference on the power of prayer and sacrifice.
• March 26 — Closing Mass with a conference following on the power of personal example and witness.
For further information, call 330-896-2345.
Ashes will be distributed on Ash Wednesday, March 5, during the following Masses: 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the church, and at 1 p.m. at the Greenview Inn, 4000 Massillon Road.
Lenten dinners will be served Fridays, March 7 through April 11. Carryout or dining room service will be offered from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Dinners will include coffee/tea and sides: fried or baked cod, $9; fried shrimp, $11; cod/shrimp combo, $11; pierogies, pizza or macaroni and cheese, $6; children’s dinner, $5. Other sides include: One piece of baked fish, $4; two pieces of fried fish, $4; one slice cheese pizza, $2; all other sides, $2.  Other beverages and desserts will be available.
Stations-of-the-Cross devotions will be scheduled on Wednesdays during Lent at 9:05 a.m. through April 16 and Fridays at 7 p.m. through April 11.  On Good Friday, Stations of the Cross will be at noon.
The weekday Mass schedule during Lent will be as follows: 8:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday; 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through April 14 and 16, no Mass April 15; Mission closing Mass at 7 p.m. March 26.
An evening of individual confessions has been scheduled for March 12 from 5 to 8 p.m., in coordination with the diocesan-wide celebration of the Sacrament of Penance.

Fish Frys

For those meatless Fridays during Lent, the Yusef-Khan Grotto will host a fish fry March 7 and 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Grotto Hall, 619 Northwest Ave.

The dinner includes "all you can eat" fish, French fries, cole slaw, apple sauce, rolls with butter, beverage and dessert. Chicken tenders are also available but not all you can eat.

The public is invited to attend and tickets are priced at $8.75 each.

Tallmadge churches offering Lenten services and organizations offering fish fries may send information to the Tallmadge Express at tallmadgeexpress@recordpub.com.