A couple of years ago they tried to brighten up the annual fast (is it even that any more?) by organising clean, inoffensive comedy nights ("The Laughing Sole"), and encouraging people to get involved through modern methods like texting and Facebook. Last year, one of the organisers' suggestions for really getting in touch with the 40 days and 40 nights was "Cooking or eating cuisine you haven’t tried before", thereby seemingly defeating the point of Lent entirely, and that was followed by a bunch of bishops and vicars shining people's shoes on the streets.
So what's in store for this year? Well, it seems the big idea is for people to convert sections of their houses into "prayer dens". And if that doesn't sound appealing enough in itself, you'll really be raring to go when you've read the suggestions for where in the house this should be:
"A corner of one room; an understairs cupboard (it has been tried!); a shelf; a corner of a shed or garage; or make a 'prayer den', using furniture and blankets!"That's right. Get into Lent this year by squeezing into your understairs cupboard and saying a few prayers. And, as Christina Martin pointed out when she sent me this story, just imagine getting the estate agent's tour when the house is sold: "Two bedrooms, en suite bathroom, south facing aspect…oh and a prayer room under the stairs".
I mean, I'm no Christian, but I preferred Lent when it was a period of self-deprivation leading up to a nice healthy round of flagellation.