Lent Madness Lenten Series 2014

What does the Fox say about Lent Madness? Click here to find out!

Photo: What does Fox News say about Lent Madness? Well, a few things in this story that's been airing around the country the last 24 hours. http://www.myfoxboston.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9951808

LM_Widget_HLeader’s Guide

Introduction to the Lent Madness Curriculum

Francis Perkins, Golden Halo 2013

Francis Perkins, Winner of 2013 Golden Halo

Welcome to the Lent Madness adult education curriculum! We’re excited you’re joining us for this unique Lenten devotion and believe engaging Lent Madness in a group setting is a terrific way to build offline Christian community. Lent Madness itself is a fun and innovative way to learn about and glory in the saints — those heroic men and women that have come before us in the faith. Saints aren’t perfect; they were human after all. But each one of them followed the risen Christ in a special way and Lent is the perfect season to be drawn into their lives and be inspired by their faithful example.

Created by an Episcopal priest, Lent Madness is a competitive bracket (think of basketball’s March Madness) that gives people the chance to vote for their favorite saints throughout the season of Lent while learning a lot along the way.

The format is straightforward: 32 saints are placed into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. Each pairing remains open for a set period of time (usually 24 hours) and people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.

The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.

Lent Madness has evolved from its humble beginnings on founder Tim Schenck’s blog, Clergy Family Confidential in 2010 to become one of the most popular online devotions in the world.

St. Mary Magdalene, winner of 2012 Golden Halo

St. Mary Magdalene, winner of 2012 Golden Halo

In 2012 Tim partnered with Forward Movement Executive Director Scott Gunn to create a dedicated website and broaden the number of people involved in the selection and writing process. And it worked!  Lent Madness really took off with articles about it in such august publications as the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated (seriously).

As Lent Madness continues to grow and evolve, what won’t change is the essence of Lent Madness: allowing people to get to know some amazing people who have come before us in the faith and reminding one another that there’s no reason for a dreary Lenten discipline. If this helps people connect with the risen Christ during this season of penitence and renewal, and have a bit of fun in the process, then it continues to be worthwhile.

New for this year is THE SAINTLY SCORECARD: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2014. Available at the Lentorium: www.LentMadness.org/Store or 1-800-543-1813, this paperback guide provides biographies of the saints in the 2014 bracket. There is also a glossary of Lent Madness terms; have you ever wondered what a “Clairvoyatron” is? Now you can look it up!

Like Lent Madness, this Lenten Series is intended to be lively, fun, and allow time for conversation, learning, and debate. It is also meant to be flexible enough to leave room for your own creativity.

1.     Time / Number of Sessions

  • The Lent Madness Lenten Series is designed to be given in five weekly sessions.
  • Each session is designed to be 1 to 1 ½ hours of program.

2.     Technical requirements

  • As Lent Madness is online, it would be ideal to be able to project some of the video, etc. from the website (which would require a projector, screen, computer, and internet access.)
  • However, the class material included here will work without internet access. For a small group, it would also be possible to have people sit near enough to a single computer screen to see the material, if no projector is available.

3.     Materials

  • Each class is a series of Slides in a pdf format.
  • A Lent Madness bracket poster (36×24 inches–perfect for keeping track of the winners of each round, and ideal for the bulletin board in your parish hall).
  • Access to at least one copy of THE SAINTLY SCORECARD which includes all of the 2014 Lent Madness saints along with those on the official Episcopal Church calendar for reference when filling out the brackets at the beginning of Lent.
  • Stars in a dark worldTHE OFFICIAL BOOK OF SAINTS. This year Lent Madness partnered with the Order of Julian of Norwich to make their fantastic book of hagiographies (fancy word meaning “saintly write-ups”) available to the Lent Madness faithful.Stars in a Dark World, by Fr. John-Julian, OJN, is the most comprehensive and detailed collection of the biographies of the saints and background information about the holy days of the Episcopal liturgy available today. This 700-page book is the result of over seven years of research and study, and covers all liturgical commemorations approved for use through 2006. You can buy it in print, Kindle, Nook, or iTunes. The massive book is $30 or $9.99 in ebook form.
  • Lent Madness mugs, and lots and lots of high quality coffee (sold separately).
  • Additional conversational fodder will be generated every day with the blog posts and comments for each matchup at http://www.lentmadness.org.
  • Books, Mugs, and Bracket posters available at www.LentMadness.org/store

Handouts:

  • Who Am I? An activity for people to match five descriptions with the saints, a different one for each week
  • Hymn handout (Session Two)

How to “Win” Lent!

Many parishes like to foster competition among their congregants by encouraging people to fill out brackets beforehand in order to crown their own champion. We, of course, think this is a fabulous idea. Here’s a step-by-step guide to whipping your parish into a Lent Madness frenzy. But first, don’t forget to order the poster-sized Lent Madness bracket to post in your parish hall (or prop up in front of your altar throughout Lent).

1. Pick up a blank 2014 bracket from the parish office (you can either order them on fancy card stock from Forward Movement or print them off the Lent Madness website at www.lentmadness.org).

2. Fill it out with your picks (be sure to put your name on top!) and submit it either to the parish office or the official parish Lent Madness Coordinator.

3. Encourage an optional donation per filled-out bracket with the money going to a particular charity supported by the parish (Episcopal Relief & Development is always a great choice).

4. Use a simple point system to decide the winner. Here’s one method: To strike a balance between correctly picking early rounds and correctly guessing the winner, award 2 points for first round picks, 3 for second round picks, then 5, 8, and 13. This gives a total of 105 possible points, and the possible points from each round are 32, 24, 20, 16, and 13.

5. Unless you have a CPA in your parish to total things up, your Lent Madness Coordinator (you do have one don’t you?) can do this and declare a winner after the Golden Halo is awarded.

6. To further entice participation, you may want to offer a prize to the winner. It could be a devotional book published by Forward Movement (to make Scott happy), a Lent Madness mug, or the winner could determine which charity gets the bracket donations. Or he/she could be allowed to preach on Easter Sunday.

It’s that easy!

Click on the links below to download the first pdf and  handout

Lent Madness—Session 1 Leader’s GuideLM_Widget_V

1 Lent Madness Lenten Series 2014-Session 1

1 Who am I 2014

Slide 1—Prayer of Thanksgiving

Begin with prayer

Slide 2— What is a Saint? Who is a Saint? 

Activity 1 (5 minutes)

  • Divide class into groups
  • Ask people to come up with a definition for “What is a Saint?”
  • Bring them together and ask them to share their definitions.
  • If needed, share the definition below (or refer back to the first slide for a description of kinds of saints):

What is a Saint? Who is a Saint? 

A Saint is someone who, during their lifetime, was an extraordinary, even heroic servant of God, and of God’s people.  He or she is an example of Christian discipleship. (There are various church traditions concerning how a person is recognized as a Saint, some require proof of miracles attributed to the saint and some don’t.) 

Weekly Icebreaker (5 minutes)

  • Who am I?—Handout.
  • Ask participants to match description to each of 4 saints.
  • (Optional) Can trade sheets to score, keep track of score over the coming weeks and reward top scorer(s) with a Lent Madness mug.
  • Answer key: 1c. 2b. 3d. 4a

Slide 3— What is Lent Madness?

What do George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magdalene and Frances Perkins have in common? Each has won the Lent Madness Golden Halo!

This Lenten series will be a funny, competitive, multi-round adventure in learning about the saints: their lives, their quirks, and the kitsch that attaches to their holy legacies.

Beginning the day after Ash Wednesday, and continuing every weekday until Spy Wednesday (the Wednesday of Holy Week), you will have the chance to vote in a match-up between two saints.  All of this happens online at Lent Madness.  Participants can also add their comments to the conversation and community that builds during the competition.  This series is an introduction to Lent Madness, and a forum for people to participate in the contests and learn more about the saints.  Think of it as a light-hearted devotional practice!

Slide 4—How to Begin

Go to Lent Madness. Sign up for emails for each weekday competition (or visit the site every weekday to vote). You can follow on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Have each participant fill out a bracket—and each week you can keep track of who has earned the most points for picking the winners.

With the help of the Saintly Scorecard (available from Forward Movement, on paper or by download, see notes for Slide 6) people begin by filling out a bracket at the beginning of the competition (uh, Lent) with your picks to win, all the way to the winner of the Golden Halo.  Make a donation ($5, $10 all funds to be given to charity) and submit a copy to your “coach.”  The winner gets bragging rights (and maybe even a Lent Madness mug).

Discussion question

  • Has anyone followed/voted in Lent Madness before?
  • What were some of the hotly contested battles?

Slide 5—Who’s behind it?

  • The Rev. Tim Schenck (founder, Episcopal Priest, Rector of St. John the Evangelist church in Hingham, Ma)
  • The Rev. Scott Gunn (Episcopal Priest, Executive Director of Forward Movement)

saintly scorecard

Slide 6—The Book

  • The Saintly Scorecard!
  • It’s  for Kindle or Nook. (See the Lent Madness website under “store”.)

Slide 7—The Mug

  • Shop at the Lent Madness store. Buy one for yourself. Get a couple for your friends. Oh, and then maybe order a set for everyone on your street.

Slide 8—The Bracket

Heavy hitters listed on the slide.  Who has those favored to win in their bracket?

Discussion Questions:  Week in Review: (10-15 minutes)

  • Who did you vote for?
  • Did anything bother you about the voting?
  • Were there any interesting comments online?

Activity: Pick your battle (15 minutes)

  • Choose a battle for the upcoming week
  • Break up into two groups, and have each group pick a side in the contest.
  • Argue for upcoming contests.  Have a lively debate.

Slides 9, 10 & 11—Past Winners and Media Hype

  • More background about Lent Madness if time permits

Click on the links below to download the pdf and  handout

Lent Madness—Session 2 Leader’s Guide: Biblical Saints

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2 Lent Madness Lenten Series 2014-Session 2

2 Who am I 2014

Bonus Hymn-For all the lent madness saints

Slide 1—Common of a Saint

Begin with prayer

Slide 2— Weekly Icebreaker 

Weekly Icebreaker (5 minutes)

  • Who am I?—Handout.
  • Ask participants to match description to each of 4 saints.
  • (Optional) Can trade sheets to score, keep track of score over the coming weeks and reward top scorer(s) with a Lent Madness mug.
  • Answer key: 1d, 2c, 3a, 4b

Slide 3— What is a Biblical Saint?

Discussion Questions:

  •  What is a Biblical Saint? [A saintly person mentioned in the Bible]

The saints on the slide are the Biblical Saints from the 2013 bracket.

  •  Who is your favorite Biblical Saint?

Slides 4, 5 & 6 —Introduction of three Biblical Saints

Slide 7What’s the score?

Discussion question–week in review (10-15 minutes)

  • Who did you vote for? Why?
  • What did you think of the results?
  • What did you think of the online comments?

Slide 8Pick your battle

Activity: Pick your battle (15 minutes)

  • Choose a battle for the upcoming week
  • Break up into two groups, and have each group pick a side in the contest.
  • Argue for upcoming contests.  Have a lively debate.

Slide 9Write a verse (15 minutes)

  • Handout: Activity: Write Hymn Verses to the tune of “When the Saints go marching in” about a saintly contender for the Golden Halo.

         Start working on funny verse(s)

Slide 10—Plan your own video

         In upcoming weeks you might create a Music Video featuring your original verses.

Slide 11—The Mug

  • Shop at our Lent Madness store. Buy one for yourself. Get a couple for your friends. Oh, and then maybe order a set for everyone on your street.

Click on the links below to download the pdf and  handout

Lent Madness—Session 3 Leader’s Guide: Ecclesiastical Saints

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3 Lent Madness Lenten Series 2014-Session 3

3 Who am I 2014

Slide 1—Common of a Saint

Begin with prayer

Slide 2— Weekly Icebreaker 

Weekly Icebreaker (5 minutes)

  • Who am I?—Handout.
  • Ask participants to match description to each of 4 saints.
  • (Optional) Can trade sheets to score, keep track of score over the coming weeks and reward top scorer(s) with a Lent Madness mug.
  • Answer key: 1a, 2b, 3d, 4c

Slides 3, 4 & 5— What is an Ecclesiastical Saint?

Discussion Questions:

  • What is an Ecclesiastical Saint? [A saintly person who was important in the life of the Church]

The saints on the slide are the Ecclesiastical Saints from the 2013 bracket.

  • Who is your favorite Ecclesiastical Saint?

Slides 6, 7 & 8—Introductions of 3 Ecclesiastical Saints

Slide 9What’s the score?

Discussion question–week in review (10-15 minutes)

  • Who did you vote for? Why?
  • What did you think of the results?
  • What did you think of the online comments?

Slide 10Pick your battle

Activity: Pick your battle (15 minutes)

  • Choose a battle for the upcoming week
  • Break up into two groups, and have each group pick a side in the contest.
  • Argue for upcoming contests.  Have a lively debate.

Slide 11Write a verse (and create a music video) (15 minutes)

  • Handout: “When the Saints Go Marching In” Activity: Write Hymn Verses about a saint.

         Start working on funny verse(s)

         (In upcoming weeks you might create a Music Video)

Slide 12—The Mug

  • Shop at the Lent Madness store. Buy one for yourself. Get a couple for your friends. Oh, and then maybe order a set for everyone on your street.

Click on the links below to download the pdf and  handout

Lent Madness—Session 4 Leader’s Guide: Modern Saints

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4 Lent Madness Lenten Series 2014-Session 4

4 Who am I 2014

Slide 1—Common of a Saint

Begin with prayer

Slide 2— Weekly Icebreaker 

Weekly Icebreaker (5 minutes)

  • Who am I?—Handout.
  • Ask participants to match description to each of 4 saints.
  • (Optional) Can trade sheets to score, keep track of score over the coming weeks and reward top scorer(s) with a Lent Madness mug.
  • Answer key: 1d, 2b, 3a, 4c.

Slides 3, 4 & 5— What is a Modern Saint?

Discussion Questions:

  • What is a Modern Saint? [A saintly person who lived in modern times.]

The saints on the slide are the Modern Saints from the 2013 bracket.

  • Who is your favorite Modern Saint?

Slides 6, 7 & 8—Quotes from 3 Modern Saints

Slide 9What’s the score?

Discussion question–week in review (10-15 minutes)

  • Who did you vote for? Why?
  • What did you think of the results?
  • What did you think of the online comments?

Slide 10Pick your battle

Activity: Pick your battle (15 minutes)

  • Choose a battle for the upcoming week
  • Break up into two groups, and have each group pick a side in the contest.
  • Argue for upcoming contests.  Have a lively debate.

Slide 11Write a verse (and create a music video) (15 minutes)

  • Handout: Hymn 232 Activity: Write Hymn Verses about a saint.

         Start working on funny verse(s) for Hymn 232

         (In upcoming weeks you might   create Music Video)

Slide 12—The Mug

  • Shop at the Lent Madness store. Buy one for yourself. Get a couple for your friends. Oh, and then maybe order a set for everyone on your street.

friends. Oh, and then maybe order a set for everyone on your street.

Click on the links below to download the pdf and  handout

Lent Madness—Session 5 Leader’s Guide: Elate 8 Saints

Note: This final week doesn’t offer informational content.  It is just a structure to contain what we hope will be a lively conversation about everything that has gone on in Lent Madness so far–the comments and controversies, heart-break and triumph. As we say–it is madness trying to choose one saint over another, but it gives us a chance to spend time with those who inspire us in our spiritual lives. Please let us know about your experience with this curriculum–what worked, what didn’t, what you added, and what you suggest for next year. Thank you!

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5 Lent Madness Lenten Series 2014-Session 5

5 Who am I 2014

Slide 1—Common of a Saint

Begin with prayer

Slide 2— Weekly Icebreaker 

Weekly Icebreaker (5 minutes)

  • Who am I?—Handout.
  • Ask participants to match description to each of 4 saints.
  • (Optional) Can trade sheets to score, keep track of score over the coming weeks and reward top scorer(s) with a Lent Madness mug.
  • Answer key: 1d, 2b, 3c, 4a.

Slide 3What’s the score?

Discussion question–week in review (10-15 minutes)

  • Who did you vote for? Why?
  • What did you think of the results?
  • What did you think of the online comments?

Slide 4–Brackets on parade

  • Who has the best bracket so far?
  • What were the bracket-busting battles?

Slide 10Pick your battle

Activity: Pick your battle (15 minutes)

  • Choose a battle for the upcoming week
  • Break up into two groups, and have each group pick a side in the contest.
  • Argue for upcoming contests.  Have a lively debate.

Slide 11Write a verse (and create a music video) (15 minutes)

  • Handout: Hymn 232 Activity: Write Hymn Verses about a saint.

        Have you sent in a video yet? Have you seen other videos?

Slide 12—The Mug

  • Shop at the Lent Madness store. Buy one for yourself. Get a couple for your friends. Oh, and then maybe order a set for everyone on your street.

3 thoughts on “Lent Madness Lenten Series 2014

  1. When and how do we vote? I am confused as to when the voting begins. Do you have a start date. I am new to this. Sorry

    • Hi Brenda,
      If you go to http://www.lentmadness.org and enter your email address in the window near the upper right of the homepage, you will receive an email every weekday which will invite you to vote. You can also go to the webpage daily to vote. The Madness begins on the first day of Lent, which is Thursday, March 6–the day after Ash Wednesday. It will be great!
      Blessings,
      Anne+

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