Prayer and fasting
Earlier this year the Methodist Conference called on the Methodist people to dedicate a day of prayer and fasting for the church and our communities. Our Circuit has recommended that churches should look to do this at a time of their choosing around Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd December, at the start of Advent and the new liturgical year.
This year's Presidential theme is 'Day by day' and you can download the booklet on Prayers for a 'Spiritual 5 a day' here or order from Methodist Publishing.
More information and resources can be found on the Methodist website.
It may not be appropriate for you to fast from food, for example for health reasons. It is especially important to be sensitive to those with body image issues and eating disorders, and to consider the message that we send if we make fasting from food the only option.
One idea that has been suggested is to make a 'reverse advent calendar'- get a box or bag- perhaps something like a bottle carrier which is divided into sections- and collect tins and packets for Carecent or a foodbank, one for every day of advent.
You could contact York Foodbank to see what they most need- you can find a list of urgently needed items and drop off points here.
There are other ways you can fast or focus on prayer. What matters is the reason for what you do, rather than the act of fasting itself.
Here are some suggestions:
-Electronic fast: give up looking at the internet or carrying your mobile phone. Fast from social media or checking the news. Maybe give up TV! Spend the time in prayer or reading the Bible instead.
-Money fast: give up spending money, perhaps on items like clothes, sweets, drinks or meals out.
-Time fast: give up an activity and use the time to instead focus on God. Maybe that could even mean cutting back on church meetings.
-Partial fast: instead of giving up food for a whole day, cut out a type of food, e.g. sweets or cake. If you're a meat eater, you could go vegetarian or vegan for a period of time. Or you could try living on the equivalent of the contents of a Foodbank parcel or what someone living on the poverty line could afford. Again, you could donate the money you save to a charity tackling food poverty at home or around the world.