Lent at Riverside

Follow the Leader

The childhood game of “Follow the Leader” invites players to mimic the actions of a designated leader, to watch closely and do what they do in order to win. As disciples of Christ, we, too, are invited to Follow the Leader—to watch and mirror the spiritual practices and commitments of Jesus. While this is not a game we “win,” it is a daily challenge to enter deeper into the heart of worship, community, and prayer. During this Lenten season, we will focus on Following the Leader, as we journey with Jesus on the road of love and justice, on the way from death to new life. In a culture where authority is too often abused and power is misused, let us deepen our commitment to following the Crucified Christ, the One True Authority.

Daily Lent Practice

It’s easy to say, “All things are possible with God” but that doesn’t mean we can just sit back and do nothing while we watch God work miracles on our behalf. We are partners with God. Our part is to believe what God says and do anything God asks us to do to cooperate with God’s plan.

God’s part is to do what we cannot do.

This year during the season of Lent we are offering daily practices of prayer, fasting, and giving. Text Lent to 646-759-2476 to receive them each day on your phone. (You can also tap here on your mobile device or scan the QR code.) Click here to download the complete Daily Lent Practice calendar.

These practices are an invitation to a closer walk with Jesus this Lent. If you engage them intentionally and consistently, you will notice a hunger for more time with Jesus. We are grateful to be on the journey together.


Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00 pm ET • Nave & Online
Ash Wednesday Worship with Rev. Adriene Thorne, preaching

In the season of Lent, we remember that Jesus came to live a human life on earth, with all of the physical, emotional, and intellectual experiences that humans have throughout this life. For our Ash Wednesday service we are invited to connect our spirit, body, mind, and soul to the themes of Lent. We will invite you to engage your with us during worship. If you are joining us online, gather a few items to deepen your Ash Wednesday experience:

• Dirt, dust, or ashes
• Scripture (see below)
• A camera (your phone camera is great!)
• A mandala for coloring (click here to download)
• A scented candle or incense or essential oil
• Fresh or dried herbs
• A warm blanket or piece of clothing that you love

A Multi-sensory Worship Experience

Throughout our Ash Wednesday worship service you will be invited to engage your senses. Follow the prompts below or on screen for prayer and reflection.

Choose a scripture from the list below. Read it slowly. Then walk around your space with a camera and find a small piece of lie to capture in a photograph.

Scripture 1 | Scripture 2 | Scripture 3 | Scripture 4 | Scripture 5 | Scripture 6 | Scripture 7 | Scripture 8 | Scripture 9

Listen to the music during the service and write or draw a response. Color a mandala while you listen or do some meditative doodling.

Light a candle or some incense. Diffuse some essential oil. Or simply inhale the scents of your home, family, pets, and plants.

Take a bit of the herb – basil, thyme, rosemary – and consider these ancient flavors and how they have blessed humans over time. Take a mint and try not to crunch it in your mouth immediately. Consider the wonderful gift of aromatic plants that we use in so many products and food.

Light a candle on behalf of a loved one. Feel the heat of the flame. Appreciate the coziness of a soft blanket, a supportive pillow, or well-worn hoodie.



Lent Worship Schedule

Holy Week

Maundy Thursday

Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 pm ET • Nave & Online

Join us for our Tenebrae service including communion and the Stripping of the Nave, a practice which dates from the seventh century and is done in absolute silence and in an unhurried, orderly fashion. In silence and in shadows, communion vessels and paraments are removed or covered symbolizing the end of Jesus’ time on earth.

What is Maundy Thursday? Click here to learn more.

Good Friday 

Friday, April 7 at 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET • Nave & Online

Join us for our Good Friday service including the Seven Last Words. The service represents the three hours that Jesus suffered while he was dying. This year, seven women congregants will preach homilies based on the Seven Last Words of Jesus.  We invite you to stay for the full service or come and go according to your needs.

Holy Saturday

Saturday, April 8 at 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET • Assembly Hall

Join us in Assembly Hall from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET for an experience walking the prayer labyrinth. This tradition offers a unique opportunity to be present with the reality of this holy and silent Saturday, as we find ourselves balanced between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 9 at 11:00 am ET • Nave & Online

Join us for Easter Sunday at The Riverside Church as we celebrate and practice Resurrection in our lives and in our world. Throughout the season of Lent we hear the invitation to follow the leader, through change and loss, even death, and to resurrection.

Christ is risen. Christ is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

Children, youth, and families are invited to join us in the garden space on Claremont Ave. for a special Easter Egg hunt after worship.

Morning Prayer


Join our Riverside community every morning, Monday through Friday, at 8:00 am ET for a 30 minute morning prayer liturgy. Share your prayer requests and hold our community, neighborhood, nation, and world in prayer.

Click here to register

Lent Bible Study


Join us every Sunday morning at 9:30 am ET in 330 MLK or via Zoom for Open Bible Study as we look at the Sunday scriptures for an interactive hour of discussion. This class is led by various facilitators.

Open Bible Study, as the name suggests, is a series of Sunday morning Bible Study classes open to anyone. People approach the Bible with a variety of feelings ranging from enthusiasm to disinterest depending on their previous experience with Christian education.

Click here to Join

Click here to Download the Lent Open Bible Study Curriculum Handout



Word at Night

Word @ Night is a multi-generational night of learning through Bible trivia and other fun activities. This Lenten edition will focus on the scriptures that describe Jesus’ final journey towards Jerusalem through to His final moments on the cross.

Click here to find out more

What is Lent?

Lent is not a race to Easter, it’s not a countdown to chocolate bunnies. Lent is a journey, and as cliche as it might be, it’s about the journey and not the destination. It’s about being where you are, not where you’re going. Because Easter is coming, whether we’re ready or not. But Lent comes first, inviting us to slow down and place our feet right behind Jesus as we live the only way we can ever live, step by step, day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath.

Join Rev. Jim Keat for this episode of The Word Made Fresh as we explore the season of Lent — What is it? Where did it come from? And why do we practice it today?

Christ and Humanity

One of ten aisle stained glass windows, the Christ and Humanity Window is the second from the back of the nave, in Bay 9 on the east side. Each aisle window is a story that depicts a particular theme. This one, in the Gothic Arch form, tells its story through figures and scenes in three quatrefoils vertically down the center and five semi-circle medallions, with one at the top and two on either side.

The Christ and Humanity Window portrays fifteen scenes in which Christ’s attitudes toward three types of human need or experience are suggested. Five of these scenes concern his attitude toward the rich, five reflect on his contacts with the poor, and five deal with his disposition to alleviate suffering or forgive sin. The scenes are as follows: Supper at Emmaus; Rich Young Ruler; Wedding in Cana – First Miracle; Parable of the Rich Fool; Temptations of Christ (center quatrefoil); Lazarus at the Rich Man’s Door; Parable of the Good Samaritan; Miracle of Loaves and Fishes; Parable of Widow’s Mite; The Sermon on the Mount (center quatrefoil); Parable of Laborers in Vineyard; Ten Lepers Healed – Gratitude of One Healing the Blind Man; “Noli me tangere;” Christ Forgives the Thief on the Cross (center quatrefoil); and Christ Blessing.

In the corners of the border are the temptations of a woman and St. Michael slaying the dragon. In the four small semi-circles are figures of beggars and disabled.