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Ash Wednesday Week


Fasting from Over-Consumption and Living More Simply

Voluntary simplicity is a growing movement among Christians around the world. As we awaken to the realization that our habitual and daily choices are damaging creation and impoverishing other members of the human family, people of faith are asking: how can we live in a way that is environmentally sustainable and socially just? 

Many people in the United States now believe that our cultural priorities are out of whack. The greed, selfishness and consumer mentality which drive our country are disturbing realities. They crowd out more meaningful values such as family time, community involvement and spiritual fulfillment. Many people would like to get their life back in balance. 

Some people are moving toward a more simple life because it offers greater satisfaction than our high-stressed consumer society. But simplicity is no longer an alternative lifestyle for a few ascetics. In the United States, we require 22.3 acres of the Earth’s resources to sustain our current average lifestyle while only 4.5 acres would be our fair portion. The footprint we leave on the Earth is too big. If we are going to unite ourselves as a human family, it is crucial that people living in affluent nations begin cultivating lifestyles of simplicity and sustainability. We have to move from 22.3 toward 4.5. It won’t happen overnight, but we must take steps in that direction. Lent is a great opportunity to make a start. 

Fasting is a long-established Lenten practice. This website is designed to help focus your Lenten fast by making practical suggestions on ways to give up excessive use of the Earth’s resources. It will enable you to experiment with daily choices that are more environmentally sustainable and socially just – caring for God’s creation and caring for God’s people. 

To learn more about actions you can take, what the church is saying about simplicity of life, and additional resources click on the buttons in the column to the right.



Creator God,
you have blessed our Earth
and made all things good.
You have entrusted to us
a responsibility for your creation
and all its creatures.
Teach us to always use
the things of this Earth
with care, not negligence,
with gratitude, not arrogance,
with simplicity, not excess.
Guide us in the ways of Jesus.

“When you fast, do not look glum as the hypocrites … when you fast, see to it that you groom your hair and wash your face. In that way no one can see you are fasting but your Father who is hidden; and your Father who is hidden will repay you.” – Matthew 6:16
Imagine if the Earth were divided equally among all of us. Each person would receive 4.5 acres. Now imagine that everything you need – food, energy, home, clothing, gadgets – must come from those 4.5 acres. But it takes 22.3 acres to maintain the average American lifestyle.There is a new way of observing Lent that helps us care for God’s creation by taking steps toward using only our fair share of its resources. Moving in the direction of 4.5 is essential for anyone walking in the footsteps of Jesus today.

Our Ministry

Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.

This Week...

Do more than give up chocolate this Lent...

Live simply so that others may simply live.

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