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In this season of Lent, many Christians in liturgical traditions have been meditating on the Stations of the Cross, a series of events — biblical and traditional — depicting the story of Jesus' death.

This year, however, the Episcopal Church is promoting new devotional material for Lent: the Stations of the Millennium Development Goals. The church's Episcopal Relief and Development agency created a liturgy based on the United Nations plan to eliminate extreme poverty and other global ills, and sent e-mail to church leaders encouraging its use "in lieu of the traditional Stations of the Cross service."

Mike Angell of the denomination's Office of Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries designed the stations for a September 2007 young adult conference. While the traditional Stations of the Cross meditation has 14 stations (though this has varied through church history), the Episcopalian Stations of the Millennium Development Goals liturgy has only eight stations, one for each goal.

Station four, on reducing child mortality, reads:

Every three seconds a child under the age of five dies. A disproportionate number of these children live in developing countries, without access to clean water or basic medical care.
For personal reflection and prayer: Lord, help us to love and care for little children—the least of these who are of your family. Protect and heal them with your divine power.

Each station includes "activities and worship experiences for the liturgy." For station four, the church's document suggests, "Provide black and white drawings or outlines of children's faces. Have pilgrims color the faces. While the group is coloring, ring a bell every fifteen seconds to recognize that another child died from a preventable ...

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Stations of the Cross — Without the Cross
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March 2008

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