Let’s “take on” rather than “give up” something for Lent!

Jesus left Peter with the mandate to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17), so the Cathedral wants to feed your heart and mind this Lenten season. We invite you to commit to journeying with us from Ash Wednesday to Easter Morning as we “take on” Lent.

2023 Program Highlights

Presented by the Cathedral College of Faith & Culture, Take On Lent features five weeks of Tuesday night dinners and classes* from February 28–March 28. Begin each Tuesday with Evensong, followed by libations and dinner in Bethlehem Chapel, and finished with your choice of classes (*please note one class meets instead for three Sundays in March – see details).

This year’s offerings feature a crash course for Episcopal seekers and inquirers; an examination of the theology of Lent through scripture, liturgy, art, and poetry, and how they move us from reflecting on our mortality to fully embracing our lives; a musical journey from Cross to Crown with the Cathedral’s Music Office; and in-depth examination of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon preached at the Cathedral in 1968: “Remaining Awake, Through a Great Revolution” (Sundays in March).

Tuesday Schedule, Feb 28–March 28

5:30 pm: Choral Evensong
6:15 pm: Dinner & libations in Bethlehem Chapel
7:00 pm: In-person classes begin
7:15 pm: Zoom classes begin


Learn more about the classes below, or register now!

2023 Course Offerings

This class is designed for the curious: people who are new to The Episcopal Church, new to the Cathedral, interested in baptism, confirmation, reception from a different faith tradition, or simply eager to study with a new community. Newcomers and regulars alike will explore this essential question: what might it mean to join this Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement?

The five sessions will cover our Anglican roots and theology, surveys of the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Common Prayer and our sacramental life together, and finally an instructional Eucharist that will explain how and why we worship the way we do.


In-person: Cathedral Library

Engage in a five-week series that examines the theology of Lent. Consider how scripture, liturgy, art, and poetry move us from reflecting on our mortality to fully embracing our lives. Lent is about life. Each session will be 1 hour and 15 minutes and will be offered in-person (North Tower Conference Room, 4th Floor) and on-line through Zoom. NOTE: This class is limited to 30 participants and is at capacity.


In-person: Northwest Tower Conference Room, 4th Floor; online via Zoom


The Rev. Carla Thompson is an Episcopal priest who presently serves as Hospice Chaplain for Capital Caring at Sibley Hospital. Previous careers include work with the State Department Intelligence Services, and as a police officer for 10 years, with expertise in hostage negotiations, EOD, and homicide investigations. Last year Carla led the Via Media retreat for the 40-50s of the Cathedral Congregation, and she co-facilitated The Book of Joy discussion for Take on Lent.

Dr. Jayne Osgood is an Episcopalian, educator, facilitator, and consultant. She has her PhD from the University of Virginia, but is now back in school as a student at EDS@Union in its Anglicanism and Social Justice program. Jayne is known in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Washington for her work with Sacred Ground and racial justice. Last year she co-facilitated The Book of Joy discussion for Take on Lent.

Join the Cathedral’s Music Department as it journeys musically from Cross to Crown. Topical sessions will include varying department facilitators each week.


In-person: Bethlehem Chapel

week one

“The Journey Begins” with facilitator Canon Michael McCarthy

As we begin our journey of Lent we travel with a song on our hearts and lips. This evening’s program explores the Lenten journey across the centuries from that very first Holy Week to today. A musical tapestry of extraordinary breadth and depth that takes us to the foot of the cross and beyond.

week two

“He Who Sings Prays Twice” with facilitator Julie DeBoer

St Augustine said, “he who sings prays twice.” This evening Julie DeBoer will provide opportunity for you to learn better how to pray twice. As a distinguished singer and educator, Julie will prepare you vocally for our journey to Jerusalem.

week three

“A Song of Love Unknown” with facilitator Tom Sheehan

The Episcopal Church relies on two primary resources for congregational worship, the 1982 Hymnal and LEVAS II (Lift Every Voice and Sing). This evening Tom Sheehan will talk about the riches of the 1982 hymnal, its deeply traditional roots and evolution which inspires new tunes and new texts for worship in the modern day.

week four

“Laetare Tuesday” with facilitator Michele Fowlin

The fourth Sunday in Lent is known as Laetare Sunday, a brief pause in the Lenten journey intended as a day of rejoicing, a small oasis in the vast desert. This evening Michele Fowlin will further our exploration of hymnody from the perspective of the African American tradition and how it is inspiring and shaping the worship of the church.

week five

“Jerusalem in Sight” with facilitator Canon Michael McCarthy

At journey’s end we find ourselves on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The followers of Jesus, their messiah, are excited to spread the good news of salvation only to find hope tortured and love nailed to a cross. This evening we will take our final steps of Lent and prepare the Holy Week sojourn. We will examine the music that will adorn our Holy Week liturgies and illumine the path to resurrection life.

Note: this course meets Sundays at 1 pm. 

Dr. King preached his final Sunday Sermon at the Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968, entitled, “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.” Its importance and its themes were a call to the Cathedral and the Nation to address the challenges of the day.

The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr. facilitates this series, focusing on a review of the sermon and discussion of its themes will allow for reflection and a renewed call to action to live out our faith in these challenging times. Why does it seem he could preach that sermon today? The sermon will be discussed over three sessions guided by Dr. King’s three major points of action.


Sunday, March 5, 12, and 26 • 1 pm


In-person: Cathedral Library; Online via Zoom

Required Reading/Listening

Dr. King’s Sermon via YouTube
Transcript of Sermon