General News

Lent and Easter at Fifth Avenue

A new sermon series, the Duruflé Requiem and other opportunities for a meaningful Lenten season.

Tattoo: Faith’s Essential Vocabulary

This year, the Lenten sermon series will focus on some of Christianity’s most important—and challenging—words. Tattoo: Faith’s Essential Vocabulary will address atonement, sin, glory, epiphany and other tenets of the faith.

“We are born into a sea of words. And slowly, we learn to swim. We string words together to tell others (and ourselves) who we are and what we believe,” Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston says. “We are going to talk about how the faithful have used, and sometimes abused, some of the most precious words of our tradition.”

How do these words help us understand God? What would happen if these words were tattooed on our hearts—if these words were the lens through which we view the world?

The sermon series begins on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22) and continues through Easter. You’ll find details on our worship calendar.

Frederick Buechner: Tattoo Artist

This past summer, the Christian faith lost one of its greatest expositors—Frederick Buechner. A native New Yorker, Buechner was a Presbyterian pastor, a preacher, a professor, a novelist, an essayist, a poet and a memoirist. The author of 39 books, he was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Throughout Lent, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church will pay tribute to Buechner by drawing on his wisdom. His words will offer insight into the lessons of the Lenten sermon series, Tattoo: Faith’s Essential Vocabulary.

“Buechner was known as a preacher to preachers,” Scott says. “You could always rely on him for an illuminating story or evocative image that would crystallize a core truth. What better person to help us flesh out this series?”

Frederick Buechner: Tattoo Artist, sponsored by the Arts & Our Faith Committee, will be on view in the Chesnut Gallery from Feb. 19 through Easter. You can also view the exhibit online at

Duruflé Requiem: The Lenten Concert

A work of tremendous beauty and spiritual depth, Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem is a pinnacle of 20th-century choral music. An orchestra joins the Fifth Avenue Chamber Choir for the Lenten concert, which also features From Darkness to Light, a striking cantata by the celebrated Canadian composer Ruth Watson Henderson.

The concert will be presented on two nights—Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, at 7 pm in Kirkland Chapel. Saturday’s performance also will be available on livestream. Tickets are available here.

2023 Lenten Devotional

Once again the pastors, officers and staff of Fifth Avenue have compiled words of Scripture, reflections, prayers and poetry for the 40 days of Lent. Keep the Lenten Devotional at your bedside, or receive the daily reflections every morning in your email. Copies are available at both entrances of the church. To receive the reflections by email, write to us at

You may also download the devotional here.

Community Groups

If you are not part of a community group, Lent might be a great time to start. Read about all the groups welcoming new members on our community groups page, where you will find the enrollment form. Or reach out to Ashley Gonzalez, director of engagement (

A new community group will meet for six weeks during Lent. The Sandwich Generation will gather online to swap wisdom and practical tips for raising families and caring for aging parents and relatives at the same time. Jama Toung will lead the conversation on Thursday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, beginning March 2. Sign up here.

Spiritual Practice

Sunday March 19: Lenten Labyrinths
Spiritual practitioners of many traditions employ the labyrinth as a tool for contemplation, personal transformation and emotional well-being. Join us as we explore a variety of labyrinths—the walking labyrinth, finger labyrinths and more. Come for a time of reflection, prayer and learning, led by Jaime Staehle, director of Christian education. We will gather in Jones Auditorium at 12:30 pm. Refreshments will be served.

Palm Sunday, April 2: Interactive Stations of the Cross
On the evening of Palm Sunday, we will gather online for a meaningful time of prayer and reflection as we enter Holy Week. We will explore 15 Stations of the Cross (marking Jesus’ walk to Calvary) through visual art, music, Scripture and prayer. This program will be led on Zoom by Jaime Staehle, director of Christian education. Register here.