Methodist churches in Lincolnshire inspired by Chief Rabbi Mirvis’s Shabbat UK initiative, have designating a very special Sabbath to coincide with the end of Lent.

The initiative, which this week got the blessing of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, acknowledges the centrality of the Sabbath in Jewish life, with Christian leaders in the county now urging the faithful to “keep the Sabbath holy”.

Currently 145 churches are signed up for the first Sunday in Lent this year, to commemorate the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness, with Methodists across Greater Lincolnshire are being invited to “take the Sabbath seriously”.

Chair of the Lincolnshire Methodist District, the Revd Bruce Thompson, said: “It is often said that Jews haven’t just kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews. Scattered, marginalised and often persecuted, practising Jews have retained an identity despite being a minority community.”

He added: “The Church seems to be losing more influence over the world’s affairs. It is therefore incumbent upon Christians to retain and further develop an identity that will not only create a deeper sense of belonging but also impact positively upon the wider community.”

Mirvis said: “I was delighted to hear of plans for ‘Sabbath Lincolnshire’ and I send my very best wishes to everyone taking part. The inclusion of the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments is an indication of its centrality in our lives. The Sabbath provides an opportunity for us to enter a day when we can ‘see the wood for the trees’.”

He added: “May you derive as much inspiration and fulfilment from this project as we, in the Jewish community, have from ShabbatUK over recent years and may all of your continued endeavours be blessed.”

Methodists in Lincolnshire are invited to refrain from using social media for daylight hours on Sunday 18 February, as well as to avoid shopping, gardening, cleaning and watching TV.