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You may have heard of March Madness; this year we celebrated Lent Madness! Our 2023 Lent Theme was "Encountering Jesus" and we set up a fun tournament bringing together a bunch of stories from the bible about people who encountered Jesus.

We started with 32 stories. Each week there was an opportunity to vote as we narrowed the options down to 16 then 8 then 4, and finally 2 stories.

And the winner is... Mary Magdalene!

Mary Magdalene, who (despite the rumours that date back to 591 and a sermon preached by Pope Gregory 1) was not a prostitute, was one of Jesus's disciples. She was healed by Jesus. (Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9) She was one of the people who funded Jesus's ministry. (Luke 8:1-3) She was one of the people who witnessed the empty tomb and the resurrected Jesus that first Easter. (Matthew 28:1-10) Jesus sent her back to tell the other disciples the good news that he was risen, making Mary Magdalene "The Apostle to the Apostles." (John 20:1-18)

Even though she is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (the book of the bible that records the building and growth of the earliest church after Jesus's death and resurrection), many scholars believe that she played a large role in the early church, for her name to have been recorded so often in all four of the gospel stories.

She is definitely a person whose life was transformed in many ways by her encounter with Jesus!

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