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A modern way to begin the Lenten season

Statesboro ministers bring ‘Ashes to Go’ to Ash Wednesday

A modern way to begin the Lenten season

A modern way to begin the Lenten season


Ministers from several Statesboro churches will mark Ash Wednesday by offering “Ashes to Go,” a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition.

On Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten church season, ashes will be offered from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and again from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. at the Rotunda of the Russell Union at Georgia Southern. Also, ashes will be offered at 3:30 p.m. in front of the Bulloch County Courthouse in downtown.

Ministers participating in Ashes to Go include the Rev. Dan Lewis from First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Joan Kilian from Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev. Bill Bagwell and the Rev. Jonathan Smith from Pittman Park United Methodist Church, the Rev. Douglas Clark of St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church, and the Rev. James Byrd, from St. Andrew’s Chapel Church.

Each will wear a white T-shirt emblazoned with “Ashes to Go.”

As people approach, a minister will ask their name, and as they place the sign of the cross in ashes on their foreheads, the minister will repeat their name and say:

“You are dust, and to dust you shall return. Yet as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.”

The ashes used for Ash Wednesday are the result of burning the palms used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. For centuries, Christians have been marked with a cross of ashes at the beginning of Lent as a reminder of their own mortality and as an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness.

In addition to serving those who are busy, Ashes to Go is an opportunity for people who have lost their church ties to reconnect, or for people who have never participated and want to experience receiving ashes.

“Ashes to Go brings an important tradition of our faith out from behind church walls and into the places we need them every day,” Kilian said. “People can’t always attend a traditional noon or 7 p.m. service, so the church is reaching out in new and nontraditional ways.”

The Ashes to Go movement began in Chicago in 2010, and by 2012 it went national. In 2012, more than 80 churches in 21 states headed out to meet their communities with ashes and prayer, and by 2013 ashes were offered internationally and in 31 states and the District of Columbia, including here in Statesboro by Trinity Episcopal.

“We welcome everyone to receive ashes,” Lewis said. “If people wish to stay and talk, or pray, with one of the pastors, there will be several of us available at each location.”

To learn more about the Ashes to Go movement, go to www.ashestogo.org

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