Ashes-to-go Brings Episcopal Ash Wednesday Services to the Streets
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, will join Episcopalians as they take to the streets throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan area to distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday, February 13. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of reflection and preparation before Easter Sunday.
Each year, Christians gather for Ash Wednesday services to receive an ash cross on their foreheads, a sign of penitence and humility that sets the tone for the Lenten season. The administering of ashes in public spaces on Ash Wednesday has become a church-wide movement in the Episcopal Church, when priests take this historic tradition outside of church buildings to train stations, Metro stops, and street corners, where interested passers-by are marked with the sign of the cross–a reminder of the temporal nature of life.
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“I believe that the Holy Spirit is calling all of us out of our comfort zones, and I'm eager to engage in spiritual conversations with people outside the church,” said Bishop Budde. “May all whom we encounter be blessed with an awareness of God's love and the fleeting beauty of life.”
More than 20 Episcopal churches in Washington, DC and the surrounding counties in Maryland will participate on February 13. Locations include: Union Station Metro Station, Capitol South Metro Station, the corner of Baltimore Avenue and College Avenue in College Park, Md., and the Germantown MARC Station. Bishop Budde will be offering ashes at the Foggy Bottom Metro Station from 8 – 10 a.m. with priests from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, K Street.
“We have few moments in our day-to-day lives in which we stop and contemplate the bigger questions of life,” says Jason Evans, the Missioner to Young Adults for the Diocese of Washington. “While many may not enter a church on Ash Wednesday, we believe that creating the space to pause and consider the beauty and brevity of our existence is important. Our lives ought to count. They each ought to matter. This is a way for us to create a moment of that kind of consideration with people right where they’re at.”
For a complete list of locations in Washington, DC and Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Charles counties in Maryland, along with information on other programs for Lent, visit: www.edow.org/lentor to learn more about the nation-wide movement, visit: http://ashestogo.org.