St. Philip's will take ashes 'to the streets' | Community Spirit
On Ash Wednesday, February 13, St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Parish will be offering “Ashes to Go,” a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition, at various locations around Tucson.
St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Parish is part of a new nationwide movement that has clergy and lay people visiting transit stops, street corners, coffee shops, and college campuses to mark the foreheads of interested passers-by with ashes and invite them to repent of past wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and renewal.
In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. For centuries, Christians have received a cross of ashes on the face at the beginning of that season as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness. Ashes to Go provides the opportunity to participate in that tradition for people who have lost their connection to a church, have never participated before, or for those who might be too busy to attend a weekday service.
“Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a holy Lent. This year, lay people as well as clergy will impose ashes in various places throughout Tucson. In so doing, we hope to invite our local community to journey toward Easter (March 31, 2013) in a mindful way, by offering prayers for people who cannot make it to church on Wednesday. The ritual’s reminder that we are the creatures, not the Creator, helps us recognize grace in our lives and the lives of others,” says the Rev. Vicki K. Hesse, of St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Parish.
“Ashes to Go is about bringing the important traditions of our faith out from behind church walls and into the places we need them every day,” says the Rev. Emily Mellott, who maintains the website AshesToGo.org with resources and stories about this ministry. “As people get busier and busier, we need the church in new and non-traditional ways. We especially need reminders of forgiveness in the tough places of our working lives. The people who accept ashes on the street are often people longing to make a connection between their faith and the forces of daily life, and Ashes to Go helps them feel that connection.”
In Tucson, Arizona, St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Parish is offering Ashes to Go for the first time this year. In addition to the imposition of ashes, lay parishioners will invite participants to pray for our community.
Contact The Rev. Vicki K. Hesse at firstname.lastname@example.org and (520) 299.6421 for more information about Ashes To Go in Tucson. More information about the Ashes to Go movement can be found at www.AshesToGo.org