AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Episcopal and Methodist churches in Augusta are taking a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition.
On Ash Wednesday, which is March 5, they'll be offering "Ashes to Go."
It's 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, organizers say.
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.
Organizers of "Ashes to Go" say the event provides the opportunity for people who have lost their connection to a church or have never participated before to participate in that tradition.
"'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."
This is the first time in Augusta that there is an intentional interdenominational effort to bring ashes to the streets. The event is being organized by the Rev. Kelsey Hutto, Assistant Rector at Saint Paul's Church. Nine Episcopal ministers and three Methodist ministers will be at different locations throughout Augusta on March 5.
Here is the schedule of when and where they will be:
- Salvation Army Shelter 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
- Starbucks on Columbia Road 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- Masters Soup Kitchen 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
- Georgia Regents University - Summerville campus 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Chick-fil-A on Washington Road 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- walking down Broad Street 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Georgia Regents University - Summerville campus 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.