Ashes to Go continues to expand Lenten ministry

The Rev. Emily Mellott imposes ashes on a commuter at the train station in Lomb ard, Illinois. Photo: Ashes to Go website

The Rev. Emily Mellott imposes ashes on a commuter at the train station in Lomb ard, Illinois. Photo: Ashes to Go website

[Episcopal News Service] For nearly the eighth Ash Wednesday in a row, Episcopal Church clergy and laity will take to the streets on the day that marks the start of Lent to offer passersby the outward and visible symbol of penitence.

Begun in part in the Dioceses of Chicago and Missouri, the website Ashes to Go says that the practice went viral in 2012.

“Those who had no time to attend services or had forgotten about the tradition were delighted to receive ashes with prayer as they began their day,” said the Rev. Emily Mellott, who calls herself an Ashes to Go evangelist and manages the website. “Many responded with tears or smiles of gratitude that the church would come to them.”

The list of congregations that have told the planners that they will offer Ashes to Go this Ash Wednesday is here. Many diocesan websites also are compiling a list of participating congregations.

The Ashes to Go website also offers some resources for congregations here, as does the Episcopal Church Foundation here.

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