Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

March 1, 2014

Churches take Ash Wednesday to the streets

On Ash Wednesday, March 5, the ministers of the First Lutheran Church, Centerville Presbyterian Church and Drake Avenue Christian Church will be offering “Ashes to Go,” a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of East State street and 13th street north of the Continental on the Square.

“Ashes to Go” 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 or offer a brief prayer of blessing.

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 who are unable to attend a regular Ash Wednesday service.

The local pastors are excited to bring the Ashes to Go movement to Centerville.

“‘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,” said 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.”

The three churches participating share several services and ministries together throughout the year. Their joint Ash Wednesday service will be held at the First Lutheran Church March 5 at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Contact the Rev. Sara Galindo of Drake Avenue Christian Church for more information. More information about the Ashes to Go movement can be found at www.AshesToGo.org.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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