Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season, a reminder of our mortality and of our Easter redemption through Jesus Christ.
The ashes we receive on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday are an outward and visible sign of that reminder.
At dozens of locations around the state on Ash Wednesday, churches of our diocese imposed ashes to commuters, shoppers, and other people going about their daily lives. It’s all part of “Ashes to Go,” a nationwide movement designed to take church “to the streets.” It’s a remarkable evangelical event, a quiet moment of grace in the midst of our busy lives.
“Lent is a time that calls us back to God,” said Bishop Chip Stokes during a livestream broadcast from Ashes to Go locations around the diocese. “The ashes are a reminder of our mortal nature.”
The bishop joined the livestream from Trenton Transit Center, along with clergy and lay people in Dunellen, New Brunswick, and Metuchen.
At the New Brunswick train station, the Rev. Joanna Hollis, rector of Christ Church, imposed ashes alongside People’s Warden Mark McMahon.
“A gentleman came up to me wearing a wooden cross,” Hollis said, “When I asked him if he would like ashes for Ash Wednesday, he told me how me had just turned his life over to God and that, just today, someone had given him the wooden cross around his neck. He spoke about how challenging his life had been and that he was ready to start again and that today was the day and that this encounter meant a lot to him.”
It was a remarkable event, with outreach to thousands across the state to bring home the meaning of Ash Wednesay and the Lenten season.
Postcard prepared by the diocese to hand to Ashes to Go participants