For Christians, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. The natural desire is to begin this season of deep reflection, penitent prayer, and spiritual re-centering by attending an Ash Wednesday service, in which one can receive the mark of the Cross in ashes upon one’s forehead (or hand) and a blessing. Surely, nothing exceeds this as way to begin Lent’s journey. But for some, life does not cooperate.
For those who are unable to attend an Ash Wednesday service, Winnetka Congregational Church is offering a fresh yet mindful alternative: “Ashes on the Way”.
“Each year, we hear from numerous folks about how much they want to make it to worship, and how much they value the rite of receiving ashes, but how family or work schedules make that impossible,” said Winnetka Congregational Church’s Senior Pastor, the Rev. Jeff Braun. “We wanted to remedy that by offering faithful folks the chance to receive ashes and a personal prayer by coming either before their commutes or after they drop children off at school or daycare.”
“The goal of Ashes on the Way is not to replace or diminish the power or appeal of attending a service,” added Associate Pastor the Rev. Sarah Walker Cleaveland. “It’s simply to provide another prayerful-yet-practical opportunity to mark Lent’s beginning for those who cannot make it to a service.”
Ashes on the Way is open to anyone and does not require anything in exchange. Simply drive into the Winnetka Congregational Church’s driveway at 725 Pine Street in Winnetka (the driveway is actually off of Prospect Street right near the intersection of Pine and Prospect), enter the roundabout in front of the church, stop curbside, and one of the church’s pastors will come to your car to offer ashes and/or a blessing that weaves in whatever might be on your mind. After that, you are off to continue your day.
To accommodate people’s varied schedules and needs, Ashes on the Way will be offered at Winnetka Congregational Church on February 14 from 5:30 A.M. to 10 A.M.
Anyone with questions is invited to contact Winnetka Congregational Church at 847-441-3400.