Churches take Ash Wednesday to the Streets

Published 12:02 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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On Ash Wednesday, February 26, The Congregational Church (TCC), UCC, First Baptist Church of Tryon (FBC), Tryon Presbyterian Church (TPC) and Tryon United Methodist Church (TUMC) will be offering “Ashes to Go,” a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. at St. Luke’s Plaza in Tryon.

TCC, UCC, FBC, TPC and TUMC are part of a 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. 

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 or have never participated before.

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As churches we are called to live out our faith in the world, beyond the walls of our sanctuaries. As the Rev. Emily Mellott, an episcopal priest who began Ashes to Go in 2007 says, “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.” It is an opportunity to bring a reminder of love and forgiveness, and connection, to those who need it, even in the midst of our busy lives, full of work and family commitments.

In Tryon, TCC, UCC, FBC, TPC and TUMC are offering Ashes to Go for the third time this year. These churches are committed to sharing and living their faith out in the world. In discussing their shared mission as churches, The Rev. Meghan D. Young, Pastor of The Congregational Church, UCC, The Rev. Dr. Jeff Harris, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Tryon, The Rev. Dr. Allan Purtill, Pastor of Tryon Presbyterian Church and The Rev. Lynnette Sills, Pastor of Tryon United Methodist Church decided to offer this unique opportunity to our community, to pause, to mark our mortality, and celebrate the blessings of this life – even in the midst of a busy day.

More information about the Ashes to Go movement can be found at

Submitted by Rev. Dr. Jeff Harris