Taking It To The Street: Lenten 'Ashes to Go'

Film crew captures South Orange priest confer ashes on commuters at train station.

On Ash Wednesday, Rev. Sandye Wilson carried her altar to the world, ministering ashes for morning commuters at the South Orange Train Station. It was a scene captured by the Episcopal News Service for a report on the growing number of Episcopal Church priests taking Ash Wednesday out of the church and into the streets or, in the case of South Orange, the train station.

A film crew captured Rev. Wilson placing palm ashes on the foreheads of dozens on commuters boarding Midtown Direct trains for work in New York City, a ritual that began before the sun rose at 5:45 a.m.

“If the church is going to continue to have life, we have to take the church to where the people are rather than expect the people to find us,” Rev. Wilson tells the Episcopal News Service in its video coverage.

Ash Wednesday is a day of penitence that marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. Traditional services were held at churches throughout South Orange and Maplewood, including , where Rev. Wilson is rector. But like 20 other North Jersey churches, St. Andrew and Holy Communion also delivered what’s known as “Ashes to Go.”

“Ultimately our goal is to be in the church and to be in the world,” said Rev. Wilson. “And sometimes when we’re in the world it means we have to do things differently than we have done them before.”

See the video by the Episcopal News Service here @ Ashes to Go.


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