“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Several local Episcopal priests will be offering “Ashes to Go” and even “Drive-thru Ashes” on Ash Wednesday, February 13. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent, a time of reflection and prayer lasting 40 days. It culminates in Holy and Easter, which this year is March 31. Priests make the sign of the cross in ashes on people’s foreheads as a visible symbol of human mortality.
In Fort Worth, the Rev. Susan Slaughter of St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church, 4301 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76103, will be offering ashes at 7:30 a.m. at the corner of Meadowbrook Drive and Somerset. This will make ashes available to families dropping children off at Meadowbrook Elementary and Meadowbrook Middle schools as well as to other morning commuters. Traditional Ash Wednesday services will be offered at St. Luke’s at noon and at 7 p.m. Church phone: 817-534-4925.
In Arlington, the Rev. Melanie Wright St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, worshiping in Theater Arlington, 305 West Main, Arlington, TX 76010, will be offering ashes at noon at the University of Texas at Arlington, just outside the student center and library. A traditional Ash Wednesday service will be at Theater Arlington at 7 a.m. Church phone: 817-264-3083
In Keller, the Rev. Amy Haynie of St. Martin in the Field Episcopal Church, 223 S. Pearson Lane, Keller, TX 76248, will be offering ashes in the parking lot of the church from 4:30 to 6 p.m. People returning home from work may enter the parking and receive ashes without leaving their cars, and exit again onto Pearson Lane. Traditional Ash Wednesday services will be at 6:45 a.m., noon, and 7 p.m. Church phone: Phone: 817-431-2396 or 817-431-2689.
In Stephenville, the Rev. Curt Norman of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 595 N. McIlhaney, Stephenville, TX, 76401, will be offering ashes on the campus of Tarleton State University at noon in front of the Thompson Student Center. Traditional Ash Wednesday services will be held at 7 a.m., 12:10 p.m., and 6 p.m. Church phone: 254-968-6949.
Ashes to Go began a few years ago with a few Episcopal Churches in the Mid-west taking the ritual outside the walls of their churches to meet people where they live and work and have their being.
Last year, Ashes to Go was offered in 21 states, and this year church leaders in two other countries have confirmed they plan to begin their own version of the tradition. Residents of London, England, and Cape Town, South Africa, will be the first internationals to receive their Ash Wednesday blessing on the move through Ashes to Go.
The idea is to offer a low-key invitation without pressure to allow people to receive ashes even if they cannot attend one of the traditional services planned at every Episcopal Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. A list of those parishes is at https://episcopaldiocesefortworth.org/parish-directory/
But, no matter where one receives ashes on the first day of Lent, the blessing remains the same: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”