Six congregations and a campus ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth figured prominently in news coverage of Ash Wednesday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and on KTVT Channel 11.
These congregations offered Ashes to Go as a form of outreach, taking Ash Wednesday out into the world of commuters, parents dropping children off at school, college students, and people on lunch breaks. Traditional Ash Wednesday services also were offered by all the congregations but one in the diocese.
The front page Star-Telegram story featured a large photo of the Rev. Bill Stanford of St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, imposing ashes on a motorist.The story began, “For some observant Christians in Fort Worth, Wednesday was a chance to grab a hot latte along with a sacred side of Lenten ashes.
“Episcopal churches in southwest and east Fort Worth, Hurst, Keller and Southlake, plus Stephenville and Hamilton, coordinated their daytime schedules so passers-by could get ritual ashes applied while on their commute to work, when buying morning coffee, during a lunch break and into the afternoon.
“The on-the-street events were called “Ashes to Go.” (It was “Drive-Thru Ashes” in the parking lot of the Episcopal Church of Hamilton County.)”
Stanford was assisted by Ms. Stephanie Wingate. They gave each person who stopped a flyer with the church’s name and website that said, “Ash Wednesday: It’s like a do-over for your New Year’s Resolutions- With God’s Help!” and then offered a prayer: “God of all things, help me to turn my life toward you-again. Let these ashes remind me of your promise-that if I turn to you, you will always be there. Amen.”
At St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller, Ashes to Go were offered in the morning by Deacon Henry Penner assisted by Corrie Cabes and Susan Kleinwechter. The church’s youth group led Drive-Thru Ashes from 5-6 pm in the church parking lot. The youth were joined by the Rev. Scot McComas, the new rector, The youth had assembled a family-friendly daily or weekly reflection called Lent in a Bag and offered it to all who stopped.
The Rev. Amy Haynie of the Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls offered Ashes to Go on the campus at Midwestern State University with Pastor Mel Martinez of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church.
At St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth, the Rev. Karen Calafat and Deacon Tony Hiatt were in front of the church offering Ashes to Go to commuters, teachers, students, and parents dropping students off .