An Ashes to Go story from Rancho Cordova

An Ashes to Go story from Rancho Cordova

It was Feb 26th and it felt like spring on this winter's morning in Rancho Cordova, California. The sun was shining and the trees were in full bloom. Zinfandel Drive was nearly bumper to bumper with cars rushing to work or school.

Dressed in black cassocks and lining the street in front of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, the Rev. Kenn Katona and a ten person evangelism team waved to passing cars, held up “Ashes to Go” signs, greeted pedestrians, and offered the imposition of ashes for all those who, for whatever reason, might not be able to make it to a traditional Ash Wednesday service. “Ashes to Go” is a nationwide movement in which churches of various denominations will meet people where they are to impose ashes, pray, and help connect them to the Church as the Lenten season begins.

The imposition of ashes has been practiced on Ash Wednesday since the ninth century. Ashes remind Christians to claim repentance, grace, and deep relationship with God for the challenges of daily life. The power of receiving “Ashes to Go” in ordinary places, where people travel in their everyday life, emphasizes the fact that the gift of prayer and moments of grace can be found anywhere, not just within the church walls.

It was not just about the ashes on this particular morning. It was also about healing relationships and brokenness in our world. Waving to someone and seeing them break into a smile, wave back, or cheerfully beep their horn in response was proof that people are eager to bring joy into their lives.

Deepening the relationship between God and each other was in evidence on the curbside in front of St. Clement’s Church on this Ash Wednesday as well as in our church. Our traditional evening service doubled in attendance, with many of the new people who attended coming because they drove by us that morning.

Contributed by Terry Sandhoff - Vestry member, St. Clement's, Rancho Cordoba

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