Trinity Cathedral clergy took to the streets on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, to mark the beginning of the holy season of Lent by giving “Ashes to Go.” Clergy members were at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center from 6:30-8:30 a.m. and on the steps of the Cathedral (2230 Euclid Avenue) from 1-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.
This was Trinity’s first year participating in the initiative and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Channel 3 did a live segment from the Transit Center and one woman hopped in her car after seeing the coverage to come down and receive ashes. A Facebook friend commented that it was “just the push I needed to get me back into attending services regularly.”
“Church is not about what goes on within the four walls of a building,” says the Rev. Canon Will Mebane of Trinity Cathedral. “It should be about strengthening, nurturing and meeting people where they are in the world. Ashes to Go allows us to meet students, workers and downtown residents in their lives while going about their daily routines and recognizes that we all live in a very fast-paced and busy world. Taking Ash Wednesday beyond the Cathedral is a simple but powerful act that takes the gifts of prayer and repentance and a moment of renewal and grace to the streets.”
Priests and lay people from Episcopal churches across the country visited train stations, subway stops, coffee shops, and street corners to mark the forehead of interested passers-by with the sign of the cross, and invited them to repent of their past wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and renewal. The Rev. Teresa K. M. Danieley, of St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Louis, Mo., is the unofficial coordinator of the Ashes to Go movement. Rev. Danieley’s ecumenical clergy group developed the idea in 2007.
In addition to Ashes to Go, Trinity Cathedral held three Ash Wednesday services at the church.