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Virginia Square Church Offers ‘Ashes to Go’

by ARLnow.com February 22, 2012 at 10:00 am 3,816 26 Comments

St. George’s Episcopal Church (915 N. Oakland Street) in Virginia Square is trying something new this year: bringing the ashes to the masses.

This morning, as commuters rushed off to work, ministers from St. George’s stood outside the Virginia Square Metro station placing ashes on the forehead of anyone interested in partaking in the solemn Ash Wednesday tradition, which usually takes place inside a church.

“Ashes to Go,” as the service was called, is an outreach initiative that has spread from churches in San Francisco and St. Louis to other cities across the country.

“‘Ashes to Go’ is about bringing church to the people: bringing spirit, belief, and belonging out from behind church doors, and into the places where we go every day,” the church said in a press release. “It’s a simple event with deep meaning, drawing on centuries of tradition and worship across denominations to provide a contemporary moment of grace.”

St. George’s will be back at the Metro station during tonight’s evening commute, offering the imposition of Ashes prior to the church’s 7:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday service.

  • brendan

    oh the Episcopalians… The Catholic Lites are now offering Drive Thru service. 🙂

  • Steamboat Willie

    Are the Catholics handing out dust at the Courthouse Metro?

  • OldTimer

    Ashes AND Starbucks Holy Roast… on my way!!

  • brendan

    I think that was just an urn that got knocked over…

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    I wonder if they had to gain a permit from Arlington County in order to do this?

    I’m religious privately, but I’m all about separation of church and state.

    • novasteve

      Do PACs have to get permits to bother people at Courhouse metro? Allowing religious people onto public property isn’t a separation of church and state issue, which also isn’t in the constitution anyways.

      • Clarendon Cruiser

        i) The term “Demonstration” includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching,
        holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct on public spaces
        which involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by
        one or more persons, the conduct of which has the effect, intent or propensity to draw a
        crowd or onlookers. This term does not include casual public space use by citizens,
        visitors, or tourists, which does not have an intent or propensity to attract a crowd or
        onlookers. Except as provided herein, a permit shall be required for all Demonstrations.

        http://pvtc.org/Arlington_Final_10_5_04_Managing_Public_Gatherings.pdf

        and

        http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/police/citizens/forms/docs/special_events_application.pdf

        I’m just curious if they followed the rules, that’s all.

      • drax

        Yeah, separation of church and state is shorthand for what is in the Constitution.

    • HP2000

      CC- How could this possibly be a violation of “separation of church and state?” Last I checked we still had the freedom to gather in the public space and exercise our religious beliefs.

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      • Max

        Yeah I dont see why you’d need a permit to put Jesus dust on people’s foreheads to magically protect them, either.

        • beelzebubba

          The reason why is that it can cause severe forehead burns to those that are demonically possessed.

          • OldTimer

            Oh hell… I just fall asleep in my barcalounger and head lands into ashtray. Ash Wednesday every day for me.

      • D'oh!

        Agreed, no issue with separation of church and state. I was, however, disappointed that no pirates were annointing people with marinara sauce. Maybe next year.

        • awh hells bells

          Whose in the Holy Pirate Trinity? I’d join this parish in the hope ‘yarghhh’ will be substituted for ‘amen.’

          • drax

            Can I get a ramen?

        • Richard Cranium

          Ramen, Brother!

        • Curious George

          Ramen

  • Clarendon

    I thought it was cool to see at least two churches with floats in the Mardi Gras parade last night. The Clarendon Methodist church had a pretty decent band too.

  • charlie

    looks like you get a free starbucks too.
    might be wroth it to be catholic for a few minutes.

    • If you’re going to be a smart @$$

      Read the article. This group from from the Episcopal church.

  • Men in lacey frocks. What fun!

  • Burger

    2 Points.

    1) Many NYC Catholic churches provide ashes but no service to Catholic faithful. When I was working in NYC, I used to sneak out from work for a few seconds and cross the street to church and get ashes.

    2) Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are not Holy days of obligation for Catholics.

    • Burger

      And 2 should be inferred to mean that as a Catholic you do not have to go to mass and only receiving ashes is perfect acceptable.

    • drax

      Just to remind/clarify – the church in the story isn’t Catholic.

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