No time to get to church for Ash Wednesday? Get 'Ashes to Go'

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona is helping Valley residents celebrate Ash Wednesday by offering them "Ashes to Go."

Ashes to go is a nationwide movement in which clergy and lay people visit transit stops, street corners, coffee shops, and college campuses to mark the foreheads of interested passers-by with ashes and invite them to repent of past wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and renewal.

In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter.

For centuries, Christians have received a cross of ashes on the face at the beginning of that season as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God's forgiveness. Ashes to Go provides the opportunity to participate in that tradition for people who have lost their connection to a church, or have never participated before.

"We are participating in Ashes to Go because the church is about being inclusive, available, and welcoming to all," said Brad Eubanks, the chaplain at NAU in Flagstaff. "This is a way we can personify this outside the church doors and in the community."

The Rev. John Christopher from Epiphany on the Desert in Gila Bend shared that "people who do not include the receiving of ashes as part of their faith practices are encouraged to stop by also, either for a chat or a shared prayer."

More information about the Ashes to Go movement can be found at