Ash Wednesday this year falls on 17th February, and it is going to present more of a challenge than previous years due to the pandemic restrictions.
Normally, we would have a service of Eucharist with the option for worshippers to receive from the priest an ash cross on their forehead as a mark of repentance. Even if the church were open, the necessity to maintain appropriate, safe distancing would make this impossible.
We will still hold a service, and there will still be the same rite of penitence, with the option to have an ash cross on your forehead, but there will have to be a DIY element to this. Worshippers will have to apply the mark themselves. Alternatively, a better solution would be for couples living in a bubble together to mark each other.
The ash for this purpose is usually made by burning last year’s palm crosses. If you have an old palm cross or two, you could make some ash in this way. If you don’t have a cross, but would like to use this method, please contact the Rector and supplies will be delivered to you. It is not as straightforward as simply setting fire to the crosses, so please contact the Rector for instructions.
An alternative is to use soil or even house dust!. The rite reminds us that “from dust we come and to dust we shall return”. Using soil reminds us that as mortals, our bodies are going to end up interred in the ground in some way, and using the dust of the earth reinforces that.
If you think that is a bit bleak, remember that the purpose of the rite is encourage us to repent, to “turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ” so that our souls may escape the doom that awaits our mortal remains.
If you wish to take part in this part of the service, the key thing is to have a clear mark that is publicly noticeable as an outward and visible sign of the inward, spiritual grace you have received. You don’t need much ash/dust/soil. But make sure you have enough. A teaspoonful will be more than sufficient for two people.
Ash Wednesday service
17th February at 10.00am
Ash Wednesday Service of Eucharist
Order of Service Word version
Order of Service pdf version
The order of Service obtains the readings and prayers.
This service will be online only.
The Zoom details are different from the Sunday service: click here
You may need the passcode 1882SJGD to enable this link.
If you or someone you know would like a copy of a recording of this service either on a CD or a data stick, please contact the Rector.
The recordings are available in both video and audio only format.