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Lansdale Church Offers 'Ashes to Go' for Busy Commuters

Trinity Lutheran Church will be at Lansdale Train Station Wednesday morning to bring ashes for Ash Wednesday to the street to mark the first day of Lent

Often, work and other priorities take precedence over the things we find important — for practicing Christians such may be the case Wednesday for the first day of Lent.

So, Trinity Lutheran Church senior pastor Rev. Paul Lutz will bring the ashes to the people Wednesday morning.

From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Lutz and church volunteers will be at the Lansdale Train Station to place ashes on the foreheads of train commuters.

"For those who can't get to worship on Ash Wednesday because of work or are not involved in worship, they can stop and get that pretty quick. It's a way for the church to get out to the people rather than expecting people to get into the church," Lutz said.

The practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherent Christians is a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance of God on Ash Wednesday.

"In the Christian denomination, we have a pracatice of people coming for what's called the Imposition of Ashes. The ashes are made from last year's palm branches. We put the ashes on their forehead in the shape of the cross," Lutz said. "As the prepare for Lent, which is the time to try to get better with God, we are reminded that, as in Baptism where the sign of the cross is on the forehead, we are loved by God and are part of his commitment no matter what."

While Wednesday will be the first time Trinity Lutheran Church will do a public Ash Wednesday event, it is not the first time for Lutz.

Lutz was a pastor at a church in Princeton, NJ for eight years, before coming to Trinity Lutheran a little more than a year ago.

Lutz did this same public Ash Wednesday event at the Princeton Train Station, which is the fourth busiest station in the country, he said. 

"It worked fine. People who wanted it came up and were happy to get the ashes," he said. "We had no problems with anybody."

The method Wednesday will be a passive one.

"We don't go after people; they approach us. We have the ashes, they come up and go on their way to work," he said.

He said he and staff thought of the idea last year after the Ash Wednesday service at the church. He said Wednesday would be following up on plans fleshed out in 2012.

Lutz also invited several North Penn ministries to accompany him in the event. 

"Churches can do lot more collaboratively," he said. "If they want to be a part of it, they are more than welcome to it."

Lutz said it would be great to continue the new tradition in subsequent years.

"If only one person has it, it's a success. We are not looking for numbers that way. It's great if the ministry takes it on. If I'm not there to do it, then others can," he said. "We'll try it and see how it goes and learn from the experience."

Trinity Lutheran Church also holds Ash Wednesday services at noon and 7:30 p.m. 

Jen Willison February 13, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Thank you for doing this Pastor Lutz!
Robert Weyant II February 13, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Was at train station from 6:25 A.M. to 6:35 A.M. and nobody was apparently there. Left dor work after that. Was very disappointed.

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