‘ASHES TO GO’ OF­FERED Pro­gram of­fers an­other way to re­ceive Ash Wed­nes­day rit­ual

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By An­drew Cass acass@news-her­ald.com @An­drewCassNH on Twit­ter

“The rit­ual doesn’t hold power, it’s your re­la­tion­ship to it that does.” — Rev. Ian Lynch

Con­cord Town­ship res­i­dent Dale Deer­ing ad­mit­ted he knew he wasn’t go­ing to be able to make it to a full Ash Wed­nes­day ser­vice.

For­tu­nately for him and others in his sit­u­a­tion, the Old South United Church of Christ in Kirtland of­fered an op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive ashes.

For the past few years the church and pas­tor Rev. Ian Lynch have been of­fer­ing “Ashes to Go” in the park­ing lot of the 9802 Chilli­cothe Road church.

On Feb. 14, ashes were of­fered from 7 to 10 a.m.

Lynch said Ash Wed­nes­day mass is of­ten sparsely at­tended and for those who do at­tend the evening ser­vice they only have a few hours to wear the ashes. That re­duces some of the im­pact of the sym­bol, he said.

“That cou­pled with the fact that the build­ing is not the church, we are the church,” he said. “We need to be the church

be­yond the walls.”

He added that the church is Christ’s love in ac­tion and of­fer­ing ashes in the morn­ing as peo­ple are on their way to work is a way of bring­ing a bless­ing to peo­ple rather than wait­ing for peo­ple to come to them.

Lynch has been the pas­tor at the church for four years. He said the “Ashes to Go” idea isn’t an orig­i­nal one. He has col­leagues who do it, but pri­mar­ily in large ur­ban set­tings, like sub­way sta­tions. He de­cided to use the church’s park­ing lot to host the bless­ing be­cause its lo­ca­tion on Route 306 draws much car traf­fic.

Some stayed in their cars to re­ceive the ashes, others

got out. Lynch was ac­com­mo­dat­ing to how ever peo­ple chose to re­ceive it.

Ash Wed­nes­day marks the start of the Len­ten sea­son in the Chris­tian faith. Lynch said the ashes serve as a re­minder that we’re all go­ing to die.

He ad­mits it’s a dark sub­ject mat­ter, but even as a self-pro­claimed “hope monger,” he said it’s an im­por­tant one.

There’s only one pre­req­ui­site for res­ur­rec­tion: death.

“It’s not right to bring hope in a vac­uum,” he said.

After giv­ing ashes, Lynch handed re­cip­i­ents a sheet of pa­per with scrip­ture and a prayer for them to re­flect on as they get a chance through­out the day.

“The rit­ual doesn’t hold power, it’s your re­la­tion­ship to it that does,” he said.

AN­DREW CASS — THE NEWS-HER­ALD

Pas­tor Rev. Ian Lynch gives Con­cord Town­ship res­i­dent Dale Deer­ing ashes out­side Old South United Church of Christ in Kirtland Feb. 14.

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