Marking Ash Wednesday around Capital Region

March 06, 2019 06:36 PM

SCHENECTADY – Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season for Christians. Many mark it with a literal mark of ashes on the forehead, made from burned palm fronds from last year's Easter celebrations.

For some, it's a traditional time at a traditional service, like the one attended at LaSalle Institute in Troy, led by Albany Diocese Bishop Edward Scharfenberger. It's one of four services he would officiate.

Then, there was the non-traditional. That took place on Jay Street in Schenectady. It's the pedestrian walkway that connects City Hall with Proctors.

"Part of the practice of Lent and Ash Wednesday is take a darn pause for a few seconds and just remember all the ways that we're all so blessed," said Rev. Dustin Wright of Messiah Lutheran Church in Rotterdam.

Dressed in an orange parka and wearing a cross on a chain and a vestment scarf, he offered "Ashes to Go" to all comers.

"We need to get out beyond our walls and be with everyone no matter who they are," said Wright. "And just say a prayer for everyone, help everyone, take a pause in the craziness that is contemporary life."

It's a national movement that began in 2007, bringing ministries to places where people go every day. They try to keep the rite and ritual sacred, but with a personalized prayer.

The board outside the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glenville, led by Pastor Deron Milleville says, "Don't give up sweets for Lent, give up hate and anger. Let's put on a more Christ-like face."

"To be out here on a cold morning and catch people as they're going to work or just starting their day and reminding them that God is there and they're not walking alone today."

Lent ends with Easter Sunday, April 21.


WNYT Staff

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