Two churches offering Ashes to Go on Feb. 14

Krystle Wagner • Feb 12, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Two local churches are working together to invite community members to the Lenten season.

St. John’s Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church of Grand Haven are manning Ashes to Go stations for people who don’t have a chance to attend church service on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14.

First Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Troy Hauser Brydon and Associate Pastor Jill VanderWal will be near the Grand Haven courthouse from 8:30-9:30 that morning.

The Rev. John Edwin Infante Pinzon of St. John’s Episcopal Church will be stationed along Beacon Boulevard near Starbucks and the Very Rev. Jared Cramer will be along southbound Beacon Boulevard near Fifth Third Bank from 8:30-10 a.m. and from 4-5:30 p.m.

Cramer started offering Ashes to Go in 2013.

Brydon reached out about joining the effort. Cramer said it is fantastic that another church wanted to reach people and that Christians from different denominations will work together. Having a new church join the Ashes to Go is a “cool development,” Cramer said.

In the future, Cramer said he would like to see more churches get involved and have Ashes to Go stations all over the Tri-Cities.

“It’s all about trying to reach out to people who find Ash Wednesday hard to participate in,” he said.

Offering Ashes to Go is a way to take the church outside its building and to work with other faith denominations, Brydon said.

Before heading out, the Episcopalians and Presbyterians will join together in prayer.

Brydon said that while each church has a unique purpose, they’re all in it together and he enjoys seeing the unity.

“I would love to see that happen throughout the community with lots of things,” he added.

Cramer is gearing up to spend time outdoors during the expected chilly day. In previous years, he has bundled up in coats, gloves, scarves and used hand warmers to stay warm as motorists stop to receive ashes.

Brydon said he’s looking forward to the spontaneity of what the day will bring because people have certain expectations when it comes to a church service.

While they know and understand not everyone will visit with them to start the season, Brydon said it’s a reminder that this year’s Feb. 14 is more than Valentine’s Day, and it brings forward the meaning of Ash Wednesday, that everyone is mortal.

“It’s something universal, but not something we like to think about much,” he said.

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