Episcopal churches in Ulster and Dutchess are, for Ash Wednesday, leaving their sanctuaries and setting up places where people can partake in the ritual of the imposition of ashes.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, the traditional 40-day period of reflection and abstinence which precedes Easter. The rite ritual reminds participants of their own mortality through the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return” and serves to reinforce reliance on God and people’s connectedness to all of life.
“We stood on the curb along Albany Ave. last year here in front of St. John’s,” says the Rev. Michelle Meech, Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kingston, “and we had such an overwhelmingly positive response from people that we just had to come out and do it again. People offered such heartfelt appreciation because, for so many who feel disconnected to their own church for different reasons, it was a way for them to reconnect with their faith. Some were just thankful that they could participate amidst their busy lives. Either way, I’m glad they came.”
The Rev. Chuck Kramer, Rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, started offering ashes-to-go last year in a local coffee shop called Cranberry’s where he met some people who didn’t really know what Ash Wednesday is. He says, “We had some good conversations about why we have ashes, what Lent is, and who Jesus is.”
Imposition of Ashes will be offered in the following places:
- At the Rhinecliff Amtrak station, the Rev. Richard McKeon of Messiah Episcopal Church in Rhinebeck will be present during the morning commute from 5:30-7:45 a.m.
- In Hyde Park at Cranberry’s at Tilley Hall, West Market Street and Route 9, the Rev. Chuck Kramer of St. James Episcopal Church will offer ashes from 7:30-9:30 a.m.
- In Stone Ridge, the Rev. Alison Quin from Christ the King Episcopal Church will offer ashes at Emmanuel’s Market Plaza from 2-5 p.m.
- The Church of the Ascension on Route 9W in West Park will offer roadside ashes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- And on Albany Avenue in Kingston, the Rev. Michelle Meech and Deacon Sue Bonsteel will offer ashes from 6:30-8 a.m. and again from 3:30-6 p.m. in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church at 207 Albany Ave.