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.
The Rev. Richard McKeon, Rector of Messiah Episcopal Church in Rhinebeck goes to the Amtrak station in Rhinecliff each year to offer ashes to those who are beginning their morning commute and says that “it’s more about presence than giving out ashes.”
“I think the most moving stories are from those who have distanced themselves from church – often for very good reasons,” says the Rev. Michelle Meech of St. John’s in Kingston. “That we are out on there on the streets offering people something they remember from childhood, gives them a way to reconnect with their faith. They are so thankful for that.”
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 5:45-8 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 9-11 a.m and 2-4 p.m..
- And on Albany Avenue in Kingston, the Rev. Michelle Meech and Deacon Sue Bonsteel will offer ashes from 7-9 a.m. and again from 4-6 p.m. in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church at 207 Albany Ave.