Several Portland-area priests are takin’ it to the streets tomorrow.
The practice of taking the ashes to those who may not choose to or remember to attend an Ash Wednesday service in a church started in the Diocese of Missouri. (This morning’s USA Today has this story.)
This year it has spread to more than 70 Episcopal congregations in 18 states, including Portland. Ashes-to-God will be offered at Monument Square and Post Office Park from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 3:30 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
The Rev. Larry Weeks, rector of Trinity Church and priest-in-charge at St. Peter’s, both in Portland, read about the practice in 2011 and said to himself, “We should do this in Portland next year!’”
Weeks continued, “It’s time we venture outside our church walls to offer hope and forgiveness and healing to people who may still have a spiritual hunger but aren’t so sure about Church.”
Others in the Portland-area clergy group have signed on to offer the imposition of ashes: the Rev. David Heald of St. Nick’s, Scarborough; the Rev. Regina Knox, diocesan urban missioner; the Rev. Shirley Bowen of Christ Church, Biddeford; the Rev. Nina Pooley of St. Bart’s, Yarmouth; and the Rev. Tim Higgins of St. Ann’s Windham.