Churches schedule Ash Wednesday services

Tue, 01/29/2008 - 3:23pm
By: The Citizen

Churches schedule Ash Wednesday services

Bethany United Methodist Church in north Fayette County, Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church in Sharpsburg, Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Fayetteville First United Methodist Church, and New Life in Christ Anglican Church at Thomas Crossroads in Coweta County will be among many churches in the area offering Ash Wednesday services next week, services which signify the beginning of the season of Lent for Christians.

“Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and repentance for many Christians,” says the Rev. Sally Oakes, pastor of Bethany, “and the service is a solemn invitation for us to confess our sins to God. Many will mark this confession with the symbol of our contriteness before God, ashes placed in a cross on the forehead.”

The Rev. David Epps of Christ the King adds, “These ashes leave a mark that the worshipper traditionally leaves on his or her forehead until sundown, before washing it off. This symbolism recalls the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ash over one’s head signifying repentance before God, as related many times in the Bible.”

Epps continues, “Often these Ash Wednesday ashes are made by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations and mixing them with olive oil as a fixative. The penitential Psalms are read and, in many churches, the crosses are shrouded in purple cloth. Our Book of Common Prayer designates Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting.”

From Ash Wednesday, and for the six weeks before Easter, many Christians will observe the season of Lent.

“Most people have heard about giving something up for Lent, but Lent is about more than giving something up,” Oakes says. “Incorporating positive change is as much a part of Lent as fasting and self-denial. If you’ve been slack on your devotion time, Lent is a perfect occasion to get back to it. Now is the time to get back to worship, or to worship with a renewed heart. It’s a time to do acts of love and charity for others and to give your hands to God’s service.”

Bethany’s service will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday and will include Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes. Oakes says the service should last about 40 minutes.

Bethany is at the corner of Rivers/Milam Road and Lee’s Lake Road near the Fayette-Fulton county line. For more information about the church or about the Ash Wednesday service, call 770-964-6999.

Christ the King will have two services on Ash Wednesday, a brief one at lunchtime from noon until 12:30 p.m., and again that evening at 7:30 p.m. with Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes. Epps will deliver a brief message during the evening service. Christ the King church is on Ga. Hwy. 34, just west of Peachtree City.

Father Paul Massey, pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, has announced that the church will have a morning Ash Wednesday service at 8 a.m. Holy Cross is at Path Finders Plaza, 140 Kathi Ave., Suite 1, behind Michael’s and Radio Shack in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville First United Methodist Church will have the first of its Lenten Luncheons Wednesday, Feb. 6 beginning at noon. The UMW circles will provide a light lunch each week during Lent and a guest speaker will give a brief message. The first luncheon will be hosted by the Faith Circle and the speaker will be the Rev. Mark Westmoreland.

The remaining Lenten Luncheons at Fayetteville First will be held on Thursdays, Feb. 14, 21 and 28, and March 6, 13 and 20.

The church also will have an evening Ash Wednesday service Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Fayetteville First UMC is across the street from the old Fayette County Courthouse. For more information about the luncheons or services, call 770-461-4313.

The Ash Wednesday service of New Life in Christ Anglican Church will be at 4:30 p.m. at the church’s location at Suite #5, at Thomas Crossroads, 20 Tower Way, Newnan.

The service will include the imposition of ashes and Holy Communion, and will be conducted by the Rev. Steven J. Saul. The service is open to all interested people in the community.

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