Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ashes to Go Offered on Ash Wednesday; It Worked out for Busy People Who Didn't Have Time to Attend a Service

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ashes to Go Offered on Ash Wednesday; It Worked out for Busy People Who Didn't Have Time to Attend a Service

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

Debra Langenderfer got her "Ashes to Go" on Wednesday afternoon, driving up to the Rev. Caroline Kramer outside Christ Episcopal Church in Jacksonville.

With a brief blessing of "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return," Kramer etched a cross in ash on Langenderfer's forehead before she merged back onto busy San Pablo Road.

"I missed morning and afternoon services because I was traveling today, so I saw this in the bulletin and cruised right on over," said Langenderfer, who lives in St. Augustine.

Twelve-year-old Catey Ackerman came with her mother, 10-year-old brother Reese and 7-year-old sister Abbey after school.

"It's really quick and easy," the Ponte Vedra Beach girl said. "You just come and go home."

Ash Wednesday signals the start of Lent and the Easter season for several Christian denominations. The name comes from the practice of rubbing ashes on one's forehead in the shape of a cross as a symbol of penance, while the Lenten season is one of moderation, fasting and prayer.

"Ashes to Go" events were organized at several locations in the Jacksonville area as an alternative to a full church service. Orange Park's Grace Episcopal Day School presented them at 8 a.m. as parents dropped off children at the Kingsley Avenue campus. Green Cove Springs' St. Mary's Episcopal Church gave lunchtime ashes from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Clay County Courthouse.

Kramer said she got the idea from her native England, where busy people often receive ashes from priests in their respective town centers. Christ Episcopal Church started it last year at its San Pablo campus 2:30 to 3 p.m. right across from Alimacani Elementary School. That caters to parents as well as everyone else stuck in the 15-mph school speed zone who may have been too busy to go to church.

Youth minister Cecelia Zucconi stood beside Kramer holding an "Ashes to Go" sign to remind people. …

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