A few Princeton churches are taking Ash Wednesday to the streets this year.
In addition to welcoming people to their churches for Ash Wednesday services, Trinity Church and the Princeton United Methodist Church are offering ashes in downtown Princeton and at the Princeton Junction Train Station to mark the beginning of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter.
“Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season, but for some there is no time in the work week for a worship service,” said the Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash, senior pastor of Princeton United Methodist Church.
Clergy members from the Princeton United Methodist Church will be in front of the church,which is located at the corner of Nassau Street and Vandeventer Avenue, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Representatives from Trinity Church will be at the Princeton Junction Train Station from 5:45 a.m. until 8 a.m., and in front of Palmer Square from about 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. All Saints Princeton is also participating.
For hundreds of years, the ash cross has served as a reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness.
Trinity began its “Ashes to Go” offerings in 2014 as part of a new program promoted by the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. Ashes to Go is part of a nationwide movement of clergy and lay people visiting busy public spaces to offer ashes.
Instead of sitting through a service, ministers and parishioners offer the Christian sign of repentance — a smudged cross of ashes on the forehead — to anyone walking by who seeks it.