Church brings Ash Wednesday rite to campus

By Brady Bauman

Ash Wednesday was even more accessible for busy students Wednesday morning at K-State’s Bosco Plaza.

Rev. Patrick Funston, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, along with campus ministry intern Taylor Mather, was on campus providing ashes for anyone who wanted them as a part of the church’s “Ashes to Go” intuitive for this holy day of repentance in most Christian faiths.

Funston said the idea is a part of a national initiative by the church, allowing it to be more active in the community with clergy and lay people visiting transit stops, street corners, coffee shops, and in this case, college campuses.

“One of the sins of the church is that we do all of our stuff inside, that we’re always kind of apart,” he said.

“This is just a way to be out, to be present, and the ashes are something we can do very quickly, and it’s a very visible sign about what we believe about God, his forgiveness, and his love.

“We’re here and offering it to whoever wants it.”

In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter.

For centuries, Christians have received a cross of ashes on the forehead at the beginning of that season as reminder of mortal failings and an invitation to receive God’s forgiveness.

“Ashes to Go,” according to Funston, provides the opportunity to participate in that tradition for people who have lost their connection to a church, or have never participated before.

“I think it’s historical,” Funston said about the new initiative. “We build these churches and then we get stuck behind the doors, and forget that God’s message is that we should be out and doing things.

“Not only things like ‘Ashes to Go,’ but also giving ministry, and feeding people, and clothing people, and caring for people and all of those things we’re supposed to do.”

Funston and Mather were on campus from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, then again from 1:45 to 3:45 in the afternoon.

Funston said it was the first year his church has administered “Ashes to Go.”

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