Local church hosts first ‘Ashes to Go’

ALABASTER – For the first time on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, Father Eric Mancil of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit offered another way for residents to receive ashes if they knew they wouldn’t be able to attend a traditional Ash Wednesday church service.

The church hosted Ashes to Go from 7-9 a.m. in the parking lot of the church. Mancil and Mandy Golightly, parish administrator, said they were pleased with the community’s participation.

“I think it was great for our first year,” Golightly said.

“As we continue to do it, hopefully more people will find out about it and more people will come,” Mancil added.

Mancil said about 15 people stopped by the church to receive ashes, and there was a good mix of parishioners from his church as well as people not from his church.

“We will continue to do this every year because there were people who can’t always make it to their home church on Ash Wednesday, and today I could tell that it really meant a lot for those who came to still be able to receive ashes,” Mancil said.

Golightly said she felt blessed to be a part of the church’s effort to reach out to the community. On Ash Wednesday, many Christians receive a cross of ashes on their forehead and the day begins the yearly observance of the season of Lent, which lasts 40 days and 40 nights, not including Sundays.

Mancil said the ashes are a symbol of mortality that reminds believers that God created humans from the dust of the earth and to the dust all people will return. Mancil added that Ash Wednesday is a time for repentance and serves as a reminder that people should use their time wisely and in a way that is pleasing to God.