Churches to hold Lenten services, programsBy Emily Beckett Published 4:33pm Tuesday, March 4, 2014
As the Lenten season begins Wednesday, several local churches are inviting residents to take part in Ash Wednesday services and other programs they are offering this year.
Walnut Creek United Methodist Church in Clanton will hold its 21st annual Lenten lunches for the community as a way of helping people celebrate the 40 days of Lent, which start on Ash Wednesday (March 5) and end on Good Friday (April 18), not including Sundays.
“Our whole intent, by everything we do, is geared to help people be ready to celebrate the greatest event in all of the Christian faith, and that is the Resurrection,” said the Rev. Tony Hughes, pastor of Walnut Creek UMC. “It is a time of reflection, of remembrance and repentance, a time when we refresh our awareness of the risen Lord.”
Hughes said some people arrive for fellowship before each Lenten lunch between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m., and a meal of homemade soup and chili, cornbread muffins and crackers and dessert is served at noon.
A singer from the community sings a song at 12:30, and the program concludes “promptly” with benediction at 1 p.m.
The following is a list of scheduled speakers and singers: March 12 – Bro. Randy Reid and Lacey Ellison; March 19 – Bro. Wayne Hughes and Adreane Barrington; March 26 – Bro. Matt DeBord and Robert Barge; April 2 – Bro. Jake McCall and Ernest and Jan Fike; April 9 – Bro. Daniel Wilson and Melinda McCullough; and April 16 – Bro. Tony Hughes and Lisa Abbott.
Hughes said attendance at the lunches has grown enough over the years to merit the church’s expansion of the fellowship hall, where the lunches are held.
“It is a wonderfully large group of people that have a great time,” Hughes said. “It’s a cross-section of the community. We’ll have folks from every walk of life.”
Hughes said the lunches are non-denominational, free and open to anyone in the community.
“It’s an open invitation; come one, come all,” Hughes said. “You will be welcome.”
Episcopal church to offer ‘Ashes at the Curb’
Trinity Episcopal Church in Clanton will distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday at two formal worship services and curbside at people’s cars during specified morning and afternoon hours.
The Rev. William King, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church, said this marks the first year his church will offer the curbside service, “Ashes at the Curb,” for people who want to receive ashes but cannot attend an Ash Wednesday service.
“For some Christians, Ash Wednesday is also a day of fasting as recommended in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer,” King said in a press release. “Ashes are placed on the forehead of Christians on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness. Ashes are also an ancient sign of atonement, repentance and mourning.”
Ashes will be distributed during two services of Holy Communion at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 503 Second Ave. S. in Clanton, at noon and 6:30 p.m.
Anyone wanting to receive ashes on their foreheads from parish clergy, along with a prayer card on Lent, may drive by the church from 11–11:40 a.m. and 5–5:40 p.m.
King said the church’s idea for “Ashes at the Curb” came from seeing other churches expand their offerings beyond their buildings and into the communities.
“A number of churches around the country are going out to places like parks—in downtown Birmingham, for instance—and other places outside the church building itself,” King said. “We’re seeing more and more going out to the ‘marketplace’ and offering church outside of church buildings. My own thinking over the last year has been, ‘Why not have something?’”
King said “Ashes at the Curb” would be a good option for people who cannot sit through a full church service but still want to participate in Ash Wednesday.
Trinity’s two services and “Ashes at the Curb” are open to everyone in the community.
“I really want in the future to invite some of the other pastors to join us,” King said.
Methodist church to hold Ash Wednesday service
Clanton First United Methodist Church will hold an Ash Wednesday service March 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the main sanctuary.
The community is invited to this service, which initiates the Lenten season leading up to Easter.
This evening of worship will include special music and a sermon and will conclude with the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of worshipers to signify repentance and mortality.
For more information, call (205) 755-0490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.