Trinity Episcopal Church offered a wide array of Ash Wednesday worship services to accommodate as many people as possible yesterday.
The earliest service called "Ash Wednesday for Commuters" was held from 7-7:30 a.m. on the church’s front steps. It was uniquely designed to give workers the opportunity to observe the first day of Lent yet still be in the office by 8 a.m.
“The liturgy, readings, and the things that you say were a bit abbreviated for this 7 a.m. service, so the folks could just gather together, worship and, of course, get the ashes on their forehead, then carry on with their day,” said Sarah Martinez, Trinity Episcopal Church communications director.
Martinez said the service is more than the "Ashes to go" trend that is becoming popular among churches.
“What I would say is different is those that are doing something that’s under that title of ‘Ashes to go’ is that those are extraordinarily brief,” Martinez said. “We wanted to offer the convenience of that particular type of thing, but we did not want to shorten the liturgy to the point where it didn’t have its full meaning.”
Attendance has doubled from six to 12 people over the past three years the service has been available. Four additional services took place throughout the day, including a special service for children. The children’s service was altered to illustrate to the children what the symbols of the service represent.
“All of the reading and the liturgy for that is in a language specifically for children, so it’s very much on their level,” Martinez said. “It’s a lovely service, and the parents really appreciate that.”
The other three services were either Rite 1 or Rite 2 liturgies. All five services were planned with a distinct focus group in mind.
“We’re really addressing different needs of different demographic groups,” Martinez said.