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Ashes To Go Brings the Church to the People of Eugene & Springfield

Kyra Buckley/KLCC

Today Episcopal Church members visited downtown Eugene and Springfield offering to mark ashes on people’s foreheads. They call it “Ashes to Go,” and it’s meant to bring the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, out of the church and into the streets.

In Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start to the 40 day fast before Easter. The name comes from the practice of burning palm branches and using the ashes to mark a cross on the forehead.
Neff Powell is a retired Episcopal Bishop and volunteer with Ashes to Go. He says normally the ritual takes place in church, but today they are bringing it into the public square.
Powell: “I think it’s important for us as Christians to get out, and without being pushy about it to sometimes practice our faiths in public, and we hand out a little book mark that has some descriptions on it, too.”
Ashes to Go is a nationwide movement. It began in 2007 in Missouri and has spread to over 30 states. It is not trademarked or limited to one sect, and you do not have to be Christian to receive an ash mark. This is the third year it’s been offered in Eugene and Springfield.   
Volunteers said they were happy to be out in the community sharing their traditions.
Powell: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return…"