St. Mark's Lutheran Church of Van Wert held "Ashes 2 Go" for Ash Wednesday. Pictured is Pastor Will Haggis placing ashes on a residents forehead. (Photo courtesy of St. Mark's Lutheran Church Van Wert Facebook page)
St. Mark's Lutheran Church of Van Wert held "Ashes 2 Go" for Ash Wednesday. Pictured is Pastor Will Haggis placing ashes on a residents forehead. (Photo courtesy of St. Mark's Lutheran Church Van Wert Facebook page)

VAN WERT – A new concept in celebrating Ash Wednesday, “Ashes 2 Go,” took place at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on Ash Wednesday, March 6, from 7 to 9 a.m. Pastor Will Haggis was stationed in the church lot at that time, ready to offer prayer and mark foreheads with palm ashes in the sign of the cross.

“In the midst of our busy lifestyles, this can be an easy, quick way to put meaning into the start of your Lenten Journey,” said Haggis.

“We recognize that not everyone can go to worship,” said Haggis. “There might be some people that might not understand what Ash Wednesday is or not everyone has a church home."

Haggis said that it was 14 degrees at the time the celebration started but he didn’t think much about it because he was caught up in the excitement of the people for the special day.

Haggis said that Ash Wednesday is a sign of repentence, God’s grace, forgiveness and love.

“It was a way to give back to the community, “said Haggis. “Some folks who participated were members of our church, but we had more folks who were not members of the church. I got to meet some folks I had never met before. It was a great way to start off the week for Ash Wednesday."

“People would honk as they drove by in their trucks and cars on Washington Street,” continued Haggis. “It was cold but some people brought hot chocolate. The two hours went by very quick.”

Haggis said that the concept of Ash Wednesday was established at the Council of Benevento in 1091 A.D.

“They stated at that council that the practice of observing Ash Wednesday should be for all Christians and available to all Christians as a sign of God’s grace, love and forgiveness,” observed Haggis..

Haggis quoted Joel 2:13, “Rend your heart and not your garments, Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.”

Haggis said that he always tells people that the meaning of Lent is cease to do wrong, start to do right, and confess one’s failure at both.