Ash Wednesday marked
Rev. Tiina Cote, right, of Calvin United Church anoints Rev. Linda Fuller of Wesley United Church in downtown Pembroke during Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Over the course of an hour, the pair smudged and offered blessings to around 30 people, using the ash generated from burning last year's palm fronds
When those who want to be anointed with ash can't get to the church, the church has come to them.
On Wednesday, Rev. Tiina Cote of Calvin United Church and Rev. Linda Fuller of Wesley United Church stood throughout noon hour at the corner of Pembroke Street West and Victoria Street, offering passersby blessings and being smudged with ash.
Over the course of an hour, the pair smudged around 30 people, using the ash generated from burning last year's palm fronds.
“This is a way to mark our mortality,” Cote said. “A reminder we come from dust and to dust we will eventually return. In between, we are always the beloved children of God.”
Ash Wednesday is a Christian day for peace and the first day of Lent, which is 40 days of repentance before Easter. It derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants to either the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel" or the dictum "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Christians continued the practice of using ashes as an external sign of repentance.
The two reverends say observances of Lent have changed somewhat among the United Church in that it is less about depriving yourself of things and more about self reflection and determining what can one do to give back to the community or improve oneself.
“It is about focusing on things in our lives we would want to change,” Cote said.
Fuller agreed, saying it is less about fasting and more about feasting, in the sense of attempting to use one's energy to improve things.
“It's a more positive thing,” she said. “Reaching inside oneself and figuring out what can you do to change the world.”