Ash Wednesday Service at the First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church of Camden will hold an Ash Wednesday service this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. The Rev. Kevin Pleas will officiate and Deborah Hitchings will serve as liturgist. Communion will be served.

Why Do We Gather? Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent with a moving and ancient ceremony that originated in Gaul in the sixth century. Our Ash Wednesday worship service is penitential in nature. It calls upon us to humbly face in ourselves those ways in which we fall short of God's will for our lives as a means of opening ourselves to the possibility of God's healing grace and forgiveness.

The ashes are traditionally produced by burning the dried palms left over from the previous year's Palm Sunday service. In the burning of the palms, we recognize that those who cheered Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday were some of the same people who called for his crucifixion the following Friday. Ash Wednesday invites us to recognize that, in much the same way, by our own failures of love and faith, we too participate in the death of Christ. Yet, as our faith in Christ affirms, all those who come before God seeking forgiveness will be joyfully received.

The service of ashes then, is one of confession and healing, as well as a re-dedication to the ministry of Christ. The ashes are placed on the forehead in the sign of the cross as a reminder of Paul's words, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."


The church is located at 55 Elm Street and is handicapped accessible. Members of the community are invited to participate in the service. For more information call 236-4821.


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