the priest from our neighboring Episcopalian Church standing on the corner with a couple of altar boys and/or girls offering passersby ashes. I didn't have time to stop, which I really wanted to do, so I rushed by.
Foundry helped introduce the idea of ashes-on-the-run to Washington when folk from our Sunday Night @Foundry congregation distributed ashes at the Dupont Metro stop last year. The story made CNN. This morning we had two teams distributing ashes at both the Dupont Metro and the Columbia Heights Metro stops.
I was fascinated to read that 20 Episcopalian congregations are offering ashes at Metro stops today. "Wow," I thought. "The Episcopalians stole our idea."
Except it really wasn't our idea. We "borrowed" it from our friends at Urban Village Church in Chicago (who have 60 Ash Wednesday stations planned for throughout Chicago this year). Who knows where Urban Village may have gotten the idea?
The website "Ashes to Go" claims the idea of taking ashes to the streets on Ash Wednesday originated in 2006 in an ecumenical group that met in St. Louis, Mo. Maybe.
This year our local Washington, D.C., Episcopalian bishop Mariann Edgar Budde (who is very cool, by the way) made news by joining those distributing ashes at Metro stops.
Of course, I think worshiping in our Foundry chapel, as we did at 8 a.m. this morning, or in our church sanctuary as we will at 7 p.m. this evening, is a more powerful way to begin Lent.
Yet, for those who paused this morning for even just a half-moment to remember their mortality and to think for a moment about the mysteries of life and death, even this is a very good thing.
So thanks to our clergy and volunteers --Methodist, Episcopalian or whatever-- who got up early and were at the Metro stops offering ashes to all.