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Pandemic causes changes to Ash Wednesday service
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Wednesday, Feb. 17 is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period when churches of various denominations ask their members to re-dedicate themselves to prayer, giving alms, making sacrifices, reading Scripture, and fasting. 

The observance is an opportunity for the faithful to sharpen their senses and focus their minds and hearts on the reign of God. The Lenten season ends on Easter Sunday, which falls on April 4.

 In Bryan County, Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church is handling its Ash Wednesday service a bit differently this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The church will host a drive-up Ash Wednesday ritual from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. Participants can pull their vehicles up to the church, located at 15985 GA-144 in Richmond Hill, where they’ll be asked to form a socially distanced line beneath a pop-up tent to receive the rite of ashes before returning to their cars. Afterward, everyone is encouraged to log on at 7 p.m. for a virtual church service via Zoom.

Pastor Devin Strong and other event organizers from the church expect the distribution of ashes will be orderly, quick and convenient for the church’s congregants. However, above all else, the pastor sees it as a way to keep his members safe as COVID cases in the area continue to rise.

“We are excited to have come up with a non-traditional way to observe a traditional holy day of obligation. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a very important time for the church – one of repentance, reflection and renewal when we remember Jesus’s suffering and sacrifice. Commemorating the occasion gives us an opportunity to pray together for all those who suffer as we look toward the joyous occasion of Easter,” Strong said.

For more information on Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church, please visit www.spiritofpeacelutheran. org.

Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church’s mission is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through ministry, promoting a lifestyle of worship and loving service through word and prayer so that all of God’s children will know Christ’s transforming joy.

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