Ash Wednesday service

Ash Wednesday is a day of solemn assembly that is built right into the church year. It is a fast day, a day of mourning for our sin and the sin of all humanity before God, a recognition of our mortality save for the grace of God and a request that the Lord remember our creation and breathe new life into our burned-out, dusty lives once more.

See related pages: Ash Wednesday, Season of Lent, Presbyterian Worship

Download PDF

(156.1 KB)

  1. Cara Ford; "I fail to understand why the Presbyterian church keeps moving closer to rather than further away from Roman Catholic practices" Why would you want to move further away from the Catholic Church, most of our Christian ancestors were Catholic, so it makes sense to become closer to the first Christian Church.

    by Bill Mangerie

    February 20, 2015

  2. Ms. Ford, David's comment below yours gets at the heart of it. There was a strong rejection of the practice of Lent in early Reformed tradition--a belief rooted in the conviction that if we have special seasons of discipline, we allow for special seasons of laxity. As David notes, we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent in a spirit of freedom--one is free to adopt the practice insofar as it draws you closer to Christ, or not to if that draws you closer to Christ.

    by Charles Wiley

    February 18, 2015

  3. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church and never celebrated Ash Wednesday. Our church recently started with this practice which I find offensive because it is part of the Roman Catholic tradition. I fail to understand why the Presbyterian church keeps moving closer to rather than further away from Roman Catholic practices.

    by Cara Ford

    February 18, 2015

  4. Resources for Ash Wednesday have been in official PC(USA) worship books since 1966, beginning with the Book of Common Worship Provisional Services. The 1993 Book of Common Worship was the first to provide the option of imposing ashes, with specific guidance for doing so. One of the gifts of the Reformed tradition is the freedom to adopt or adapt such practices of the larger/ecumenical church, or to refrain from doing so. In recent decades, it seems that many Presbyterian congregations have found this tradition a helpful way to call members to a renewed sense of spiritual discipline and Christian discipleship -- the way of life to which we are called not only in Lent, but throughout the year.

    by David Gambrell

    March 5, 2014

  5. Why did the Presbyterian Church start recognizing Ash Wednesday, along with marking congregation members with ash crossed upon their head? I never heard of it til recently as we were taught that it was a papal practice.

    by Laurie MacTaggart

    March 5, 2014