Ash Wednesday 2019, Year C — Planning Notes

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With All Your Heart Worship Series: RETURN TO ME
Ash Wednesday — March 6, 2019

Calendar Notes

 

March
March 1        World Day of Prayer
March 3        Transfiguration of the Lord
March 6        Ash Wednesday, and Lent Begins
March 31      UMCOR Sunday

April
April 14         Palm/Passion Sunday
April 14-20   Holy Week
April 18         Maundy Thursday
April 19         Good Friday
April 20         Holy Saturday
April 21         Easter Sunday
April 24         Festival of God’s Creation
April 25         World Malaria Day (UM Communications)

May
All Month      Christian Home Month
                      Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 6-12       Christian Family Week
May 12          Festival of the Christian Home/Mother’s Day (USA)
May 18-19     Change the World Weekend
May 19          Heritage Sunday
May 24          Aldersgate Day
May 27          Memorial Day (USA)
May 30          Ascension of the Lord

Planning for this Series

“Ash Wednesday begins with dust and ashes.” This service is the beginning of our holy season of Lent. Historically, this was a time in the church year for interested people to undergo intensive catechesis and formation in preparation for baptism and joining the church. The baptisms would take place at the Easter Vigil service six weeks later; and after that, people would be considered full Christians, with the ability to take part in the sacrament of Holy Communion. (This ritual still takes place for adults converting to the Roman Catholic faith.)

We are marked with ashes at this service, a reminder of our mortality. Some planning notes for your service: your service probably will not take a full hour, which is fine. If your church is located in an urban area, you may want to offer a half hour lunch service, so that people from neighboring offices can attend. You may decide to do an evening service, or to hold a couple of services at difference times of the day. We do emphasize that Ash Wednesday is a solemn community experience, similar to taking Holy Communion. Therefore, we do not suggest an “Ashes to Go” experience. You may consider leaving the lights in your sanctuary dim and keep the music fairly solemn. This is just the beginning of your Lenten season, so let the tactile experience of receiving the ashes be the focus for the service, and keep your sermon short.