Published Sunday, February 10, 2013
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
Lent will begin this week, and area churches are planning Ash Wednesday services.
One of those services – set for noon Wednesday at Cornerstone United Methodist Church at Thomas Crossroads – will mark the beginning of this year’s series of community ecumenical Lenten services and luncheons. The services have been held for several years and have proven popular with Cowetans from across a broad theological spectrum.
Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter, when Christians remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The 40 days also are often tied to Jesus’ 40 days of temptation and fasting in the wilderness.
Christians often make sacrifices during Lent – giving up coffee, chocolate or a favorite pastime.
Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent begins. Pancakes are often prepared and served on Shrove Tuesday as rich foods as cleared from the kitchen in preparation for a simpler diet during Lent.
The youth of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will hold their annual Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and jazz eucharist on Tuesday. The supper is a fundraiser for the youth’s early summer mission trip. For information on the supper, call the church at 770-253-4264.
The Jazz Eucharist will begin at 6:45 p.m. That service will conclude with the burying of the Alleluia Banner. Several Christian traditions bury the banner on Shrove Tuesday and “resurrect” it on Easter. Many also refrain from singing Alleluias during Lent.
Ash Wednesday dates to at least the eighth century. In most Ash Wednesday services, worshippers are offered the opportunity to have crosses of ash traced on their foreheads by clergy. The clergy say, “From dust you came and to dust you shall return” or something similar.
The ashes often are made using palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday observance.
Community Lenten services will start Wednesday with a noon service at Cornerstone that will include the imposition of ashes. Dr. Harry Barrow, pastor of Newnan Presbyterian Church, will bring the message. Cornerstone is located at Thomas Crossroads at the intersection of Highways 34 and 154.
Other services scheduled on Ash Wednesday are set for 6:15 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Newnan, 6:30 p.m. at Newnan Presbyterian Church, 6:45 p.m. at Central Baptist Church and at 7 p.m. at Cornerstone United Methodist, at Resurrection Lutheran Church and at Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist in Lone Oak.
Ash Wednesday services often include communion.
Community Lenten services are held weekly on Wednesdays at noon. The service rotates among participating churches, and the message is always brought by a pastor from another church.
A $5 meal is served after each service. Dates, locations and preachers for the remaining Lenten services are:
• Feb. 20, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rick Price of Cornerstone Methodist.
• Feb. 27, St. George Catholic Church, Joel Richardson of Central Baptist.
• March 6, First Baptist Church, Henry Atem of St. George Catholic.
• March 13, First United Methodist of Newnan, Jimmy Patterson of First Baptist of Newnan.
• March 20, Newnan Presbyterian Church, Alan Sandlin of St. Paul’s Episcopal.
• March 27, Central Baptist, Med Roach of First Methodist.
Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, will be observed on March 24 in churches which follow the western calendar this year. Easter will be March 31.
Orthodox Christians will not celebrate Easter until May 5 this year.