Local churches adapt to Ash Wednesday amid COVID-19 pandemic

(ALBANY, GA) – Across Albany, despite below freezing temperatures, reverends and their congregants were giving out Ashes-To Go to start lent.

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church Reverend, Nick Roosevelt, “This year, it’s a little different, because this will be the only way in-person to experience Ash Wednesday for our community and congregations this year.”

“It’s ironic. Last year we did ashes to go here for the first, without realizing that we were preparing for a pandemic. But Ashes-To-Go has become an American tradition over the last several years,” says Reverend, Galen Mirate from the Episcopal Church of St. John and St. Mark.

This is the second period of Lent to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Episcopal Church reverends and their clergies, it re-establishes a much needed connection.

“We’ve taken the attitude that, as long as we can find a way to celebrate our liturgical seasons, our holidays, our church feast. If we can do that and do it in a safe way, we’ll change what we’re doing to do it safely,” says St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Reverend, Walter Hobgood.

Local churchgoer, Lydia Bullard says, “See your priest, and your deacon. And I just wish there was a whole line of us here so I could wave and see other people too.”

“I am very blessed and our congregation is very blessed that they are continuing to do this in a very safe and holy manner. It’s a great way to start lent,” says Albany’s Leigh Ann Shipley, who received her ashes Wednesday morning with her daughters.

While much different from previous years, the sense of community was not lost as people received their ashes.

Lent ends on Sunday, April 3rd.