North Branford Congregational Church Caters to Morning Commuters on Ash Wednesday
For the second year running, North Branford First Congregational Church is offering "Ash on Your Dash" – a rush hour Ash Wednesday offering catering to commuters. The option offers commuters a quick pit stop to receive ashes at the altar, and still make it to work on time.
With it's impressive white church building located directly alongside the Route 80 commuter corridor, the idea behind "Ash on Your Dash" is to open the doors for busy commuters who can't avoid the morning rush, but don't want to miss getting their ashes, either, said The Rev. Vance Taylor.
"They're welcome anytime between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Ash Wednesday," March 1, said Rev. Taylor. "They can come and go in two minutes; or they can sit silently in a pew for a few minutes of solitude, and soak in some spirituality."
To help keep it a smooth commute, First Church is also rolling out coffee and donuts (courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts) to give away during "Ash on Your Dash."
"If someone is going to stop for coffee anyway, they can do that with us," said Rev. Taylor.
"Ash on Your Dash" is First Church's way of helping people balance faith with their busy lives. The ashes placed on the forehead "... visibly and symbolically remind us of our mortality, our humanity, and our need for humility as we enter the season of Lent, itself a time for us to repent, reform and grow in our relationships with God, with ourselves and with others," explained Rev. Taylor.
"Said a little differently, it's a time of "atonement", to come close to God and seek God's forgiveness, and if you split the word apart – "at one-ment" – a time for us to be at one with our Lord!," he added.
He said "Ash on Your Dash" also offers a window into a church that's evolving to meet today's interests and demands.
"Our hope, too, is maybe people will see we do things a little non-traditionally, which may encourage them to check us out," said Rev. Taylor.
Those seeking a traditional, structured Ash Wednesday worship service are invited to join in at 7 p.m. on March 1.
Along more non-traditional lines, throughout the season of Lent, the church will offer Wednesday evening Taizé worship -- an hour-long meditative, candle-lit service with music, prayer and quiet reflection.
First Church also offers a unique Easter Sunday Sunrise Service at Lake Gaillard (with property access courtesy of the Regional Water Authority).
In addition, the church hosts traditional services in its sanctuary for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
North Branford's First Congregational Church is located at 1680 Foxon Road (Route 80). For more information, visit www.northbranfordcongregational.org