St. Philip's to bring Ashes to Go to Laurel MARC commuters on Ash Wednesday

In a new twist on a centuries-old tradition, St. Philip's Episcopal Church will offer Ashes to Go at the Laurel MARC station during the morning commute on Ash Wednesday.

From 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, the Rev. Sheila McJilton will be available on the train platform to mark foreheads with ashes, following the Christian tradition of starting the holy season of Lent.

"Ashes to Go is a way to bring the presence of God into the world," McJilton said in a release. "God is not found just withing church walls."

St. Philip's Church will also offer Ash Wednesday services at noon and 7:30 p.m. in its sanctuary at 522 Main St.

This is the first year St. Philip's is participating in what is a national ministry with its own website, The movement traces its origin to a group of clergy in Missouri in 2007, and took off in 2011 when it was promoted by the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, where more than 25 religious groups took ashes to public places such as coffee shops and train stations on Ash Wednesday.

"Others have found that folks on the street, at intersections, on train or Metro stations, really do want to make a connection between their spiritual lives and their daily lives," McJilton said. "St. Philip's hopes to help make that happen here in the community of Laurel."

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