Philadelphia Priest brings Ash Wedneday to the streets with ‘Ashes to Go’
Rev. Ethan Alexander Jewett brought the church to the people instead of waiting for the people to come to the church.
Jewett, of Saint Clement’s Anglo-Catholic Church on Appletree Street, stood on the corner of Chestnut and 19th Streets today with parishioner Curt Mangel spreading the sign of the cross on foreheads of busy Center City folk who want the blessing but can’t get to the service.
“A lot of people can’t make it to church for one reason or another,” Jewett said. “So, we actually feel that we should actually be out with the people as Jesus did.”
He serviced the community for more than an hour in the morning and then again in the afternoon as part of the national “Ashes on the Go” campaign. As of 12:30 p.m. the priest blessed 378 souls.
“We’ll easily hit 500 by 2 p.m.,” Mangel said.
Kristie Abel, mother of three little boys, loved the convenience.
“Now I don’t have to go to church today,” she said.
Jewett, originally from Chicago, brought the idea to Philly.
“I thought this would be a great place to do it particularly in a larger urban area like this where so many people have a hard time getting to church in the day or in the evening,” he said.
Jewett said he wants the church to be far more accessible and far more welcoming to parishioners.
“I think it’s much more important for us to be where the people are,” Jewett said, “And not always expect them to come to us.”
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