AMESBURY (CBS) – Call it a sign of the times.

An Amesbury church is offering ashes to go on this Ash Wednesday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

Rev. Susan Esco Chandler stood outside St. James Episcopal Church for over an hour offering ashes to anyone who wanted them.

It’s a concept that started in the episcopal church six years ago, but it’s new to Amesbury.

“Everyone here said, ‘Let’s try it!'” said Rev. Chandler. “That’s really outreach and evangelism in its own way, but not a real pushy way.”

The reverend said that in this fast-paced world, she wanted to make it more convenient for people to receive their ashes.

Carol Larocque of Newbury took full advantage of the “Ashes To Go” program.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic, because I just do not have the time to attend a service. This is just fantastic,” said Larocque.

Comments (36)
  1. Scooby says:

    No, This is NOT fantastic. It is just lazy!!! If you are a true believer in your faith (whatever it may be) then you should abide by your faith & whatever it entails. Ashes to go!!! Whats next, drive by communion or baptism?

    1. Janice says:

      Did you receive your Ashes today? This is a nice service because otherwise there may be folks who otherwise would not have been able to receive their ashes. Think outside of yourself….this is Lent.

  2. FireGuyFrank says:

    Actually, Scooby, I thought this was something curb-side or at a neighborhood drive-thru coffee place.

    It’s a matter of time. How much time can someone spare out of the office or off the job to get ashes in this economy? Staffs are so thin, work so thick, that someone is reaching out to the faithful is a good thing.

  3. NikW says:

    I think it’s a great idea. Life with the way they are today is very busy and I think it’s great that the church tries to accomodate working people.

    1. Scooby says:

      Someone cannot find time to go to church at night? I do not participate in the Catholic Faith as an adult but I was raised in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church had services during the day (mostly for the stay at home moms & retired people) but they also had services at night on Ash Wednesday. I know this article was about the Episcopal Church. Couldn’t the Episcopal Church have services on Wednesday night (if they don’t offer them already)?

  4. eamjmae says:

    Let me get this straight Scooby….you do not even practice the religion, but you feel it is appropriate for you to criticize? I disagree.
    As for services at night, many services in my area start at 5pm. This is very difficult to make when you are commuting from Boston. This may not be the ideal situation, but for those of us, who do practice the religion, attend church on a regular basis, commute and work hard, this is a terrific idea.

    1. Scooby says:

      I do not participate in the Catholic Religion. However I do participate in a church which for me & my family works better. If Being Catholic works for you, great! (I am not being sarcastic when I say that, I mean that). If I recall correctly, at least in the church I grew up in, we had the service at 7pm. To me, the picture they showed of the elderly gentleman receiving his ashes outside doesn’t sit well. IF they (and by they I mean the pastor/priest) are going to accomodate people who work late or commute far, fine, do it inside. To me it just seems sacriligous to do it outside. Not to mention, the picture they used was during daylight hours. If the drive-thru Ash Wednesday service is to help those who cannot make it to the actual service then WHY was this accomodation done during daylight hours?

      1. Janice says:

        This church offered Ashes-To-Go at 7am AND 7pm Holy Eucharist with Communion so THERE.

      2. eamjmae says:

        Scooby, You make very valid points in regards to the picture depicted for the article and receiving ashes outside – I agree this is sacriligous. Unfortunately, my church does not have a 7pm service, just the 5pm even after a handful of us have suggested a later service. However, the members are primarily older/retired individuals and for the time being not much will change in terms of time. In the meantime, I feel fortunate enough I have a flexible/understanding work environment and was able to attend a church in Boston that offered several masses throughout the day.

        All that being said, I do feel allowing individuals the opportunity to receive ashes on the go (such as 7am) that have long commutes and strict work environments is good idea….

      3. tsalnew says:

        Scooby – sacrilegious? How in heavens name is it sacrilegious? If anything trying to contain God within four walls would be sacrilegious. Although I don’t believe either is. How do you set boundaries for God?

      4. Scooby says:

        @Tsal, Of course God is with you no matter where you are. I believe that any religious structure (if I believe in that tenant or not) is a holy place & should be treated as such. If we should try to contain GOD or not, I don’t know. The structures are there though & we should respect them.
        @EAMJMAE, I’m glad you were able to attend a church. There is nothing wrong with going to a different church to accomodate your belief system.

      5. tsalnew says:

        Scooby – how does receiving ashes outside of the church walls in any way disrespect the church. Are you saying you have to go to church to believe in God or to be religious? Does it disrespect the church if you pray at home or in a field? If you would point to where it is written that you must be inside a church to receive ashes, I’d appreciate it.

    2. Janice says:

      This church offered the 7am Ashes to go AND 7pm Holy Eucharist with Communion service….to accommodate as many people as possible.

  5. Mary Muir says:

    Next there will be drive by Eucharist… Shows where the modern world’s priorities are

  6. Janice says:

    Ah, but the Ashes to go is for the busy person who needs to be at work and comes home way too exhausted or not in time. The Ashes To Go was at 7am and Rev. Susan also had a 7pm Eucharist with Holy Communion for those who could make it to church. Unfortunately, I could not make the 7pm Service so I felt blessed that I was able to receive my Ashes at 7am.

    1. The Rev. Susan Esco Chandler says:

      Bless you, Janice! It was a great service at 7pm, too!

  7. tsalnew says:

    I’m confused – if you believe in God, don’t you also believe He is with you no matter where you are or what you are doing? It seems to me that this church attempted to bring God outside of man’s walls.

  8. Ernie Farrar says:

    For those following the story. Christ comes and walks among us instead of staying on the throne. Instead of staying in the synagogue with respected believers he enters the streets and ministers among those remember that they are “sinners”. Out in God’s creation is at least as holy a place as any church building. Church is not the building it is the gather community of faith where ever that might be. That might be “going into all the world making disicples” rather than sheltered with the “saint’s”. That might be among the least and the lost as much as it is among the comfortable and complacent.

    1. gramps says:

      Ernie, what has god’s bathroom habits got to do with anything?

      1. Willow says:

        gramps, your disrespect is unbelievable.

      2. The Batman says:

        A little decency, respect, tolerance for others beliefs and opinions from you and many others on this site would be a welcome and refreshing change for the better.

      3. gramps says:

        Willow et al’, here’s your RX to heaven..

        Indulgences, that’s the ticket!….to heaven that is.

        The Catholic Church has been offering two kinds of incentives to entice people to Church & Salvation for hundreds of years!……

        Partial & Plenary ‘Indulgences’…..

        There are 30+ ways to obtain a partial or plenary indulgence…..

        They’re ‘NOT’ transferable & No ‘Bo-go’s’!

        Cannot be combined with other offers!

        At least ‘God’ believes in Term Limits’!

        ‘HEAVEN’ or bust!


      4. Tsalnew says:

        Good grief gramps. Do you think the catholic church is the answer to all religious beliefs. No wonder you are bitter. You have a mind of your own. Why would you form any opinion based on what man interprets to be the “truth”.

      5. Tsalnew says:

        Not saying anything wrong with the catholic religion. Simply saying that a person has to form his own beliefs and not let anyone dictate what they should be

    2. gramps says:

      The Planets 1st two comic books, ‘The bible & koran’….Has so far caused the deaths of, eight hundred & nine million, two hundred & fifteen thousand, seven hundred & thirty two+-……809,215,732…per ‘GOOGLE’…. in the name of ‘god & religion’..

      That’s almost one ‘BILLION’ people…..nice ‘fella’ this god guy!


      Plus the two GI’s shot yesterday because some korans got tossed in the fire, by mistake….&…. Obama again appoligizes to Islam…

      1. Tsalnew says:

        Gramps. Man has caused the deaths. Not religion. Not a difficult concept. Not sure why you can’t grasp it

      2. Tsalnew says:

        Btw Obama and the united states should apologize. It was inexcusable.

      3. gramps says:

        SO IT’S OK TO ‘KILL’ GI’s?

      4. The Batman says:

        Let’s put religion aside for a moment and not use it as an excuse to be nasty and insulting to virtually everyone who posts on here and exercise a little decency and tolerance for their own sakes.

      5. The Batman says:

        While I in no way condone or excuse the shootings of these two GI’s, bear in mind that we are in their country trying to impose our will and totally ignoring their culture, customs and beliefs. Don’t you think there would be a huge outcry if that happened in this country? Start putting yourself in someone else’s position for a change and stop wallowing in your own pity pool because an institution, invented by man, let you down at some point in the past.

      6. Willow says:

        gramps, I’m not Catholic. If you have such a hatred for that religion, why don’t you take it up with the Pope.

      7. The Batman says:

        You keep referring to the historical total of death “in the name of religion”. How about in the last eighty years the were over 100 million deaths caused (or “allowed”) by three totalitarian regimes, where the free exercise of religion was forbidden or a cause for execution. Under Hitler, Stalin and Mao Ze-Dong. These three guys put the rest of history to shame by comparison.

      8. Tsalnew says:

        Good grief that was a leap and a ridiculous statement and sad even for you

      9. gramps says:

        Willow, Pope Bennie & Cardnal Bernie, ‘birds of a feather’, covered up the ‘scandle’…

        The current Pope is just a guilty, if not more-so. He was Bernies’ boss @ the time. (Protector of the Faith)

        Law reported to him & did his bidding….When things started to get too ‘hot’ Ratzinger aka Bennie the 16th, protected himself along with Bernie & got him out-a-dodge, gave him a cushie job & most importantly away from the ‘long arm’s’ of US law. Safe & sound within a foreign country, ‘The Vatican’….

        Ratzinger’s 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus clarified the confidentiality of internal Church investigations, as defined in the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis, into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse. This became a target of controversy during the sex abuse scandal.[22] While bishops hold the secrecy pertained only internally, and did not preclude investigation by civil law enforcement, the letter was often seen as promoting a coverup.[23] Later, as Pope, he was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity from prosecution


      10. gramps says:

        Willow, Pope Bennie & Cardnal Bernie, ‘birds of a feather’, covered up the church ‘scandle’…The current Pope is just a guilty, if not more-so. He was Bernies’ boss @ the time. (Protector of the Faith)

        Law reported to him & did his bidding….When things started to get too ‘hot’ Ratzinger aka Bennie the 16th, protected himself along with Bernie & got him out-a-dodge, gave him a cushie job & most importantly away from the ‘long arm’s’ of US law. Safe & sound within a foreign country, ‘The Vatican’….

        Bennie as Pope, was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity from prosecution


  9. jaygee says:

    Perhaps the Catholic Church could try this but , oh my God, not with women priests pressing the ashes into the “sinners”.

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