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Teams provide Ashes to Go

Below is an article from the February 15, 2018, edition of the Grand Haven Tribune that mentions the ministry of our church.

Motorists along Grand Haven’s Beacon Boulevard honked and smiled Wednesday morning as the Rev. Jared Cramer and Phyla Bramer of St. John’s Episcopal Church waved.


They were among three stations offering Ashes to Go for people who couldn’t make it to a church service for Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Christianity’s Lenten season. During the morning stations alone, St. John’s Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church provided ashes to more people than in previous years, Cramer said.


First Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Troy Hauser Brydon and Associate Pastor Jill VanderWal greeted employees and residents at the Grand Haven courthouse Wednesday morning. About a handful of people stopped throughout the morning and thanked them for offering the opportunity, Brydon said.


“It’s a good day to have a unified presence in the community for people who find it meaningful,” VanderWal said.


Bramer, a longtime St. John’s Episcopal parishioner, said she wanted to offer ashes as a way to help draw attention to the Lenten season.


Throughout the morning, Cramer and Bramer remained busy at a new location on southbound Beacon Boulevard near Fifth Third Bank. Cramer said he thinks the location was visible and offered easy access for people to turn off and meet them.


Cramer said that he feels good they were able to reach people on Ash Wednesday, saying it is a day for all Christians to feel unified because it’s not a secular holiday.


Large snow piles along Beacon Boulevard prompted Alicia Hager and the Rev. John Edwin Infante Pinzon of St. John’s Episcopal Church to slightly change their location. Instead of standing along the busy corridor, they were stationed in the parking lot.


Hager said it was an honor to offer Ashes to Go, and she recognized some people who have stopped in previous years.


“Everyone who stops seems to be grateful,” she said.


While there’s a deeper faith component related to Lent, Brydon said it’s a good opportunity for everyone to reflect and better themselves. He said Lent is a season to take stock in life and pause.

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