From Left to Right--Rev. Aaron Stevens (St. Columba), Pastor Zach Courter (City Park Lutheran), Rev. Njeri Anne Wagana Hughes (St. Columba), and Rev. Dr. Frank Hegedűs (St. Margaret's Anglican Church)
Ash Wednesday welcomes us to the season of Lent with a crisp reminder of where we all came from and where we all are going. In the spirit of greater connectedness with our siblings in Christ, City Park Lutheran Church, along with St. Margaret's Anglican Church and St. Columba's Scottish Church, held and ecumenical ash Wednesday service for those wishing to engage in this ritual day. These are three protestant-heritage congregations who worship in the English Language here in Budapest, Hungary.
The service was held in St. Columba's Scottish church, and pastors from all three traditions led different parts of the service. Ecumenical events have a way of reminding those involved about the fact that there is usually more that we have in common than different. Ash Wednesday shares that same message. No matter who we are or what we do in the world, our bodies are all headed toward a similar reality. We will be dust.
Pastor Zach imposes the ashes onto Juliana Stein-Webber (YAGM)
Part of what made the service special was having some of our YAGM join us for the service as well. Because we were heading to Serbia for our YAGM Lent retreat the next day, both Juliana and Deanna were able to attend the service.
Personally, I was quite thankful for the opportunity to help plan the liturgy and lead the service with my colleagues who also lead English language worship services. While much of our job responsibilities often put us into contact with pastor colleagues throughout the region, I have not made the time to get to know the pastors in Budapest who lead similar congregations as well as I would have liked. This service, as well as the preparation for this service allowed that to happen.