Coast Christians Mark The Beginning Of Lent

Mardi Gras is over and until Easter, Christians will renew their faith in God during the season of Lent. It begins each year with Ash Wednesday services.

Earline Sawyer attends every year.

"It's a time of reflection. It's a time to have a period of renewal during Lent and a time to anticipate the resurrection."

Rector Edward O'Connor says Ash Wednesday is a time to pause and take stock of our lives.

"We are reminded of our mortal and fragile nature. But it's a day that we enter into this process of discovering who we are and who God would have us to be as we approach Holy Week and that time of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection."

The spiritual journey begins with the ashes on the forehead. They are the crushed, burned palms from last year's Palm Sunday ceremony.

"Today for me, this Ash Wednesday, is about the hope of new life and rebuilding our lives and our hearts and our homes. And so today while we ponder our fragile mortal nature, we also remember that we are sealed by the holy spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own forever," O'Connor says.

The service was held at the Handsboro Presbyterian Church. But the parishioners are members of the destroyed St. Peter's By the Sea Episcopal Church. Churches across the Coast are opening their doors to other denominations.

"It doesn't matter what religion it is. Everybody's sharing space and everyone has really lived up to their Christian beliefs," Sawyer says.