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  • Revd Dr Simon Vibert

Ash Wednesday in the modern Evangelical Church


- Do modern Anglican Evangelicals observe Ash Wednesday?

- What is the history behind this first day of Lent?

- How might it help us in our discipline and walk with the Lord?


Protestant vv Catholic tradition

Some of the caution surrounding Ash Wednesday, at least among Anglican Evangelicals, is the perception that Ash Wednesday is a Catholic practice. Cranmer strongly believed it should not be part of Church of England worship, and the imposition of Ashes was ruled illegal as recently as the 1870s (see Church Association Tract 259).


The origin of this day is unclear, but certainly dates back to the early centuries of the Church.


Modern Catholics recognise the “Imposing the ashes” on Ash Wednesday as part of a penitential service. The priest will mark the head of the worshippers with ash, created by the burnt palm crosses from the previous year.