Ashland’s First Congregational United Church of Christ will offer “Love and Ashes to Go,” a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition, from 7 to 9 a.m. on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 717 Siskiyou Blvd.

First Congregational UCC is part of a nationwide movement that has clergy and lay people visiting transit stops, street corners, coffee shops and college campuses offering to mark the foreheads of interested passersby with ashes and invite them to reflect on both mortality and love.

In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. For centuries, Christians have received a cross of ashes on the face at the beginning of that season as a reminder of both mortality and blessedness, repentance and love. “Love and Ashes to Go” provides the opportunity to participate in that tradition for people who have lost their connection to a church or have never participated before.

“Love and Ashes to Go is about making our spirituality concrete by bringing it out from behind church walls and into the commuting, working, learning world where we need it every day,” says the Rev. Christina Kukuk, senior pastor at Ashland UCC. “We often remind one another at Ashland UCC that life is short, and none of us has too much time. We need concrete reminders of forgiveness and blessedness in the tough places of our lives. The fact that Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday align this year is just bonus. What better time to be reminded that how we spend our days is really how we spend our life?”

In Ashland, First Congregational UCC is offering Ashes to Go for the first time this year.

Car commuters may enter the parking lot near Siskiyou and Morton and loop counter-clockwise to exit. Bike commuters and are also welcome.

Hot coffee (for those who bring their own reusable travel mug) and doughnuts will be offered while supplies last.

A traditional Ash Wednesday service will also be held in the sanctuary at 7 p.m.