ELKINS - Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season in Christian religions, came with a convenience factor for the Davis & Elkins College community. Benfield-Vick Chaplin the Rev. Laura Brekke brought ashes to the people in a station set up outside Benedum Dining Room.
Deemed “Ashes to Go,” the set-up allowed Brekke and student members of the Chapel Leadership Team to dispense ashes to anyone unable to attend a church service that day.
“We know that students, faculty and staff are really busy, so for many of them a full chapel service may not fit into their schedule,” Brekke said. “We still want them to be able to celebrate the beginning of Lent and this is a way we could do that.”
Symbolizing that “From Dust We Came and To Dust We Shall Return,” the distribution of ashes on the forehead in the form of a cross is a tradition in Christian liturgical churches.
“In recent times, more churches are reclaiming the practice,” Brekke explained. “It’s non-sacramental, meaning anyone can receive them.”
For all Christians, the six weeks of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time for reflection on spiritual priorities and penitence in preparation for the resurrection of Christ.
“Many people give up something or take on a spiritual practice,” Brekke said. “It’s a way of letting go of a bad practice and adding a good one that hopefully continues after Easter.”
Brekke added that at D&E several activities are planned in observance of Lent, including weekly Lenten Bible studies focusing on the book “Being Christian” by Rowan Williams at 8 p.m. every Thursday in Robbins Memorial Chapel. There will also be a Maundy Thursday service on March 29.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Photo Caption: Davis & Elkins College Benfield-Vick Chaplain the Rev. Laura Brekke, left, dispenses ashes to student Ester Bolmenaes of Sweden at the “Ashes to Go” station outside of Benedum Dining Room.