Methodists/Ash Wednesday

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Question
I was confused recently when our D.S. invited us to an Ash Wednesday 11:00 a.m. service and then to be a guest for lunch following the service.  Isn't Ash Wednesday a day of fasting?

Answer
Dear Ralph:

    Ash Wednesday begins Lent, which at its origin was "a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts," and then became "a time of penance for all Christians." (Andy Langford, Blueprints for Worship, Abingdon). "Ash Wednesday . . . centers on a most powerful sign-act: The Imposition of Ashes." (Same)
    I have always understood the ashes as the major liturgical recognition of Ash Wednesday. Fasting has never been part of my observance of the day.

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The Rev. William E. Olewiler

Expertise

United Methodist church structure and doctrine. Science and religion. Christian Education and the Sunday School. Religion and race. Women in the church. United Methodist pastor for 22 years. Member, commissions on Religion and Race and Status and Role of Women. Masters in Divinity and Religious Education.

Experience

Ordained deacon and elder, United Methodist Church. District and conference leadership.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, George Washington University, Washington DC Master of Arts, Political Science, Brown University, Providence RI Master of Arts, Teaching Secondary Social Studies, Teachers College/Columbia University, New York NY Master of Divinity, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC Doctor of Ministry, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC

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