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  • Writer's pictureJared Cramer

Ashes on the go

Below is an article from the March 2, 2017, edition of the Grand Haven Tribune about the ministry of our church.

Motorists often honked, waved and smiled as they drove along Grand Haven’s Beacon Boulevard on Wednesday morning.

As drivers pulled into the parking lot in front of Starbucks, the Rev. Jared Cramer offered them Ashes to Go.

Since she wasn’t sure she would make it to an evening service, Elizabeth Cooke said she decided to stop during her morning commute. She also planned to use the ash cross on her forehead as a way to educate the children she was on her way to teach a Bible service.

This year, Alicia Hager and St. John’s Episcopal Church Deacon John Edwin Infante Pinzon joined Cramer as almost a dozen motorists stopped before 9:30 a.m. to receive ashes. Hager, who is in the process of becoming an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church, said it was a busier morning than they expected.

Also among the people who stopped was a woman recovering from pneumonia. Hager said the woman stopped because she couldn’t attend a church service on Wednesday, but she could sit in her car.

“Everyone has been grateful,” Hager said.

As motorists passed, Infante Pinzon said he felt good offering the on-the-go opportunity alongside Cramer and Hager.

Infante Pinzon moved from Colombia to Grand Haven late last year, although he’s been working with Cramer at St. John’s Episcopal for about two years. He said they’re inviting the Hispanic community to attend services, and they’re also providing a safe place for them to feel “welcomed and loved.”

Cramer, rector of St. John’s Episcopal, started offering Ashes to Go in 2013. He said Ash Wednesday is important because it forces people to confront that everyone is a sinner and mortal, but they still have the love of God.

Hager said it’s important for the church to be out in the community.

“It’s important to bring the church into the world, and that’s what we’re doing,” she said.

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