GALVESTON — If the people won’t come to the church, then the church will go to the people, figure the ministers of Trinity Episcopal Church.
Three members of the church’s clergy stood on the sidewalk along Seawall Boulevard on Wednesday with a sign nearby advertising “Ashes to Go.” For two hours, they turned the scaffolding that marks the location of the Balinese Room into a kind of Ash-Wednesday-only chapel.
The off-site service was a matter of facing the reality of the times, the Rev. Jeremiah Griffin said.
“More than anything, this is an acknowledgment that people are overworked,” Griffin said.
Typically, the church performs Ash Wednesday services in the sanctuary downtown. Like many Christian denominations, the church recognizes the placing of a mark of ash as a sign of sorrow and humility at the beginning of the Lenten season.
While the typical Ash Wednesday service may last about an hour, the street-side service took about five minutes.
Andy Gerhart rode to the Seawall service on his bicycle from his home on 16th Street. He’s not a church member, but had called the church to see when and where he could be anointed. When he arrived, he joined people who had been walking past and others who had pulled over to the side of the road upon seeing the priests.
“I think it’s awesome,” Gerhart said.
Others who had joined him said they had not had time to get to church in the morning because they had to get their children to school or themselves to work.
The church had no expectation about how many people would show up, said the Rev. Susan Kennard, but they did bring along 100 prayer books to pass out to those that stopped by.
About 20 minutes into their afternoon, they had already had gone through 30.
“We may run out,” she said.