Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Celebrating Ash Wednesday

Tonight is our final Wednesday service here at All Saints, St. Andrews. We have a finale concert on Friday, and one more Sunday morning. I can't believe how quickly our time has flown...

When we realized our final Wednesday would be Ash Wednesday, we started a little debate. Our Wednesdays have been contemporary, active, informal, and ecumenical. Would we keep that format for Ash Wednesday? Would people want to revert to a more traditional model of worship for this particular day?

We decided that our Wednesdays were working well and attracting new people, so we'd stick with our format. Rev. John invited clergy from different churches to participate in the planning and leading. We wanted to mark this special day in the Christian calendar with a different touch on the music, so we incorporated a sung psalm and some Taize choruses.

Here is our service outline, including music titles, 
for tonight's Ash Wednesday worship:

Trumpet voluntary.
Responsive reading crafted from the book of Joel.
Piano solo for reflection.

Opening Congregational Music: 
All Creatures of Our God and King                                                  
Refiner's Fire
Psalm 51 - musical setting by Infinitely More

Solo: Lighter and Brighter and Deeper, 
written by Gerald Flemming, performed by Infinitely More.

An Ash Wednesday Message

The Imposition (distribution) of Ashes

During the Imposition of the Ashes: 
Wait For The Lord (Taize)
Live in Charity (Taize)
For God So Loved - written by Gerald Flemming

Closing Congregational Song: 
What Wondrous Love is This

Closing Prayer and Benediction

We'll have the worship band play on the opening and closing songs. During the imposition of ashes, we'll just have guitar and voices for a more pared down sound.

I love the flow of this service. As with every Wednesday, we'll start with a meal, and continue our worship around the tables in the Parish Hall. I love that we've incorporated both hymns and contemporary worship music. I like that we're participating in the ancient ritual of the ashes, while singing songs written in recent church history.

How are celebrating Ash Wednesday? 
Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section...

We're spending the winter as Musicians in Residence at All Saints Church in beautiful St. Andrews By-The-Sea, New Brunswick. 
Follow our adventures at 

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!


Helen Stephenson said...

This was a very beautiful service; so different from our traditional Ash Wednesday service but no less meaningful. I think because it was ecumenical made it very special, uniting many people in this very person experience. Thank you for helping to create this!

Allison Lynn said...

It was our pleasure to work with the different churches and create this unique evening. And so satisfying to see everyone hanging out and chatting after the service! A night of true community!