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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Adapting a meaningful Ash Wednesday service for a care home setting

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

The start of Lent was marked in an appropriate way at one of the care homes that Anna Chaplain Joan Grenfell serves in Jesmond, Newcastle. Joan writes to say:

‘I had a very moving service in Craghall Care Home where I offered the imposition of ashes in a slightly different way.

Anna Chaplain Joan Grenfell

‘I was aware that the residents had missed Ash Wednesday and I felt it was important for them to remain connected to important points in the church’s year which they had been used to as more active members of the church.

‘I had taken ashes which had been used in the Ash Wednesday service the previous week and explained to the residents that the ashes had come from the burning of palm crosses.

‘I was unsure about marking the cross on the forehead or even the hand of a resident. I was not sure how comfortable they would be with this.

‘I decided instead to take in small pieces of card, one for each resident, and to mark the cross on the card as the words of imposition were said. The resident was then given the card to have with them in their room throughout Lent. I think the residents had the time to be able to connect with the cross as it was marked on the card, and as the words were said. It was a beautiful service which was full of meaning.’




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