More Protestants observing Ash Wednesday

Have we started a trend?


Don’t assume every ash-marked forehead you see today belongs to a Catholic.

Ash Wednesday, long associated with Catholicism, is increasingly observed in Protestant churches.

The Rev. Joe DeRoulhac became senior minister of Redlands’ First Baptist Church in 1989 but didn’t preside over Ash Wednesday services there until 2003. The idea came from an interfaith Ash Wednesday event he participated in a year or two before.

DeRoulhac said there’s an increasing desire among Protestants to look anew at ancient Christian practices that previously were identified with Catholics.

“Part of this is retrieving from the past rituals that might help us today to fully experience the significance of our faith,” he said. “It’s our common heritage.”

As in the Roman Catholic Church, ashes are typically seen as signs of repentance and mortality, and Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days — except Sundays — leading up to Easter.

Even a small number of evangelical churches have begun holding Ash Wednesday services, said the Rev. Kurt Fredrickson, an associate dean at Fuller Theological Seminary, an evangelical institution in Pasadena.

Evangelicals historically have avoided practices viewed as Catholic, he said. Today, there’s general acceptance among evangelicals that Catholics are fellow Christians and they see less of a need to distance themselves from Catholics, he said.

Read the rest.


  1. Please remember the soul of my mother, and all of us, in your prayers. She died last week. Thank you.

  2. ron chandonia says:

    In a great new book I’ve been reading, Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning, author Massimo Faggioli quotes Protestant observers at the Council who said that the event left them with a sense that Catholic practice should again be considered normative among Christians. That point is echoed in this article and–even more–in the new interest in liturgical customs of many kinds among churches that do not follow our liturgical calendar. Right now, I’m off to a joint ecumenical Ash Wednesday service that our parish is holding with several nearby Protestant groups at Big Bethel A.M.E. Church in Atlanta–the one with the neon “Jesus Saves” sign on the steeple.

  3. I pray that more of this continues. Who knows what other ‘common heritage’ we will ultimately share once more? I am also encouraged to see the quote that there is a swing toward Evangelicals being more accepting of Catholics and not feeling that they need to distance themselves from us. It makes me so sad to know of people personally who see me as their mission field because I’m Catholic. God has a way of putting thins like this in your path for good though because I have purposely learned so much more about my faith to better arm myself to defend it. Of course, the more I learn, the more I want to learn and I love every minute of it :-)

  4. pagansister says:

    Protestants are also Christians, so there really shouldn’t be a reason not to do the Ashes.

  5. Slowly protestants will come home. It’s the Catholic Church that makes sense. ;)

  6. One of the things I love about my parish is that we have a formal covenant for common prayer during Advent and Lent with two local protestant congregations…Klamath Lutheran and St. Paul’s Episcopal. They also have a prayer service and distribution of ashes…and the Episcopalians also offer ‘confession’ with the Pastor. We’ve included the local United Methodist Church in our Soup Suppers and Prayer Services for the past two years, since we serve a monthly meal for the poor and needy at their Hall as a community outreach. “Father, that they may be one”. Amen.

  7. The Catholic GOPers, Rick and Newt didn’t show their faith with ashes at tonite’s debate but they ‘bravely’ said they were for preemptive war strike on Iran. .

  8. May she rest in peace; I’ll pray for her at adoration today.

  9. Mike Andrews says:

    Sorry, my Protestant sisters and brothers in Christ: It’s been copy-rited.

  10. Thank you Melody. She would love that! She was a member of the Ladies of the Eucharist and Perpetual Adorers.

  11. We share grief. May God be with her and your family.

  12. Better than a preemptive nuke in NY? But how about the President and his new partner Muslim Brotherhood his policies have helped create in Egypt and Libya. As they said last night, you can be assured of one thing with Obama, if you are America’s proven enemy, you are Obama’s friend and if a US ally, you have troubel with Obama.

    Peace comes with strength and Obama is viewed as weak.

  13. The only veteran on the debate, Ron Paul, told the other ‘brave’ candidates whose children also duck service that WAR is hell. And was reduced to explaining his economic argument that he thought would resonate with the ..’let’s kill somebody crowd’.. .. ‘war is a waste of money’ .. sad, but it won’t work with many of them. ..
    Mark ;; saying ‘if you are America’s proven enemy, you are Obama’s friend ‘…. is calling Obama a traitor.. a serious charge, inappropriate on a Catholic blog..

  14. There was a loud applause in my house when Ron Paul said that about war. I wish he had been quoted more in the media.

    In response to your comment, Mark:
    “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” – Abraham Lincoln

  15. Thank you so much Mark. We miss her but are happy for her new and eternal life in Christ. She passed very peacefully.

  16. pagansister says:

    michele, it was great reading of all the cooperation in your town among the different denominations. Wish that all faiths could work together so well. :o)

  17. pagansister says:

    Yep Mark, we certainly need another war—now that we’re for the most part out of Iraq and working on getting out of Afganistan—we need something to do—start another Iraq? Look what that got us—-dead and permanently wounded American soldiers (mentally and physically wounded) for what? Iraq was about as productive as Viet Nam. I so totally disagree with you that President Obama is weak—proven to be false at least a couple of times we know of—-authorizing the use of our Special Forces. That is most certainly NOT a weak President. He realizes there really needs to be a reason to start hitting folks with bombs. Of course this has nothing to do with the topic on this blog—-Protestants getting Ashes on Ash Wednesday, but I couldn’t just leave your comment alone.

  18. pagansister says:

    Notgiven, may your faith and memories sustain you in this time. May she rest in peace.

  19. Amen! Thank you so much.

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