A Special Note from Father Peter about Ash Wednesday at St. Stephen's

Over the last 18 months, we at Saint Stephen's have created the Furness Burial Cloister from Furness’ 1878 transept: We remodeled its floor to reveal part of the church’s original cemetery built soon after the church was founded in 1823. Furness’ addition now movingly frames the inscribed burial vaults of 9 parishioners from the church’s first decades (1825-1875). For this Ash Wednesday on March 6, we will distribute ashes and offer Lenten prayers here rather than in the sanctuary as we have done in years past. Saint Stephen's historian and curator, Suzanne Glover Lindsay, explains in her post from February 25 why Ash Wednesday in this new and unusual site has special meaning for the church beginning this year. Ash Wednesday, in general, is a time set aside for us to remember who we are, what we have come from, and where we are headed. My hope is that being present in the silence and sacredness of this place, with those of long ago, will help us to begin Lent with living memories that can sustain us in our preparation for Easter, that climactic celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

—Father Peter Kountz, Vicar