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Central church offers 'Ashes-To-Go'

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CENTRAL- For the past two years, Magnolia United Methodist Church has been marking Ash Wednesday with a unique experience.

By hosting "Ashes-To-Go," the church has been able to take the sacred, holy ceremony directly to the community at Central Perk Coffee.

"At our church, we very much believe that we should be out in the community, and to get out where people can see us in the community, and just celebrate what the church does because it doesn't have to be within the walls of the church," said Reverend Heather Sullivan, pastor at Magnolia United.

According to Sullivan, the service could be anywhere, including the local coffee shop.

With a chance to leave a prayer request and share a word with the pastor, many people said Ashes-To-Go marks the beginning of Lent with added convenience.

One parishioner, Sue Ann Conerly, said, "I think Heather has one tonight at six at the church, but I have plans this evening and [my husband] had plans this morning, so I came and he will come this evening."

People like Dawn Euwer, the music director at Magnolia United, said events like this one help the church develop a name in the community.

"We also have a market every Saturday, a lot of people are 'Oh, y'all are the church with the market.' Now we're becoming not just the church with the market," said Euwer.

According to Euwer, getting into the community is the most important outreach there is, because it can change hearts.

"To me, getting God outside the four walls is so important, and this is just a way," she said. "Even if somebody doesn't want ashes when they walk through and they see that we're here and we're open to that. It helps change a view of what religion is," she continued.

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