Significance of Ash Wednesday

Though Ash Wednesday is celebrated every year among some Christians most of the people of the same faith spend their whole lives without ever understanding the true meaning and the significance of ash Wednesday. But since the release of Mel Gibson’s blockbuster movie, The Passion Of Christ, the term has grown more popular among the Catholics. With more and more people catching up the trend, the curiosity about Ash Wednesday has been creating waves in the social media platforms.

Ash Wednesday

Meaning Of Ash Wednesday:

Ash Wednesday is primarily a christian holiday, and is the day the Lent period starts, and it falls forty six days prior to Easter. This service was anciently used by Roman Catholic churches to ensure a better understanding of the death and resurrection of Christ through prayer, remorse, fasting and examination. They believed this to be a spiritual path towards enlightenment. The ashes of the blazed palm of the previous year’s Palm Sunday are used by the priests to mark a cross on the foreheads of the worshipers to dissolve the sins of the worshiper. Apart from repenting for their sins a worshiper even prepares for the end of his life on Ash Wednesday.

Significance Of Ash Wednesday:

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenient period for the Catholics and it is one of the most important dates in the biblical calendar. The Jewish tradition that has stood the test of time signifies preparation and involvement. The practice includes marking of the head, with the ashes which signifies that man shall return to dust of which he made of. Ashes also act as symbols for remorse and grief for one’s own wrongdoing and sins. The ashes also remind the worshipers of their morality, and their inferiority to the supreme power. In also marks the beginning of the phase for the sinners and the people who lost their faith to repent and rejoin the church. The worshipers demonstrate their remorse through fasting during Lent, and the requirements of fasting has to be followed as laid out by the Code Of Canon Law. Every catholic over the age of fourteen has to avoid meat meat on Fridays , Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics during this period eat only one meal per day.

Ash Wednesday celebration

Biblical Significance:

Though it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it mentions that sprinkling ash over oneself is a mark of sin. As in the case of Mordecai or Daniel, the bible continuously points at people repenting for their sins in ashes and dust. The bible asks the worshipers to not display any sign during fasting and keep on their path of helping the needy.

And though Catholics must be ready to repent and fast for God whenever required, Ash Wednesday have it’s own significance.

How do Churches Market themselves and Gain New Parishioners

A church, as an establishment of a certain religion, operates on many different levels. First and foremost, these represent the views and practices of the religious groups that operate them. Aside from this, they offer services to their parishioners on a predefined schedule, while many churches also have an additional open door policy for everyone. But, while many aspects of operating a church are directly connected to its religion, there are also those which are purely connected to the ideas from the domain of business. Here, the biggest one comes in the form of the dilemma many churches have – how to attract new parishioners into their flock. Fortunately, for any religious establishment that desires to attain this, there are ways how some key business practices, mainly from the domain of marketing, can be successfully applied here. Here are the most important elements that will help a church bring in new parishioners.

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Using Social Media

Every business utilizes social media in the modern day. Thanks to networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others, people can stay in touch with any brand they want. The same applies to a church, which is why every aspiring church community should have its own social media accounts. Here, they can spread their positive message and allow for a huge range of people that use social media to get in contact with them. Importantly, this will also allow the church to reach young people as well.

Using Signs and Banners

church-banner

A church is a physical location and many people walk by or drive by it on a daily basis. Here, a huge potential for brand marketing can be found. With the use of physical message platforms like signs, banners, and banner displays, a church will be able to reach the people who are in daily contact with their location. This way, anyone who becomes interested in their message can simply walk in an eventually become a part of the same parishioners. Signs and banners also have an advantage of being very affordable, especially when it is taken into consideration how many people can see their message.

 

Participating in Local Media

Representatives of a church should never shy away from publicity. As active members of a religious group, but also the same community at large, they are often very well versed in the occurrences in the same area. Because of this, they will be regularly contacted by media representatives like journalists and TV hosts who will want their opinions. A smart marketing move would be for them to accept these inquiries with open arms, mainly because of the media’s ability to reach people in the same community. If the residents of a certain neighborhood, for example, regularly see a priest on the local TV, they will be more inclined to give a try what the same religious group and their church have to offer.

With these business and marketing ideas, any church will stand a lot better chance of attracting new parishioners to their religion.

The Good That Religious Groups And Churches Do

Today, some religions have made its way into several global conflicts, and there’s no doubt that religion can be very divisive and even cause harm. Having said that, numerous religious groups, churches, and individuals across the world show day-to-day demonstrations that faith can provide strong spiritual wisdom, be the primary agency for significant service to world and promote peace in every nation.
Without further ado, lets us look at ten examples of how religious groups and churches are doing good throughout the world in no particular order.

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1. Teaching families essential tools for the disease prevention
The Compassion United Kingdom is a Christian organization which runs several charities, including Child Survival Programme that works with the caregivers and expecting mothers to avert malnutrition by teaching them how to care better for their kids and prevent illnesses.

2. Giving previously gang-involved youths a second chance
Established by Greg Boyle in 1988, Homeboy Industries now supports previously gang-involved and imprisoned youths transition into a prosperous and healthy livelihood. On top of providing social services, including tattoo removal, mental health services, case management, and much more, Homeboy operates many social enterprises.
One such initiative is Homegirl Cafe and Catering that employs past criminals, usually in their first actual jobs, helping them through an eighteen-month training program for the career development.

3. Inspiring children to care for environment through the immersive workshops
The Teva Learning Center often hosts immersive retreats and classes focused on Jewish commitment to the Tikkun Olam — healing the world. They also provide a series of the youth programs aimed at encouraging children to recognize the beauty in a natural environment and always work towards sustainability in their communities.

4. Distributing mosquito nets throughout African countries to prevent malaria
The Lutheran Malaria Initiative funds and offers education and bed nets for the malaria prevention Mali, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. So far, the project has already attained 2.4 million individuals, according to its website, and there are plans on spreading out to Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana and Niger in the future.

5. Providing support groups and training for individuals with disabilities in Sierra Leone
Established in 2010 by a special group of the concerned Christian women, The Women of Hope International works with individuals living with various disabilities in Sierra Leone. It operates the HOPE center in Makeni, Sierra Leone that offers meetings, support groups, training, and the career development to many women in the entire community.

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6. Making the LGBT rights a crucial matter of religious freedom
In April, the UCC (United Church of Christ) did file a very significant lawsuit against state of North Carolina for what the churches considered a violation of the freedom of religion. The law of the state makes it a crime to do a wedding event for a couple who doesn’t have a license that the UCC argued the infringes upon the clergy’s freedom of religion.

7. Bringing different high school students together for the multicultural training
Agencies of Aga Khan Development Network partnered with Jamati Institutions of Ismaili Muslim community to establish a leadership program for the high school students -Global Encounters. In fact, this month-long program engages students in the workshops focused on leadership, service, and culture.

8. Sending the humanitarian assistance to the disaster regions
Khalsa Aid is a Sikh humanitarian organization which sends relief to the disaster areas. The group recently served in the Haiti following a devastating earthquake in 2010 to collect sleeping bags and dry foods for the thousands of families displaced.

9. Advocating for the homeless and poor through affordable housing
Back Bay Mission always tries to meets the basic needs of those suffering due to high poverty and its effects while creating pathways to the social justice. One way they achieve this is through an affordable housing initiative that assists homeless families, and people secure, safe, and affordable housing.

10. Creating and supporting an online community of the social justice activists
The Faith-based Regeneration Network is a distinct online resource for the religious, social action and the community development. The website of the group organizes resources and information about social justice events and activities in the United Kingdom.