ash wednesday

Ash Wednesday ‘still relevant’ to Christians

Christians in Bournemouth and across the world have celebrated the start of Lent.

A Bournemouth rector has said that Lent is as relevant as it has always been as Christians mark Ash Wednesday today.

Rev Dr Ian Terry is the team rector at Bournemouth Town Centre Parish. He said, “Lent is a springtime for Christians, when we allow the light of Christ to shine on our lives and we refocus our prayers, our reading of the scriptures and our shared life together, with a sharp moral focus, and a desire to be more open to God’s will for each of us.”


In Western Christian churches, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days – six weeks excluding Sundays- and climaxes during Easter week.

Christians are usually marked on their forehead with ash as a sign of their repentance and mortality. As the 40 days of lent mimics the 40 days of Jesus’s fasting, it is traditional for Christians to give up certain things during the period.


Pope Francis in his Lenten message continued to emphasise his concerns over poverty. “In imitation of our Master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it,” he said.

He also asked Christians to channel their efforts towards “ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution”.

Rev Terry also asked Bournemouth Christians to use the opportunity to ask God’s will for the town.

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  • Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent
  • The ash put on foreheads is a sign of repentance and mortality
  • The 40 days of Lent is in preparation for Easter
  • Easter is the most important season in the Christian calendar
  • The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day
  • Traditionally on Shrove Tuesday food that won’t be eaten during Lent is used up



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