â€œRemember that you were dust and you will return to dust,â€ parishioners were told as ashes were pressed on their foreheads in the sign of the cross.
On the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, Christians gathered at the First United Methodist Church in Lincolnton for a day of penitence and renewal.
â€œWe are living in a time in the life of the church when we need to be reminded that perhaps we need to renew the vows we made,â€ said the Rev. Harold Leatherman at the afternoon service. â€œWe need to think about what we promised to do.â€
A service will be held with that in mind every Wednesday of Lent. Services begin at noon and are followed by a luncheon.
Lent lasts 40 days, which mark the 40 years Israelites went through the desert and the traditional 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert.
Historically, Christians have fasted throughout Lent. It is now more common to give up something â€“ chocolate being a classic example.
Not everyone who attended Wednesdayâ€™s service, however, made that their goal.
â€œIâ€™m not giving anything up,â€ said Jan Lynn, who attended the service. â€œIâ€™m here because of what was done for me on Easter, and that is the sacrifice of Jesus.â€
Lynn and friends came to the service on their lunch break. Church officials hope others will follow suit during the rest of the seven Wednesdays in Lent.
The Community Lenten Services is a community wide effort, and services will be given by reverends from Boger City United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, High Shoals/Iron Station United Methodist Church, Emmanuel Lutheran Church and First Church of Christ.
All services will be held in the First United Methodist Churchâ€™s Fellowship Hall.
For more information call 704-735-7489.by Sarah Grano