Ash Wednesday Service by Revd Andrew Warmback 17 February 2021

Greetings on this Ash Wednesday!

Today is the start of our Lenten Journey.

Many among us are not able to attend a service today.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) has issued guidelines relating to Ash Wednesday. This year no Eucharists are permitted so the imposition of ashes takes place in the context of Morning or Evening Prayer.

ACSA has offered the following: “Families may symbolically mark their foreheads with a cross, or where tradition is very strong on ashes, families to be asked to prepare for the service by burning a piece of paper in dish or other receptacle, using care while burning and then using the cooled-down ashes to mark their foreheads.”

See more photos in our Gallery.

With this in mind I offer the liturgy used for the Imposition of Ashes, including the prayers as recorded in our Anglican Prayer Book, which anyone may use at home.

The readings for today are Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51: 1-12; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.

The gospel focusses on prayer.  For those who would like to explore this theme further we have on our website the notes from the 2019 Lent Course on Prayer.

We will not hold services on Wednesdays in Lent.  Our Lent Bible Study Course will be held on Wednesday evenings from 18.00, starting next week.  A link to the Zoom session will be made available.

Evening Prayer

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit


Lord, open our lips

That we may glorify and praise your name

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen

Praise the Lord.

 Psalm 134

  1. Come bless the Lord all you | servants ∙ of the | Lord: you who by night  | stand ∙ in the | house of ∙ our | God.
  2. Lift up your hands towards the holy place and | bless the | Lord:

may the Lord bless you from Zion

the | Lord who ∙ made| heaven and| earth.

Let us call to mind and confess our sins.

Silence may be kept.

Almighty God,

our heavenly Father

in penitence we confess

that we have sinned against you

through our own fault

in thought, word, and deed

and in what we have left undone.

For the sake of your Son,

Christ our Lord

forgive us all that is past

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your Name

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive our sins and keep us in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Let us pray:

Almighty and holy God,

your Son, in obedience to the Spirit

fasted forty days in the desert:

give us grace to discipline ourselves

that we may press on towards Easter

with eager faith and love;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


Giving of Ashes

Dear friends in Christ, at the Christian Passover we celebrate year by year our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Since early days the Church has kept the season of Lent as a time of preparation for Easter.

We begin Lent by remembering the need for repentance.  These ashes made from [2019’s] palms with which we greeted Christ our King with joy on Palm Sunday.  They are a sign that we mean to prepare ourselves with penitence for Easter.

Significant words used are:

Remember that you dust and to dust you shall return.

Turn away from sin and believe the good news.

Return to the Lord with all your heart; leave the past in ashes and turn to God with tears and fasting, for he is slow to anger and ready to forgive.


God our Father, we praise you that you are always ready to forgive the penitent.  Bring us by your Spirit to true repentance and the joy of knowing your forgiveness.  Accept through Jesus Christ our Lenten acts of love and sacrifice.  Prepare us to celebrate his Passover and to share his risen life.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, we pray for your church throughout the world, for Thabo our metropolitan, and in this diocese for Ndabezinhle our Vicar-General and our bishops, the clergy and people.  Free us from dependence on material goods and the worship of power and from all that hinders our union with you.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, we pray for our country and all in authority.  Purge our land from all that is contrary to your will.  Bring us all to know Christ as the way, the truth and the life, that we may live in harmony with one another.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, we pray for all who suffer, and especially for victims of greed and violence.  Make your love known to them and to those who cause suffering.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, we commend to your loving care all who will die during this Lent.  Bring us all through the passion and death of your son to share in the glory of his resurrection.

We offer these prayers in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.