Clergy from several area churches are taking the traditional Ash Wednesday practice outside of the church and into communities.

Rev. Barbara Clarke will offer the imposition of the ashes from 8 to 9 a.m. near the Wilton post office and from noon to 1 p.m. near the post office on Main Street in Farmington.

The offerings in Wilton and Farmington are part of Ashes to Go started in 2007 by Episcopal clergy members in Chicago. This is the fifth year Ashes to Go has been held in Maine. Similar services will be offered by clergy members in Portland, Windham and Brunswick.

In downtown Winthrop, ashes will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. at 123 Main St. in front of Pete’s Roast Beef.

The practice of offering the traditional Ash Wednesday service outside of a church began because clergy realized not everyone is able to be in a church on Ash Wednesday.

“It’s a way of bringing the church’s presence outside a building and offering an opportunity for people to practice their faith as they go about their daily life and work,” the Rev. Larry Weeks, of Trinity Episcopal and St. Peter’s Episcopal in Portland, said in a news release.

The Christian tradition of Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the six-week period leading up to Easter that serves as a time of reflection and penitence.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

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Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate