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Garden City UMC offers prayer walk on Ash Wednesday


By Hollie Lewis, reporter from WSAV
Tens of millions of Christians from multiple denominations across the globe began observing Lent with the start of Ash Wednesday.
Each year, Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) associated with repentance, fasting, reflection and ultimately celebration.
However, a local Garden City church is adding something new this year in observance.
“We wanted to open up Ash Wednesday to the neighborhood and to the community,” said Matt Stout, pastor of Garden City United Methodist Church. “We just finished a sermon series called ‘Let’s Pray,’ and we talked about prayer.”
Stout said the series inspired a request for a prayer walk.
“We have these signs printed out, and we put them around the neighborhood just around the block around our church. We’re encouraging people to walk the neighborhood and to pray,” Stout said.
One of the stops on the prayer walk offered ashes.
“There’s a cross, we say, ‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  From ash you came, to ash you will return,'” Stout explained. “It means that we all have a limited amount of time here on earth, and we need to make the best of those days.”
There are several signs around the block, including a confession of sins and a prayer for community leaders.
“This community has meant a lot to me.  It has been a very warm and inviting place for me,” Stout said. “I love Garden City, and I think one of the things that God wants us to do is to pray for the prosperity of our city.
“Some of the challenges that churches have is that a lot of the folks in our church have been here for a long time, and the neighborhood has just changed so much around us. So, we want to change with the neighborhood and to reach out to the folks who are here, not just the folks that have always been here,” Scout continued.
The Garden City United Methodist Church has done other community activities such as food drives, back to school drives and has partnered with other churches to do community work.
Hollie Lewis is a reporter from WSAV in Savannah, Ga. This article originally appeared on on Feb. 22, 2023. 

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