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C of E goes online for Ash Wednesday

17 February 2021

CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Ashes appear imposed on Instagram, using the filter icon

Ashes appear imposed on Instagram, using the filter icon

UNFAMILIAR ways of observing Ash Wednesday under lockdown were released by the Church of England this week — including a virtual ash cross.

“Is there a filter that makes me look serious when I can’t stop laughing?”

Many churches held socially distanced Covid-secure Ash Wednesday services in person — which was allowed under government guidelines — and the sprinkling of ash, avoiding physical contact, was the approved method of imposition, as at Chichester Cathedral. But thousands stayed at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

For those who wished to mark the start of Lent at home, a liturgy was published for members of the same household to use when applying ash to each other’s foreheads.

In recent years, people have posted selfies showing their ashed foreheads online after attending an Ash Wednesday service, often using the hashtag “#ashtag”.

So a Church of England filter was made available on Instagram, which would virtually impose an ash cross on the forehead of individuals in pictures or videos shared on the app. Prominent Christian users of Instagram were encouraged by the Church to promote the ash-cross filter.

Another Instagram filter offered by the C of E suggested resolutions for Lent.

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