Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of Lent. This is a time of preparation characterised by penitence, fasting and prayer in which the Christian church prepares for the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection in Holy Week and at Easter.
In the story of Jesus’ life, he had supper with his friends on the night before he died on the cross. At this supper, he told them to share bread and wine to remember him. Ever since, Christians have gathered together in the same way to celebrate the mystery of our faith.
Christians have many names for this celebration – the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the Mass, Holy Communion – but whatever we choose call it, it remains at the centre of all our worship.
What can I expect?
This service includes choral music, hymn singing and lasts around an hour.
If you receive communion in your own church, you are welcome to receive communion here. If you do not normally receive communion, you are invited to come forward and receive a blessing.
You do not have to be a practicing member of the Church of England to attend the Eucharist. If you are unfamiliar with the service, you can pick up an easy-to-follow order of service at the beginning, which will guide you through each part. Visit our guidance on attending services at St Paul's for more information on what to expect.