Christians began observing the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

The Broome County Council of churches sponsored a number of services, one held Wednesday at the Holy Nativity Lutheran Church in Endicott.

Services usually consist of song, prayer and application of ashes. The Pastor at Holy Nativity says ashes are usually imposed on the forehead to encourage repentance.

Holy Nativity Lutheran Chruch Pastor Ken Wood said, “Lent is a preparation time as we look forward to the coming of Easter commemorates Jesus’ time in the wilderness as he struggled with faith and were encouraged as believers to struggle with our faith and to see how we can grow closer to Jesus and to God.”

It is also a common tradition to give up something for Lent, but not a requirement.  Religious leaders say the purpose is to suffer mildly as a reminder that Jesus suffered for humanity. Lent is the period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

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