Ash Wednesday: Offering Christ Outside the Church
"This gives people the opportunity to begin their Lenten season on the way to work. It also gives us the opportunity to be out in the community sharing the beginning of our Lenten journey together." he said.
It's the second year in a row that the pastor and lay leader will offer the "drive-through" service. “The reaction was great (last year),” Dunn said. About 25 or 30 people stopped.
“What I noticed was that a lot of people drove by and looked, but did not stop. I think those are seeds that have been planted and our response ought to be even better this year. Praise God that we can take the church out into the community and make it more visible!”
Other pastors and churches also offer ashes outside their church buildings.
Rev. Chris Heckert, right, and colleagues at train station
In northern New Jersey, the Rev. Chris Heckert, a Western PA native who is pastor of Morrow Memorial UMC, joined colleagues offering ashes at a commuter train station Ash Wednesday morning.
In Springfield, MO, last year, the Rev. Yvi Martin set up shop at a coffee house near her church from 6-10:30 a.m. for anyone who wanted to begin their day with prayer and the marking of ashes. It brought about 75 people into the coffee shop, making the owner happy. She described her experience in the Leading Ideas newsletter from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.
In a little town of West Michigan, June M. Marshall Smith said she was a person who would wrinkle her nose at the idea of a church doing drive-through ashes -- until she tried it last year. It was well worth the effort, despite cold and long hours, she wrote in an article for the Detroit area website. She offers tips for those who want to try it.
Find out when and why United Methodists began imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday.
Learn more and find resources for Lent and Easter.