And now for something completely different:
An Ohio church is offering a drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessing for parishioners pressed for time or reluctant to come inside the church for the Lenten observance.
The Rev. Patricia Anderson Cook of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church in Mount Healthy offered the ashes Wednesday evening for people of all faiths beginning around 5 p.m. in the church parking lot. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, which concludes after 40 days with the celebration of Easter, and the faithful traditionally have a smudged cross drawn on their forehead.
Bridget Spitler, the church’s secretary and building manager, said the church had received a lot of positive feedback for offering the drive-thru ashes.
“Some people may not be too comfortable coming in for a serious service,” she said, adding that people with severe arthritis or other ailments that make attending the service uncomfortable also appreciate the drive-thru opportunity.
The pastor will provide a church brochure and a Lenten booklet, and the church offers a traditional Ash Wednesday service inside at 7 p.m.
It’s a first at her church, but some other churches have also taken more-informal approaches to the ashes. There’s even a Web site called Ashes to Go.