In a hurry this Ash Wednesday? Don't have time to stop off in the church? One Ohio reverend has a solution: drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessings.
That's right, ashes in the parking lot, plus a blessing, and you're back on the road.
Rev. Patricia Anderson Cook of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church in suburban Cincinnati will provide the drive-thru service for people of all faiths and denominations beginning at around 5 p.m. in the church's parking lot.
Cook said she knew of no other local church that was offering the service but thought that they should.
Some people are very busy, and some people get a little intimidated walking into a church, Cook told the Cincinnati Inquirer. This is for them. We have two entrances and one exit, so we should be able to do this fairly quickly.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days of penance before Easter Sunday known as Lent. Traditionally, worshipers place a cross of ashes on their foreheads as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.
In addition to ashes, Cook will provide church brochures and a Lenten booklet.
It's a drive-thru, she said. Not a drive-by.
Mt. Healthy United Methodist will offer a more traditional Ash Wednesday service inside at 7 p.m.
The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19, Job 2:8, Esther 4:1, Daniel 9:3, and Matthew 11:21.