In an effort to reach parishioners too busy to sit through an Ash Wednesday service, some ministers are bringing the ashes to them.
In Ohio, a church is offering a drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessing for parishioners. The Rev. Patricia Anderson Cook of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church in suburban Cincinnati plans to provide the service Wednesday evening in the church's parking lot.
“Some people are very busy, and some people get a little intimidated walking into a church, this is for them," Cook told the Cincinnati Inquirer.
In Montclair, N.J., two Episcopalian ministers offered "ashes to go" for commuters at a local train station. That effort is part of a national campaign.
"More and more, people's schedules keep them from attending church, especially those who commute into NYC, so we are taking the ashes to them," Rev. Andrew Butler said.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, which concludes after 40 days with the celebration of Easter.
In addition to ashes, Cook, the suburban Cincinnati minister, will provide a church brochure and a Lenten booklet.
“It’s a drive-thru,” she said. “Not a drive-by.”