A nontraditional approach to a traditional holiday; Ash Wednesday is usually celebrated with a mass at church but some churches are taking on a different approach.
Along with two services at their Lafayette church, Asbury United Methodist Church went to Metarie Centre plaza in Youngsville to test out an Ash Wednesday drive through.
A driver asks, “Do I have to get out?”
Rev. Allison Sikes, associate pastor at Asbury UMC replies, “No, just don’t run me over, that’s the only rule.”
Drive throughs are a way for us to still get what we want and need, just on the go. Ashes to Go is the same concept, except instead of a meal, we’re talking about an Ash Wednesday mass.
Rev. Sikes says, “We often do it in church buildings at appointed times. We thought it’d be a great idea to come out where people are in the middle of day to sort of stop together and pause and to remind ourselves God is with us.”
Rev Sikes believes it’s also symbolic. “When we are going about our daily lives Jesus meets us here and that’s really what’s we’re kind of thinking about as we created this moment.”
But how do you create a drive through version of something that usually takes about an hour?
Rev. Sikes says, “A couple folks have said ‘What do I do?’ And we just say,’ Just put your car in park.”
From there it only lasts about two minutes.
For some, like Irene Clement an Asbury member, it’s a great experience. But the drive through doesn’t replace mass. “It wasn’t quite the same. In the church service you’re with other people and you’re with the fellowship with God.”
For those like Shelly Romero who thought she had to go without ashes this year, she got another chance. She saw a post about the drive through on Facebook and walked right over. “I always struggle with how I’m going to make that work on my lunch break, getting my ashes on Ash Wednesday. When I saw this I thought it was a great and easy, convenient way for me to go and get blessed and feel like I did my due diligence.”
Along with ashes Asbury UMC volunteers also gave informational cards about Ash Wednesday and they’re plans to create another ministry in Youngsville.