Faith United Methodist Church is on a mission--helping people make time for religion. The church will host its first "Ashes To Go" service on Ash Wednesday allowing people of all faiths to drive into the church's covered driveway and receive an ash marking and a short blessing. The drive-thru service runs from 11a.m to 1:30p.m. and 5p.m. to 6:30p.m. on Wednesday, March 1st. The church is located in at the Northwest corner of 30th and Severance streets in Hutchinson.
"People will be able to pull into our covered driveway and have ashes placed on their forehead or hand, share any prayer concerns, receive a personal prayer and be sent on their way," Rev. Alan Gager said. “Our thought behind it was, we think the church should be able to meet people where they are--that folks shouldn't have to come into the doors of the church to meet the presence of God. So we brought it outside,” Gager said.
Some think the practice allows Christians to take a short cut on a sacred day that is about self-sacrificing. But Gager believes otherwise. “We love to have people come and be in church. That is the best way to worship as a community. But there are people that just can't or won’t do it, and so we don't think that they should miss out on worship opportunities.”
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the holy season of Lent, a 40-day period leading up to Easter. The day is significant for Christians, because unlike some other religions whose followers wear distinctive attire to display their faith, Christians aren't so easily identified. However, on Ash Wednesday a ash cross on the foreheads identifies them as Christian to neighbors and coworkers. It's one of the only days Christians make a public show of their religious identity.
Rev. Gager believes Christians may receive ashes at any church on Ash Wednesday---“the invitation to participate in ‘Ashes To Go’ is open to everyone. Rain or snow we will be outside waiting for you at the corner of 30th and Severance streets.”