West Ashley Church offers Ash Wednesday 'drive-thru' service
Pastor Brad Gray gives out a blessing and ashes to go on Ash Wednesday. (Source: Live 5)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -
A Lowcountry pastor spent the morning of Ash Wednesday away from the pulpit, choosing instead to set up a tent, put out a table, topped it with supplies and prepared to give out blessing and ashes to go.
“People drive up. They don’t even have to get out their cars,” St. Andrews Parish United Methodist Church Pastor Brad Gray said before rushing over to serve a waiting vehicle.
The parish has offered “drive-thru ashes” the last couple of years as a way to connect with the community and help Christians with busy schedules.
"It was quick and I'm on my way to work,” said Judith Fisk, a school teacher who didn't have much time for an interview.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent.
“Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by overserving a period of fasting, repentance, moderations and spiritual discipline,” a card every person receives on their drive-thru visit states.
Christians believe the ashes serve as a reminder of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection.
One after the other, the faithful pulled into the Church parking lot located off Ashley River Road in West Ashley. Dozens took in words of grace as Gray applied ashes to their forehead in the shape of the cross.
They all came seeking tradition in a nontraditional way.
"We know that people's schedules are busy and crazy and hectic,” Gray said. “We just invite them to find peace and synergy during the day."
It also invites the opportunity for visitors like Lisa Ward to slow down and yield to her faith.
“It's a good reminder for me so that I take the time to pray and to fast and think about it all day. To think about the Sacrifice," she said.
St. Andrews Parish United Methodist Church located at 3225 Ashley River Rd will have a traditional Ash Wednesday service Wednesday at 7 p.m.