FORT WORTH, Texas - Some of the faithful are flocking to a drive-thru in Fort Worth for Ash Wednesday. They’re getting their ashes to go.
Clergy members from St. Christopher Episcopal Church set up drive-thru lane for people to receive their ashes for Ash Wednesday in the parking lot between the Starbucks and CVS along Interstate 20 and Trail Lake Drive.
Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day that marks the start of Lent, the period of prayer, fasting and repentance leading up to Easter. People wear ashes in the sign of a cross on their forehead as a sign of penance.
The Rev. Bill Stanford said some churches will offer a morning service for Ash Wednesday but others don’t.
“We do this every Ash Wednesday to be available for people who can’t get to church and there are a lot of folks. I just had a lady say, ‘I just moved here. I don’t even have a church and you are my church for today,’” he said. “We’ve gotten outside the church to be able to minister to people and they come by and expect us every year.”
By 9 a.m., more than 200 people had either driven up or walked up to quickly receive their ashes before heading off to work.
Although some people scoff at the idea and believe it devalues the Christian holy day, Stanford said otherwise.
“I was one of those that thought it was kind of irreverent. But then I realized getting out and having face-to-face contact with people who might not be able to do this is deeply meaningful to them. And it’s deeply meaningful to us. I know that for the folks that come here, we feel like we have ministered on this day being able to kind of kick off Lent for folks that might not otherwise get to church,” he said.
Standford even to-go ashes are a sign of sorrow for the things people have done wrong.
“They’re also a sign of resolution that I’m going to work with God to make myself better to be the human being that he made me to be,” he said. “The thing we say is remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. And it’s a reminder that we’re all on the same level.”