[ACNS] An Episcopal church in New Jersey is offering drivers who are too busy to go to church on Ash Wednesday an opportunity for prayer and the imposition of ashes without leaving their cars.
While the traditional services of Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes will take place inside the church and chapel at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tuckerton, the Revd Rich Wisniewski, will be offering drive-by prayer and ashes on the church’s driveway as part of an “Ashes to Go” service for an hour at a time from 7.00 am and again at midday.
This will be the third year in a row that the church has offered the “drive-thru” prayer and ashes service. In previous years they have served everybody from truck drivers to waitresses.
“When I first came here, I asked God why he sent me here,” the Revd Wisniewski told the Press of Atlantic City. “I started realizing, I think, I was sent here to realize that there are opportunities here. There are non-traditional ways of doing things. That’s so important.”
He continued: “Churches, in general, are at a crossroads. Whether it’s the pressures of having to work many more hours than people traditionally have, or if they are not comfortable during a traditional worship service, there are a lot of things going on.
“I’m challenging that church is a place you go to. Church is really about what people do and how they connect and how they live out what the church teaches us.”
Wisniewski denied that the drive-thru service cheapened the experience. “Unless you’ve experienced the look on someone’s face after they’ve participated, you can’t say it’s cheapening the whole idea,” he said. “It could be joy, it could be brought by some other emotion. But it’s definitely a strong emotion.”