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Drive-Thru Ash Wednesday A Hit In Novi

NOVI (WWJ) - Get your ash in a flash! Metro Detroiters observing Ash Wednesday can now get their services to go.

WWJ Newsradio 950's Laura Bonnell reported the United Methodist Church in Novi was busy as Christians drove up for a blessing and got ashes on their foreheads.

Rev. June Marshall-Smith said the drive-thru offers  an updated alternative to work around believers' hectic 21st-century schedules.

Marshall-Smith said, when she initially proposed the idea to her congregation, there were mixed feelings.

"First blush they're appalled by the idea, but the more that they reflect on it people have said things like Christ calls us to go out into the world and to meet people where they are," said Marshall-Smith. "It's been beautiful to see people really work the theology behind this."

One parishioner said she'll stick to doing it the old-fashioned way, "[For some] their time is so limited, this gives a different way of doing it.  I prefer the service with it because it makes it much more meaningful."

But a steady stream of others happily rolled down their windows.

"I've never seen anything like it. I think it's very special that they offer this today," said one woman. "I'm en route to pick up my 3-year-old daughter. It was really convenient for me."

"I think it's great, yeah. Because, you know, if you're pushed for time and you always wanna go ... I've had that problem in the past," said another.

Marshall-Smith said she plans to do this again next year.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a time for fasting, abstinence from meat, and prayer in preparation for Easter. Its official name is "Day of Ashes," so called because of the practice of rubbing ashes on one's forehead in the sign of a cross.

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