by | Apr 1, 2014 | Not In USe

Rev. Bob Holliday


Rev. Bob Holiday stands out in front of St. James UMC to offer “Ashes-to-go,” a drive-through experience for those looking to recognize Ash Wednesday

For the first time in the history of St. James UMC in Tucson, we held a special “Ashes-to-Go” drive-through in our front parking lot. St. James is located on North Campbell Avenue, a major thoroughfare in mid-town Tucson. After a few weeks of planning and getting lay members excited about a new outreach ministry, we prepared an Ash Wednesday tri-fold brochure explaining what Lent was all about, including the history and significance of Ash Wednesday, with a prayer and invitation to worship that evening.

At 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday a number of lay members and I set up a pop-up canopy and multiple signs along the curb leading up to the church parking lot that said: “Ash Wednesday – Ashes-to-Go – Drive-through ahead.” The signs had big red letters announcing “Free Coffee.” I wore my vestments and everyone took turns waving to drivers as they drove by.

ashes3-2From 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., we saw over 450 people drive through for “Ashes-to-Go.” From big delivery trucks to work crews pulling heavy equipment trailers, a diversity of people from all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and socio-economic backgrounds drove through our parking lot. People were even making U-turns to come through and receive ashes! A school bus, an on-duty police officer, Fed-Ex delivery driver, and a couple from London who wanted to have their picture taken receiving ashes so they could take it back to their church in England were a few of the many that participated in “Ashes-to-go.” One city bus driver even came back to the church on her way home because she saw us while driving on her route earlier in the day. People also made a number of financial donations throughout the day. It was an incredible experience!

ashes4At the evening Ash Wednesday worship service there were a number of new people present who drove through for “Ashes-to-Go” earlier that day. Other new people even joined us for worship on Sunday morning. In preparation for Easter, we are now working on a drive-through “Prayers-to-Go” event and look forward to another great day.


Editor’s Note:

If your church has a story about an element of worship regarding planning, music, times, worship team, devotions, or other elements that church leaders can learn from, please contact Christina Dillabough, Director of Communications at cdillabough@dscumc.org.

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Author: DSC

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