Christians with a crazy-busy schedule can still take part in the tradition of Ash Wednesday, thanks to a speedy new service offered by a church in West Bloomfield.
The split congregations of Advent Episcopal Church and Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church (2399 Figa Ave., West Bloomfield) will also gather in traditional worship services on the first day of Lent this Wednesday, Feb. 13, to mark the solemn time before Easter Sunday with prayer and fasting.
Additionally, the service of marking ashes in the shape of the cross on the foreheads of the adherents will be offered in drive-through fashion for the first time this year, said Advent Episcopal Pastor Manisha Dostert.
"Walking around all day with the symbol of the ashes on the forehead is a powerful statement which does its job of experiencing Ash Wednesday, which is a day of remembering our mortality," Dostert said. "We want to make that more-available to people."
Adherents can get ashes at the front of the church, in a service lasting roughly 10 minutes, between 7:30-9 a.m. or 4-6 p.m., while traditional, hourlong services are scheduled at 12 noon and 7 p.m.
Dostert said that the new service is part of ongoing efforts at the church to meet people where they're at — as Ash Wednesday is one of few major Christian services to fall on a weekday, it is offered with working families in mind.
"While our congregation seems to be excited about it, I've heard comments elsewhere, 'It's like McJesus coming to give you your McAshes,'" Dostert said. "'Taking something which is sacred and making it not-so-sacred.'
"As a pastor, I'd say that Jesus went out everywhere, not just in a particular building. ... Many children will be in school that day, others have work, and we shouldn't let those people down."
Advent Episcopal formed a partnership with Sylvan Lake Lutheran which involves sharing the same building, in Sept. 2012.
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