Ashes to go: Mason church puts on drive-thru Ash Wednesday 

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Everyone has heard of a fast food drive-thru or coffee drive-thru, but All Saints Lutheran Church in Mason is bringing ashes to the drive-thru world. You even get a packet to take home! 

The second Ashes To Go event occurred on Ash Wednesday, March 2. The event began last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the church’s limited in-person opportunities. 

All Saints Lutheran Church is active within its community like participating in Mason’s Down Home days which brings companies or organizations to downtown Mason. Each vendor gets a booth; the church decided to advertise a CROP Hunger Walk that took place last year. 

About 30 people from the churches around Mason (including All Saints Lutheran Church) participated in the walk that raised awareness to end world hunger. 

The church held two times for the congregation to come to the drive-thru as well as a full in-person service following the event. Interim pastor Erick Johnson, who lives in Jackson, said the small community of Mason is grateful for events like these during these confusing times. 

“It’s good to have that sense of community when we haven’t had for about a couple of years now. This church is a small parish, but with a real heart for the community and for people in need. I’ve learned that by being around Mason more,” Johnson said. 

The drive-thru accommodates those who are located out of town or can’t make evening services like friends Dawn Oesterle and Barbara Wilhem. 

Oesterle, who is from Grand Ledge, drove Wilhem to the event as evening driving is difficult for Wilhem to do. Plus, it adds bonus time for the friends to be together. 

“I used to be a member and we came [to the drive-thru] last year. This is so much more convenient and I get to see my friend while doing so,” Oesterle said. 

The process is simple: people drive up in their cars, receive ashes, a blessing and a packet with information about the upcoming Lenten season from pastor Johnson, and they are on their way. Church chairperson Pete Vlasic said it is a quick and easy way for people to get their blessings before the start of the season. 

“To me, having the opportunity to be part of the service and be part of the processes is important,” said Vlasic. “It’s an opportunity [for people] to see the church, and an opportunity if they’re busy with their lives to get a blessing and can attend the service that we have to follow [the drive-thru].” 

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