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

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Men set up their table

Gabriella Lopez

Pastor Johnson and Vlasic carry out the supplies needed to serve their congregation. This includes ashes, hand sanitizer and packets with information about the Lenten season.

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 began last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the church’s limited in-person opportunities. 

All Saints Lutheran Church is active in the community, participating in Mason’s Down Home Days which brings companies and organizations to downtown Mason. Each vendor gets a booth; the church decided to advertise a CROP Hunger Walk

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

Pastor sits at his desk

Gabriella Lopez

Pastor Erick Johnson prepares to give blessings on Ash Wednesday at All Saints Lutheran Church in Mason.

The church held two Ash Wednesday drive-thrus as well as a full in-person service following the event. Interim pastor Erick Johnson, who lives in Jackson, said events like this are good for Mason 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 people like friends Dawn Oesterle and Barbara Wilhem, who are located out of town or can’t make evening services.

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

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

Man stands in church

Gabriella Lopez

Member and Chairperson Pete Vlasic stands in his place of worship before the start of the Ashes To Go event.

The process is simple: people drive up, receive ashes, a blessing and a packet with information about the upcoming Lenten season from 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 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 [t.” 

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