LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Catholics and other Christians around the world are taking part in Ash Wednesday observances. Several churches in Long Beach reached out to all denominations Wednesday in a unique way.
Two Long Beach pastors spent the morning tending to a constant flow of believers getting their ashes to go. Pastor Rod Dickson-Richel of First United Methodist says the invitation was extended to everyone on the coast, no matter what their denomination.
Pastor Rod was excited for the opportunity to minister outside the four walls of the church. "Usually folks have to come to us, and in this instance, we have come to them," he said.
Many people were grateful for a chance to begin the lent season with this convenience. "I think it's great. Especially for people who have to go to work early in the morning," said Gloria Mays.
Pastor Dave Parr of Grace Lutheran says he understands that many people have very busy lives throughout the week. So, when Pastor Rod approached him with the idea of providing a drive up imposition of ashes, he immediately jumped on board. "There are a lot of people who don't have an opportunity to attend mass or a church service," said Pastor Dave.
A small service was held with each person who showed up. "When we work, we don't always have time to get our ashes and so having this drive through is a blessing," said Roxanne Cross.
"We all certainly need a blessing," said Brick Gilliland after receiving his ashes. The waterside setting certainly didn't hurt with clear skies and a breathtaking sunrise. "You couldn't ask for a better day and a better place to do it," said Gilliland.
Many agree and say it's the perfect way to start the Lenten season. "It's just nice. It's a great idea," said Gary Ramirez.
An idea that Pastors Rod and Dave hope will impact the faith of their community. The pastors said that participation more than doubled from last year.