Story and photos submitted by the Rev. Cody Anderson
Associate Pastor, Parker United Methodist Church, Parker, CO
Parker United Methodist Church is located on one of the busiest roads leading into Parker and the Denver metro area. On Feb. 26, Parker UMC hosted “Drive-Thru Ashes” for the second year on Ash Wednesday.
Located in a suburb where many people commute to work, Parker UMC saw a need in its community to help reach those who may not be able to fit an Ash Wednesday service into their busy schedules.
A tiny host of volunteers stepped out on faith to provide for that need, and the response has been overwhelming. With ashes offered from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. that Wednesday, Parker UMC this year served more than 170 people who came through the parking lot to receive a blessing.
One woman who drove through with her three children, elementary and high school-aged, was in tears as she said that the church provided an opportunity for her family to receive a blessing together since she would not be able to have her children that evening.
Another woman drove through saying that she woke up wanting a fresh start and came to the “Drive-Thru Ashes” to begin that journey. The volunteers were able to bless construction workers, teachers, healthcare workers, those who have compromised immune systems, parents with young children, and seniors who have a hard time getting out of the car.
Rev. Barb Sholis, senior pastor at Parker UMC said:
“Being able to reach out into our community, to meeting their needs, and to be able to share a blessing as we look into the faces of our neighbors makes standing out in the cold temperatures worth every minute. We look forward to doing this outreach for years to come.”