Faith leaders at Winnetka Presbyterian Church are getting creative in order to mark Ash Wednesday during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, the church is offering ashes to go in its circular drive at 1255 Willow Road in Winnetka. Anyone is welcome to pull through, roll down their window, and receive a blessing and ashes — with a paint brush.
Ashes will be available from 8-9 a.m., noon-1 p.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Winnetka church.
The tweak to the annual service is a result of the ongoing COVID precautions, Pastor Paul Gilmore said.
“It’s been so hard for congregations and people of faith to not be together through all of this,” Gilmore said. “With COVID and everything we’ve been through during the pandemic, it has been a reminder of our mortality. We wanted people to have an opportunity to reflect on that, and therefore still impose ashes on their forehead.”
Gilmore said the church plans to use small paint brushes to impose the ashes so there will not be any physical contact. Those administering the ashes will be masked and will speak briefly to each person who must also remain masked in their vehicles.
“This is for anyone in the community who would like to receive the imposition of ashes,” he added. “This is not just for our members.”
Winnetka Presbyterian has offered ashes to go in previous years at the Metra station for those looking to mark the day but cannot make it to the church.
For additional information, call the church office at (847) 446-7777.
Other local Ash Wednesday Services:
Kenilworth Union Church: Ashes were mailed to congregants; otherwise more are available at the church (info in link). A livestream service begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, and can be accessed afterward.
Christ Church Winnetka: Ashes to go are available at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 17.
Saints Joseph and Francis Xavier Parish: Advance sign-up is required for all Masses and services, including Car Mass. The church is also offering a drive-thru option to receive ashes from 9-10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, in the St. Joseph Church parking lot. The parking lot will open at 8:55 a.m.
St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church: Facebook Live Ash Wednesday service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.
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Megan Bernard is a co-founder and the managing editor who directs day-to-day journalism of The Record. Megan enjoys writing about restaurants, entertainment and education and is an established human-interest reporter.