Tiverton church offers 'drive-thru' ashes

Several Tiverton churches banded together Wednesday to offer busy commuting Christians a chance to begin Lent without getting out of their cars.

The Rev. John Higginbotham of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church decided to make Christianity convenient with an "ashes to go" drive-thru as a supplement to the traditional Ash Wednesday service.

"This is modern day Christianity," said Cathy Rioux, from her car.

"This is wonderful," Ray Buchanan said.

Higginbotham said the church needs to start meeting people halfway.

"That's what Jesus did. Jesus didn't set up a building, open the doors and say, 'Come on in.' He went out to the villages, the people and to everybody," Higginbotham said.

"I'm on my way to work and I don't have time to get ashes," Buchanan said.

But isn't the point of Lent to slow down and spend more time at church?

"Sure. But the reality is people aren't going to church -- slowed down or not," said the Rev. Bill Sterrett of Amicable Congregational Church.

Sterrett freely admitted that ashes-to-go was a publicity stunt and that it worked.

He said if this is what has to be done to change stereotypes and bring more people into the church, he said he's happy to keep coming up with unconventional approaches to Christianity.