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Pocatello

Local church celebrates Ash Wednesday in creative way

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - COVID-19 did not stop one Pocatello church from celebrating the first day of Lent.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd hosted a drive-thru service entitled "Ashes on the Go" to help commemorate Ash Wednesday.

Pastor Wayne Shipman used ashes to mark participants' foreheads with the sign of the cross in honor of the holiday.

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting and kicks off the start of Lent, a six-week period of prayer, penance and reflection that will end on Easter Sunday on April 4.

"Lent is a time of introspection, and for me, it really helps me build my faith," Shipman said. "It gives me an opportunity to reflect on my own mortality." 

The service also included members sitting in their cars listening to music played by the church's station 92.9 F.M. The station can only be heard within close proximity of the church. So, Shipman says many of his congregation will sit in the parking lot on Sundays.

"People can come and even though they're not in church, they’re nearby, and it can help them to connect," Shipman said.

Church member Nicole Hasenpflug says the service gave her time to stop and reflect on what's important.

"Lent is a time that we take a deep breath and look around us and think and pray," Hasenpflug said. "Ash Wednesday marks the start of that, and the ashes symbolize that we remember our mortality and that our life here is short and think about the future even beyond this life."

Hasenpflug says that it was important to her that some version of a service could take place.

"For those of us who grew up in that tradition, it's very important that we are able to observe it, and the change in form is just what we need to do," Hasenpflug said. "God gave us brains so that we could use them, and this is a good way to do that and stay safe."

Pastor Shipman says he is hopeful his congregation will be able to attend services in the near future.

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Cole Sams

Cole is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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