Volunteers waved in commuters this morning from 7 to 9 a.m.
Convenient service and free coffee: Harvest United Methodist Church of Lakewood Ranch offered up drive-through ashes today in observance of Ash Wednesday.
Any commuter driving between University Parkway and State Road 70 on Lorraine Road probably saw church volunteers waving signs advertising the service on the curb from 7 to 9 a.m.
After getting a cross on their heads from the church's co-pastors, Steve Price and Catherine Fluck-Price, commuters could get a coffee and go about their day. The convenient ash service is something the church offers every year.
"We make it fun, but it signifies a serious thing," said volunteer Rich Cunningham as he waved a sign.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a period of about 40 days observed by some denominations of Christian faiths. The ashes symbolize the belief that God created humankind from the ashes of the earth.
Harvest will offer an evening service for the holy day tonight at 7 p.m. The church is located at 14305 Covenant Way.
Several other churches in the area will offer a similar service. Here are a few in Lakewood Ranch. All of the following services begin at 7 p.m.
• Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church, 12905 State Road 70,
• Living Lord Lutheran Church, 11107 Palmbrush Trail,
• St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 11315 Palmbrush Trail.