Tyler resident Steve Callaway pulled up to the front of Pollard United Methodist Church shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday in his red pickup.

The Rev. Ben Bagley, Pollard’s associate pastor, walked up to the driver’s side window and greeted him.

Bagley offered a short prayer and imposed ashes in the shape of a cross on Callaway’s forehead.

“I just wanted to try it out,” Callaway, 73, a Whitehouse ISD substitute teacher and church member, said of the drive-up Ash Wednesday option.

This is the first year Pollard on New Copeland Road is offering to impose ashes in this way.

Lead Pastor the Rev. Stephen Rhoads said church leaders decided on the method after considering the reality of how busy people are with work and family.

“We’re trying to come up with innovative and new ways to help share faith even with something like Ash Wednesday,” Rhoads said.

The Drive-Up method runs through 11 a.m. and picks up again from 1 to 6 p.m. In addition to the drive-up option, Pollard will have a soup lunch at 11:30 a.m. followed by a devotional service in the parlor and a 6 p.m. service.

Another option for people looking to take part in Ash Wednesday is Ashes on the Square from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza in Tyler.

Pastors from Marvin United Methodist Church will be imposing the ashes on anyone who desires to receive them.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, a 40-day period designed to serve as a time of repentance for sin in preparation for the upcoming Easter celebration, which commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

Clergy members impose ashes in the shape of a cross on people’s foreheads as a sign of each person’s penitence and a reminder of their mortality.

The person imposing the ashes typically says either, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

See the list below for a schedule of events and services

Ash Wednesday events around East Texas include:

  • What: Drive-thru Ashes
  • When: 7 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 6 p.m.
  • Where: Pollard United Methodist Church, 3030 New Copeland Road, Tyler
  • Info: Drive by the marquee tent in front of the church to receive a blessing and ashes.
  • What: Ashes on the Square
  • When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza on Tyler’s Downtown Square

Ash Wednesday Services

  • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 423 S. Broadway Ave., Tyler: 12:05 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Spanish)
  • Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul, 1435 ESE Loop 323, Tyler: 12:05 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Christ Church, 118 S. Bois d Arc, Tyler: noon and 6 p.m. Nursery provided at 6 p.m. service.
  • Dayspring United Methodist Church, 310 W. Cumberland Road, Tyler: 6:30 p.m.
  • Fairwood United Methodist Church, 1712 Old Omen Road, Tyler: 5:30 p.m.
  • First Presbyterian Church Chapel, 230 W. Rusk St., Tyler: Noon and 6 p.m. Childcare will be available during the 6 p.m. service for infants through third-graders.
  • Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Cranmer Chapel, 2525 Old Jacksonville Highway, Tyler: Noon and 7 p.m.
  • Marvin United Methodist Church Sanctuary, 300 W. Erwin St., Tyler: 12:05 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 4900 Kinsey Drive, Tyler: 7 p.m.
  • Pollard United Methodist Church, 3030 New Copeland Road, Tyler: 11:30 a.m., soup lunch and devotional service; 6 p.m. service in sanctuary.
  • Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2772 SSE Loop 323 at OneRealtor Center, Tyler: 6 p.m.
  • St. Francis Episcopal Church, 3232 Jan Avenue, Tyler: Noon and 6 p.m.
  • St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 16292 Farm-to-Market Road 849, Lindale: 6 p.m.