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Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Feb. 17, 2021 (San Diego's East County) – Some churches adapted their practices during Ash Wednesday during this time of COVID19 and during the whole course of the pandemic.

The Christian period of Lent was ushered in on Ash Wednesday, today, that witnesses the smudging of ashes on the forehead in a symbol of mortality and penance.

Santee United Methodist Church provided a COVID19 safe Ash Wednesday by offering a drive-thru event. Two times, early morning, and late afternoon were offered to the congregation.

Individuals stayed in their cars and were masked. Pastor Jaime Pangman, and his assistant, were socially distanced and masked.

(Photo at right - Pastor Jaime Pangman) 

Additional COVID19 practices have seen this church offer sermons via zoom and drive-in services held in their parking lot during the pandemic.  

When asked why he chose to do drive-in services during the pandemic he said, “We want to keep people safe.”

(Photo at left---a drive-in church service.) 

This year, churches around the country altered their practice of how to administer the ashes by using Q-tips, cotton balls, tongue depressors, and social distancing with plenty of masks and hand sanitizer.


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