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Come as you are, but stay in your car

Come as you are, but stay in your car

COVID-19 Resilient Churches

Drive-in church is happening at Trinity United Methodist Church in DeLand.

“This is a way we are maintaining social distancing,” said Pastor Todd Bardin. “Our motto: ‘Come as you are, but stay in your car.’”

Yes, some people have come in their pajamas, he said. “People bring their pets. It’s a lot of fun. This service is a community outreach service.”

Pastor Bardin said the drive-in church service started May 17 and had been at 10 a.m. Because of the heat, the service is now starting at 9 a.m. Anywhere from 95 to 120 have rolled in each week and tuned into 88.5 FM, which reaches about 300 feet and therefore an FCC license is not required.

The service, which is under a 60-foot-long and 40-foot-wide portico, includes live musicians, prayer and a sermon, he said. Greeting one another comes in the form of “honking horns and waving to each other.”

Pastor Bardin said communion takes place each week.

“BYOC – Bring your own communion,” he said. “Any kind of bread or juice will do. We go through the ritual and share in the sacrament together.”

Pastor Bardin said the offering is collected either online at, by mail to 306 W. Wisconsin Ave., DeLand 32720, or it can be dropped into a bucket on the way out of the drive-in worship service.

“It meets a need in our community,” he said. “The sanctuary is on the second floor. Some folks have a hard time getting up the stairs. People can attend church without the struggles. We think this is going to meet a need long after the virus is gone.”

Members enjoy the service.

Lucy Halavin, 72, and her husband, Don, 73, have been attending the drive-in church service for just over a month.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s a way of going to church, seeing everybody, but safely. We wave to church members as we go by. It’s just a nice way to get together and worship God.”

Ann Jenkins, 68, has been going to Trinity for 48 years. She’s been going to the drive-in church service since its inception.

"It’s terrific,” she said. “I like being together. We’re safely in our own cars. I’m happy to see everyone’s face. They’re doing a great job.”

Trinity United Methodist Church, which has been around since Feb. 20, 1895, has been celebrating its 125th year.

Pastor Bardin said during the year-long celebration, each month a collection of “125 somethings” has taken place. Items collected included shoes and socks for children at Citrus Grove Elementary, blankets for the homeless, 125 gift cards to Trafficking Hope to fight human trafficking, and diapers for the Grace House Pregnancy Center in DeLand.

In addition to drive-in Sunday service, other events have taken place. A hymn sing under the stars was scheduled for July 9.

(Reposted with permission -- link to original story)