First UMC holds Easter service in parking lot for radio program

FREEPORT — With parishioners unable to sit side-by-side in the pews at Faith United Methodist Church, many sat safely circled, side-by-side in their cars to listen to a prerecorded Easter Sunday service by their pastor on the car radio on WFRL 1570.

It was Wednesday when Calvin Haines, Jr., pastor of the church, delivered the Easter service to the radio station to be played on Sunday.

Twenty-four cars parked in a circle in the lot next to the church. Words could be heard coming across the airwaves through the car radios. At the end of the service, Haines walked to the middle of the cars to deliver the benediction prayer. There was a resounding expression of “Amen,” with the honking of horns at the end.

Following the service, Michelle Stubbe, who was sitting in her vehicle, said, “It was a wonderful service but hard. I am emotional today. I have been part of this church since I was a baby. It’s special that we could still be together and worship at Easter.”

Megan Spahr of Pearl City stepped from her car with her children Alex and Jayelle, who listened from the car radio. They were among many who received a special blessing from Haines from a safe distance.

“It was amazing to still be able to celebrate this Easter,” Spahr said. “It wasn’t the same, but we were able to be together to worship.”

Haines said for the past few weeks, he has held drive-up blessings for members of his congregation. As he looked out at the cars, all in a circle on Easter, he said, “It is great to see folks together, to see them in one place. It’s a real boost, and very uplifting on this Holy day of Easter, and we did it from a safe distance.”

Jane Lethlean is a freelance correspondent:; @DOGWMN2