At least one local church will still gather its congregation for a Palm Sunday Mass, but worshippers will be socially distancing by remaining in their vehicles during the service.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wright Twp. will hold the mass in its parking lot and broadcast it on a low frequency radio station so people could listen in their vehicle.
Palms will be slipped under a vehicle’s windshield wipers. Worshippers are free to take them or leave them at the end of the service without touching them.
“We are going to have drive-up Palm Sunday and Easter services,” said Jim Doxsey, a church member organizing the services with Pastor Michele Kaufman. “We thought it was important to have Easter services. If it goes off without a hitch, we plan to continue to worship this way until things get back to normal.”
Palm Sunday services will be held both at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Kaufman will lead the services from a platform in the parking lot. Worshippers could listen in at 98.3 FM, a low frequency signal that barely extends past the borders of the church property, Doxsey said.
Doxsey said such church activities are allowed under exemptions to Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay at home orders and the plan has been cleared by township police.
A unique part of Mass is that worshippers, if they choose, will be handed individual communion sets. It’s a sealed cup of grape juice with an affixed communion wafer atop that is also individually wrapped.
A lot of people never heard of such a thing, Doxsey said.
“I didn’t either, but Pastor Michele saw it in one of those church supply catalogs she gets,” Doxsey said.
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Bob Kalinowski works for The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-821-2055 or @cvbobkal on Twitter.