New London church holds drive-in Easter service at Ocean Beach Park

New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — At Ocean Beach Park in New London, a local church held Easter Sunday services in a drive-in format.

It was a no-contact, socially-distanced service, broadcast over car radios. Attendees participated by honking their horns and waving their windshield wipers.

Tom Miyashiro, an evangelist, told News 8 Sunday, “I know that with the pandemic going on, people need to hear good news, and frankly, even though we can’t gather the way we used to gather in buildings with a lot of people, we needed to be creative to find a way to still celebrate together. There’s a lot of things still worth celebrating together.”

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Two tractor-trailer beds are again in place at Ocean Beach Park for outdoor Easter Sunday services.

“We did it on the fly and it was very successful. We had a lot of people come out,” said Pastor Joe Paskewich of the Calvery Chapel Thursday.

His church – which has locations in Lebanon, New London, and Montville – held a drive-in style service at Ocean Beach Park last year to try to flatten the curve after COVID-19 first emerged.

“I doubt anybody thought we’d be doing it a second year and now we’re hoping we won’t be doing it a third,” said Pastor Joe.

The stage is set for this Sunday’s services. A band and speakers will stand upon the tractor-trailer beds to address worshipers who will stay in their cars with an empty parking space in between each of them.

“We don’t do any contact,” explained the Pastor. “We don’t hand out any communion. We don’t hand out any papers.”

People can tune in to hear the service which is broadcast on two radio stations.

“It’s a non-denominational service for everybody,” said Pastor Joe. “Everybody’s welcome.” 

There will be two Easter Services Sunday morning. One at 9 a.m. and one at 11 a.m. The pastor says if they’re anything like last year they will both be very joyous occasions.

Uplifting COVID-safe ways to worship on what is a very important holiday for many.

“The people who attend have been loving it,” said Pastor Joe. “Only came one time right but they loved it and we interact with people. People beep their horns. They do their windshield wipers.”

There was also an appearance by the Easter Bunny last year who waved at arriving cars.

“We need fun and we need joy. We need God and that’s why we’re doing it,” said Pastor Joe.

Many churches will also welcome worshipers but those not comfortable going inside may find their way to Ocean Beach.

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