In this July 19, 2020 photo, Senior Pastor Dr. Jim Cantrell & Associate Pastor Rev. Alex Jones of Snellville United Methodist Church delivers Sunday message to Drive-In worshippers.In this July 19, 2020 photo, Senior Pastor Dr. Jim Cantrell & Associate Pastor Rev. Alex Jones of Snellville United Methodist Church delivers Sunday message to Drive-In worshippers.

On Sunday, July 19 at 9:00 a.m., Snellville United Methodist Church held its first Drive-In Worship Service since the COVID-19 pandemic required churches to close its doors to in-person worship.

While in the planning stages, Snellville UMC wasn’t sure what to expect. Would anyone show for a Drive-In Worship Service? Would fear override their desire to worship in a gathered setting since the term “lock-down” was still fresh on everyone’s mind? The simple act of going to church had become non-existent, and something needed to be done.

On that July morning, family cars flowed into the Snellville UMC parking lot. Volunteer ushers wearing facial coverings were prepared and ready to greet and direct each car to face a stage where Senior Pastor Dr. Jim Cantrell and Associate Pastors Rev. Alex Smith and Tracy Rollins Sever preached. An online worship bulletin of the entire service with words to each song was available. Using an FM transmitter, worshippers tuned into 89.5 on their radio to hear the Sunday message along with live piano music, guitar, and singing from Michelle Green and Carlos Ortiz.

In this July 19, 2020 photo, Senior Pastor Dr. Jim Cantrell of Snellville United Methodist Church delivers Sunday message to Drive-In worshippers.In this July 19, 2020 photo, Senior Pastor Dr. Jim Cantrell of Snellville United Methodist Church delivers Sunday message to Drive-In worshippers.The service was kept short, about 35 to 40 minutes, and worshippers were asked to stay in their cars. Even though physical distancing was required, everyone was spiritually connected. One of the hardest obstacles for people during this pandemic is losing physical connection to family members and their church community. Attendees were so happy being able to see their friends and to worship as a body of Christ.

At the end of the service, ushers guided each car out of the parking lot with an encouraging invitation to come the following Sunday.

Since that day, Snellville UMC has been offering Drive-In Worship Services Sundays at 9:00 a.m. in their parking lot. The church welcomes an estimated 50 to 60 cars – around 80 worshippers each Sunday. Everyone is welcome and all precautions are being made to ensure people are able to worship without fear.

The atmosphere at the Drive-In services on the Snellville UMC campus has a celebratory feel! For a lot of people, getting out of the house to take part in community worship is mentally uplifting and healing, and that’s definitely something to celebrate.

Snellville UMC’s Re-opening Taskforce is working hard to determine how and when to safely re-open its doors, however, some may still be apprehensive about physically attending church. Since having to suspend in-person worship, Snellville UMC has offered an online worship service every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on Facebook Live, which will continue into the foreseeable future. Pre-recorded services can be found on their Facebook page - facebook.com/SnellvilleUMC, Twitter – twitter.com/SnellvilleUMC, Website - snellvilleumc.org, and YouTube Channel.

Snellville UMC wants to welcome everyone into a loving relationship with Jesus. All are invited to come and worship together and to worship together safely. Even if, for now, we’re physically separated from each other, nothing can separate us from our creator. Snellville UMC hopes to see you this Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

The address for Snellville United Methodist Church is 2428 Main Street East, Snellville, GA 30078.

For more information and to download the upcoming Sunday worship bulletin, visit snellvilleumc.org or call (770) 972-9360.

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