CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — For those who celebrate, Easter Sunday is the most important holiday of the year. You would typically find crowded churches around the world. This year, COVID-19 meant empty pews, but Bible Baptist Church found a way to still bring people together.
Pastor Mark Smith preached on top of the church building to a packed parking lot of people sitting in their cars.
“I thought at first [the idea] was somewhat ridiculous. It seemed so out of the box,” says Smith. “But the more I though about it, the more I thought it might really be something unique for Easter.”
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a main concern was safety. Smith says he contacted the Champaign Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) to get the green light.
“I do have a document from them saying it was acceptable, and we really strived to make sure everything was done properly and safely within guidelines that were given to us,” he says.
Churchgoers pulled into the parking lot and tuned into AM radio to hear their pastor and instructions before the service started: remain in your car and windows up.
“It was very meaningful to me, and at the very end..I was just a little bit overwhelmed with emotion because I haven’t seen my church family in weeks,” says Smith.
And all throughout the service, car horns symbolized the sound of rejoicing.
“When all the horns started going off, it kind of gave me goosebumps a little bit to see the people of the Lord getting together and celebrating resurrection Sunday, which is what Easter is all about,” says church deacon Tyson Graves.