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Palm Sunday gathering held in church's parking lot

One group of worshipers got their palms and communion while still practicing social distancing.

MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. — The parking lot was full Sunday morning at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Mountain Top.

Worshippers parked their vehicles and received their lenten palms as their pastor tucked them under their windshield wipers.  

"This is a boost in morale for people to gather," said Pastor Michele Kaufman. "To be this close, yet still apart and honoring social distancing but coming up with a unique way to do it."

Pastor Kaufman said she planned the service before Governor Wolf issued the statewide Stay-At-Home Order. 

She decided that with some extra planning, the event was still safe and appropriate for people to attend.  

Kaufman said she pre-packaged communion with gloves and a mask.  

The packages were given out by masked and gloved volunteers with tongs.  

People were also asked to print their church bulletins at home.

Those who attended the service were able to enjoy it from the safety of their own vehicle with the windows closed. 

Kaufman used a radio transmitter to broadcast the service; all people had to do was turn their FM radio to 98.3 and turn it up. 

Worshippers were glad to observe Palm Sunday from the church parking lot as opposed to streaming it online from home.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to get out, be out and get some fresh air and see some of our friends," said Donald Wenner of Drums. 

At least 60 people attended, and now Pastor Kaufman is hopeful her congregation will also spend Easter gathering in this new way.

"I think it will help people think about their faith and what it means, what it means to gather as a people of faith," she said. "Our Congregation really enjoys, puts their all into the Lenten season,  it's really difficult for us to be separated."

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