Drive-in Easter service held on Phillipston Common

  • The Congregational Church of Phillipston, lef by Pastor Stephanie Flynn, held a drive-in Easter service at the town’s Common. COURTESY CAROLE GARIEPY

For Athol Daily News
Published: 4/13/2020 5:53:21 PM
Modified: 4/13/2020 5:53:17 PM

PHILLIPSTON — On Easter morning Phillipston Common was reminiscent of a drive-in theater, but instead of a movie, it was a live 5-Star feature celebrating the day Christ rose from the dead.

Pastor Stephanie Flynn had been mailing and emailing uplifting and inspirational messages to parishioners through this period of isolation and fear when the church, along with all public gathering places, was closed, but she wanted the Easter message to be personal. So, with the help of her husband, Kevin and son, Andrew, they set up a loud speaker system in front of the church and invited everyone to come, park around the common area, and stay in their cars.

And, come they did. It felt even more special than the usual Easter Sunday when the church pews are full and the altar is decorated with memorial flowers. The circle around the common was full, also the parking area by the library and the space by the school.

Marilyn Holway filled the pots in the front of the church with daffodils and arranged Easter lilies, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips in the center of the common. Instead of standing behind the pulpit, Pastor Stephanie had the backdrop of the beautiful 1785 Congregational Church. The setting was majestic.

Pastor Stephanie compared our quarantine to the period when Jesus was entombed, how a virus like this that so suddenly changed our lives can rock our foundation, a very complicated time, but she reminded us that nothing past, present, or yet to come can separate us from Jesus. We need to hold fast to the strength of love and to remember the Easter message — “Jesus is risen from the dead,” a promise He has given to us for eternal life. She prayed and gave thanks to all the people who continue to outreach and give their best to serve us; she prayed for the people who sick and for those who have lost loved ones ... and she provided a long moment of silence for us to have our own personal talks with God about the requests in our hearts and the blessings we are thankful for.

The air was filled with the sweet melodic tones from her son, Andrew’s saxophone at the beginning and ending of the service. He along with Pastor Stephanie on her clarinet played accompaniment for the hymns.

Everyone needed Easter more than ever this year. It’s an Easter that more than ever we felt the pain Jesus had when he died for us. It’s an Easter that will never be forgotten.

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