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Livestreams And Drive-Ins Make For Unconventional Easter Sunday

Nick de la Canal

Easter Sunday was celebrated a little differently in North Carolina this year. Pews were empty as most churches shifted their services online or invited parishioners to attend drive-in services while remaining inside their vehicles.

Church-goers rolled down their windows or sat up in the back of their pickups at the drive-in service at New Life Church of Jesus Christ. There were no pews, just rows of cars in a grassy field with a shipping container stage.

Karen Vukelich and her husband are youth pastors at the church. They parked their Nissan Rogue up front, where they could wave to people walking to the porta-johns or hanging out their sunroofs.

"There's just something about being together, even if were in our cars and we're distancing, that nothing compares to," said Vukelich.

Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE
New Life Church of Jesus Christ in Concord, N.C. held a drive-in Easter service amid restrictions on large in-person gatherings.

Pedro Fequiere normally volunteers as a church usher, but this year, he was helping direct traffic in gloves and a face mask.

"This is all new to us," he said as he helped motion cars into neat, spaced-out rows. "It's different. Everything's different nowadays."

There had been some question as to whether drive-in services would be allowed under North Carolina's stay-at-home order. Police in Wilmington had initally warned churches that drive-in services would be considered a violation of the order, but then changed course, writing on Facebook that the governor's office clarified drive-in services would be allowed as long as people remained isolated inside their cars.

Sheriff's deputies were standing by at the service in Concord, and no incidents were reported.

Credit Lisa Worf / WFAE
Congregants dropped off flowers at Avondale Presbyterian in Charlotte for Easter.

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte opted to livestream its Easter Mass, with Bishop Peter Jugis leading the virtual worship service.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles also spent Easter Sunday worshipping from afar.

The mayor addressed her fellow congregants at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in a video posted on Saturday, thanking them for staying home Sunday morning and attending the Easter service virtually.