Living Stone Calvary Chapel’s Drive-in Service Held Despite Snowstorm
Story by Margot Bass
Photos by George Gramlich
Pastor Sean Meagher teaches the Word during a drive-in Easter service in a snowstorm.
This past Easter is one most believers at Living Stone Calvary Chapel, and the community they serve, will not soon forget. The worship team and pastor huddled under a blue tent roof, each bundled snugly in winter coats as the temperature in Cañon City, CO, dropped to the mid-20s; snow, driven by 20-mph winds, swirled around them. The makeshift stage, a large goose-neck flatbed trailer, faced the church parking lot filled by more than 100 cars. Worshipers heard the service two ways: through a low-frequency FM transmitter and through loudspeakers. Families gathered inside their vehicles expressed their spiritual excitement by sounding their horns between songs and even during the teaching.
The worship team praises the Lord as snow falls on Easter Sunday.
“Even in the midst of the blizzard that day, our church leaders and volunteers all came together with great joyfulness to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” exclaimed Pastor Sean Meagher. “It was just intended to be a way to encourage our fellowship, which had been apart for several weeks. It really ended up being, by the will of God, a way to reach our community in a time when everyone was feeling lonely and isolated.” Other churches in the small community participated in the service, and by the end of the day, Sean added, nearly 1,000 had watched the service through social media. The highlight, however, was being able to have the church family back together again, he declared.
A blizzard pours down snow on the Easter service.
Colorado, like most states in the country, has been under a stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and most U.S. churches have not been able to physically meet. “It was cold—real cold. But nobody wanted to stop. People began arriving an hour before the service started to be sure to get a place. They stayed in their vehicles the whole time. Everyone was respectful and compliant to the wishes of our local and state leaders,” Sean observed.
That Sunday, Sean found himself in Revelation Chapter 5, following his teaching schedule. “I taught about the redemption that we have in Christ through His death and resurrection, about the Lamb of God taking the scroll from the hand of God and about the final redemption that the earth and all of mankind are longing for,” he recalled. “It fit the day perfectly. Not only did it apply to the difficult time that we’re in, but it was a reminder that God’s doing a wonderful work and maybe His return is near.”
Congregants lined up in over 100 cars to worship the Lord in the snowstorm on Easter Sunday.
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13
The drive-in service almost didn’t happen, and Sean believes its approval is a true “God Story.” Living Stone had originally planned an outdoor service at its amphitheater, which can seat up to 600 people, based on the expected easing of restrictions by Easter. Instead, the stay-at-home order was extended, and the fellowship began to plan a drive-in service, an option approved by the Colorado governor if local health officials approved. “Our health director opposed it, telling us we’d be fined and prosecuted if we held it,” Sean recounted. “But God had really put it on my heart that this is what we needed to do.”
Pastor Sean greets attendees while maintaining social distancing
He prayed the next day and read in one of the Gospels that Jesus remained silent before the accusations of His prosecutors before His death. “We decided to be silent and not try to defend ourselves or fight the battle,” he said. He would quietly accept the consequences for holding the drive-in service. However, other churches in the city fought the restrictions, and before the week was over, the governor gave permission for churches to hold drive-in services without local approval.
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