NEW CREEK - As the parking lot began to fill up on Sunday morning, the Rev. Dr. Stephon Reed, pastor at Rees Chapel UMC in New Creek, kept his eye on the gray sky, praying that the rain would hold off for another hour.

For the News Tribune
NEW CREEK - As the parking lot began to fill up on Sunday morning, the Rev. Dr. Stephon Reed, pastor at Rees Chapel UMC in New Creek, kept his eye on the gray sky, praying that the rain would hold off for another hour.
Ushers directed drivers to park facing the church, where Dr. Reed stood at a podium, ready to lead the service for worshipers who were safely separated from each other in the comfort and safety of their own vehicles, abiding by the recommendations of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
Faithful worshipers waved to each other from their vehicles, lowering windows to shout greetings to each other after not meeting together for a few weeks.
At 10 a.m., the pianist, Denise Shreve, began to play the prelude and automobile windows were lowered to hear the worship service coming from speakers set outside the church.
“With the threat of the spread of the coronavirus, I knew that we could not meet in our church sanctuary,” Dr. Reed stated. “I remembered that years ago I joined another minister in holding parking lot services, and they were quite successful.”
When the congregation learned of his plans, they unanimously supported their pastor in his efforts to help the congregation remain connected throughout the “Stay in Place” order from President Trump, and the recommendations from the CDC, as well as the Bishop of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.  
When the final “Amen” had been said and the benediction given, worshipers shared their thoughts on the innovative worship service, waving goodbye to each other as they drove from the parking lot.
“Thank you for going the extra mile.” “Just what I needed today, Pastor!” “Can’t wait until next week!”  “This service was so different; it changed my life.”
“Already I have received some wonderful text message feedback from the members here at Rees Chapel,” Dr. Reed said. “They love the idea that they can still come to worship, and yet remain protected with a safe distance from others. We really felt God’s presence with us in this new format, too.”
One person said it well in his text message to Dr. Reed, which read, “Powerful words we’re spoken today, Pastor!”