Drive-in worship provides community, hope, means of grace for Dyersburg First United Methodist Church


Dr. Mary Beth Bernheisel, senior pastor of Dyersburg First United Methodist Church, preaches during drive-in Palm Sunday worship at Dyersburg First United Methodist Church. (Submitted photo)

By Rev. Will Clark, Associate Pastor
Dyersburg First United Methodist Church, Dyersburg, TN

Palm Sunday, April 5, was a different kind of Sunday for Dyersburg First United Methodist Church in Dyersburg, TN. The traditional act of gathering in pews was replaced by parishioners tuning into their car radios around an outdoor worship space.

Instead of shouts of "Hosanna" throughout the service, car horns rang out in the parking lot. Ushers donned masks and became parking attendants.

Rather than everyone waving real palm branches inside the sanctuary, palm branches (real and those made of construction paper) adorned car windows.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the congregation sought to gather while still maintaining social distance guidelines and fulfilling Wesley’s General Rule to “do no harm.”

Many felt the much-needed gift of greeting their brothers and sisters through closed windows while remaining safe. Parishioners without Internet access were again able to feel connected to the congregation, with an estimated 170 people in attendance for the service.

Plans were made for another drive-in service on Sunday, May 3. This effort has provided community, hope and a means of grace during this uncertain time.


How is your Memphis Conference church/congregation adjusting & adapting to social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic? What new ways have you found to worship, share devotions & hold Bible study? How are you continuing to serve & reach out to your community? What new technologies are you learning & embracing to communicate & maintain your connection? Share your stories & pictures! Any word count is acceptable, but 100 to 200 words is ideal. Please include who, what, when, where, why & how. Email

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