Thursday, May 13, 2021
Nearly 100 vehicles containing almost 300 people drove through the Good Friday service at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna. There were 10 stations revealing the story of Easter with volunteers portraying Jesus Christ and other biblical characters.

Trinity offers a drive-thru Easter message

For people wanting to get the real story of the suffering of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, a drive-thru experience made all the difference in the world.

About 80 adult and children volunteers at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna presented the Easter story in 10 stations scattered throughout Trinity’s parking lot on Good Friday.

“We were trying to think outside the box,” said Sheri Berg, director of children’s ministry at Trinity. “With COVID, we still wanted to do something meaningful.”

Trinity has done a Good Friday program for years, but typically it is held indoors. Last year as the pandemic had just begun, the church offered the program only online.

Using the same themes, Trinity had the extra twist of working with them outdoors.

One of the greatest challenges was finding nine people to play the role of Jesus for the various scenes. In the past, a single character would play Jesus in all the scenes.

Berg said families enjoyed coming together in person for this year’s drive-thru. “It’s an intergenerational event, so everyone can enjoy it,” she said.

Gail and Mark Zollner, along with their daughter, Lilly, volunteered to help with the Palm Sunday display featuring a toy donkey. They handed out palm branches to those who came through in their vehicles.

“This was a great opportunity to make it work for a service experience during COVID,” said Gail Zollner, adding it takes a lot of work to put the program together.

The program ended with the blessing of the vehicles and a prayer offered by one of Trinity’s three pastors. They also provided pre-packaged communion cups with wine and wafers.

Rev. Todd Buegler said the experience was emotional for some people. “This drive-thru was done in a world we didn’t expect,” he said. “It almost was more personal for people going to each scene.”

Buegler said Trinity has always tried to tell the Easter story in different ways to help people understand it better. “It’s visual… there is a lot of meaning behind it,” he said.

Trinity has found the Good Friday service to be volunteer intensive. “People love to be a part of telling the story,” said Buegler.

Berg said the event brought people together in a way they haven’t been able to do for more than a year.

“We are just happy to see each other,” she said. “It’s fun to see people that we haven’t for a long time.”




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Steele County Times

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