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Holy Trinity to resume in-person worship

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 23, 2021

For nearly a year, Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church in North Fort Myers has been holding drive-in services for its older congregation.

However, this coming Sunday, May 2, the church will finally hold its first in-person, indoor service since the pandemic started in March 2020.

Pastor Clinton Cottrell said he is happy to be going back to doing things the way they did it before the pandemic.

“There’s nothing that takes the place of being in person, of having the community together again in person. We’re thrilled to be back inside,” Cottrell said. “There’s a little anxiety and we still have the pandemic, so we want to be careful and not throw caution to the wind.”

The church will continue to err on the side of caution, with the chairs spaced out six feet apart and the doors and windows open. They will also change the way they do communion.

“Most of our folks have had their vaccinations. The average age of our congregation is 79.5, but we think it’s probably safe now,” Cottrell said. “We just delayed because of our elderly congregation.”

After a relatively slow start on May 24, the drive-in services were very successful, with Easter bringing in more than 100 cars.

“They did better than anyone expected. We started with about 25 cars, but when we averaged it out, we had about 65 cars a week. Easter and Christmas brought us more cars than expected,” Cottrell said. “If you take the online services and the cars with about 1.8 people average, we averaged about 350 people per week in worship.”

Before that, the average was about half that. While they didn’t set any records financially, they finished the fiscal year in the black and paid all their bills, Cottrell said.

“I’m amazed by how in the midst of a pandemic people stayed connected in worship and giving,” Cottrell said. “We had a woman who needed a knee replacement and a member drove her to surgery, another drove her home and another let her stay in her home for a few weeks so she wouldn’t be alone, in the middle of a pandemic.”

Ultimately, the church is phasing back into a new normal, and while there are some things they can’t do like dinners and other activities, they’re coming.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that’s absolutely wonderful. And the seniors of the congregation, they need to be back with each other because it’s been a long year apart,” Cottrell said.

Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church will hold a contemporary service at 8:30 a.m. with the traditional service at 10:30 a.m.

The church is at at 19251 N. Cleveland Ave.

For more information, call 567-2246 or go online to 
htpc-nfm.com.