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Rolling pulpit eases pain for families during social distancing funerals

Posted at 9:12 AM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 09:12:55-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A local man is making it easier for a Petersburg funeral home to practice social distancing.

Saturday afternoon was a solemn day for the Crocker Family in Petersburg.

The family wanted a proper funeral for their loved, explained Shelton Smith, General Manager of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment

"Most of the families want their families to be with them, to share in that sendoff,” said Smith.

But the usual home going service is not possible due to social distancing amid the coronavirus Pandemic.

"The African American community, they go way out for sending their loved ones home," said Rodney Jones, a longtime friend of the Crocker Family.

"I saw the need so I was thinking how could we do it and I came up with this."

The idea turned project Rodney Jones came up with was what he describes as a “rolling pulpit."

"It was really a fantastic idea, really was," said Smith.

Jones started with a flatbed trailer he already owned, added a weather proof flooring, a roof, stairs and a back stop.

While a massive PA is attached there is a unique feature for those in their cars.

"When I hook it into my system, then it translates and goes into your car so you can hear the service in the car,” Jones explained.

"It was a great blessing to their family,” said Smith.

The rolling pulpit helped ease the pain of the day allowing the family and friends to park their cars in the library parking lot and join in the home going celebration.

"It did, because all of the family members could be there, they could remain in their cars, still be a part of the service, they had the FM Transmitter, where everything could be heard, within their cars itself, it helped tremendously," said Smith.

While the pandemic will keep funerals at a distance, both Wilkerson Funeral and Rodney Jones say the Rolling Pulpit is just a phone call away.