Monday, March 30, 2020

'Come As You Are in the Family Car.' Drive-In Church Services Are Taking Off During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Churchgoers attend a drive-in at Bethel Church in Evansville, Indiana last Sunday. Bethel Church

When pastor Frank Carl delivers a sermon at Genoa Church in Westerville, Ohio, he typically hears a chorus of “amens.” On Sunday, he instead heard a deafening blast of honks.

And Carl wasn’t at the pulpit—he was about 25 feet off the ground on a scissor lift. “It’s not what I had in mind when I accepted a higher calling,” he told TIME of the experience, laughing.

This bizarre method of preaching wasn’t carried out for the sake of vanity or experimentalism, but rather as a compromise in the face of restrictions caused by a virus that has upended virtually every part of life around the globe. As the COVID-19 virus has rapidly spread, public health officials and governments have limited large group meetings and advised everyone to socially distance. But for many churchgoers, communal congregations have become all the more important during a global pandemic.

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Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.-Jeremiah 17:5

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