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Making bonds stronger: Churches opting for drive-in worship

Area churches are finding alternative ways to worship together while still following social distancing rules.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, churches and other places of worship were advised not to have services. While the separation of church and state still stands, churches around the state have closed their doors to prevent the spread of the disease.

With drive-in church services, many churches are able to host services and still adhere to guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes social distancing, which means that individuals must be at least six feet apart.

Churches in Brookhaven are taking advantage of this idea and are using it to bring their congregations together. Wayne Moak, pastor at Clear Branch Baptist Church, said this Sunday will be the church’s first time to host a drive-in service.

“It’s a way that our people can see each other even through social distancing,” Moak said.

Clear Branch’s process will include setting up a stage on a trailer in the parking lot. Church staff will direct members where to park their cars so they are evenly spaced out.

The church ordered an FM transmitter so that they can broadcast through an unused FM signal. This will allow members to hear the service through the radio in their vehicle.

“That will be helpful,” Moak said.

Moak said that the drive-in services would benefit his congregation and hopefully boost morale.

“We’re worshipping together, but we’re distanced,” Moak said. “I think the main reason is so that we draw strength, love and encouragement from one another.”

Tim Bedwell, pastor at Brookhaven Church of God, said last Sunday was the first time the church had hosted a drive-in service.

“There’s not a whole lot to it,” Bedwell said. “It just takes putting together.”

For their service, Brookhaven Church of God sets their sound equipment up outside the church. Members can line up in parking spots and listen from their cars.

“It’s just working together as a team,” Bedwell said.

Bedwell said he would recommend it to any pastor who wanted to gather his congregation for worship during this time.

“I would recommend it for pastors to get together with their people,” Bedwell said. “We need that now more than ever.”

Bedwell hopes that hosting drive-in services will be a help to his congregation.

“That bond seems to be strengthened by seeing one another,” Bedwell said.

Story by Gracie Byrne