Bengaluru's Bethel AG Church held its first drive-in church service termed 'Worship on Wheels' on Sunday in a bid to keep mass prayers while maintaining social distancing norms in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many devotees drove in to attend their first Sunday mass after the Church was reopened after two and half months of lockdown. While the pastor was on the dais leading the service, the service was telecasted on multiple large screens displayed outside the church and devotees prayed from inside their cars. None of them stepped out at any point during the service.
"When I asked the church office whether we can come with children and adults, they said government rules don't allow it. But if it's like this, then it's like staying in the same family, staying in the same house. It is better this way," said Dr Simian Stephen, who came with his wife, two little children and a senior citizen.
Another devotee, Alfred Nazareth, who attended the service, said that while the lockdown doesn't allow people to come together as per lockdown rules, such initiatives are welcomed.
"We must follow this as they have given us a chance to come out and pray. We will pray this way so that we can come together later," he said.
While nobody stepped out, innovative methods such as using headlights and blinkers to respond to the pastor and raising hands outside the car while singing along. When the pastor asked how many had come there for the first time, many honked.
"People are excited to come together like this since we have maintained the norms and have come up with the safest way to come together," said Pastor Dani, associate pastor, Bethal AG.
Services for people arriving on two-wheelers was scheduled for 7 am and 5 pm, cars at 9 am and 7 pm while walk in's was allowed at 11 am and 1 pm at the church. The Sunday sermons were also live-streamed at noon via Youtube and Facebook.
"Worship on wheels is perfect. We have never seen prayers like this before. Pastor tells its first time in Asia. We are privileged to be part of this," said Anju Abraham, another devotee.