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Churches poised to introduce 'drive through' services in Northern Ireland

The proposals, which have yet to receive final approval, were published by the Northern Ireland Executive last week

Drive-through mass amid coronavirus pandemic, Chalons En Champagne, France
Drive-through mass amid coronavirus pandemic, Chalons En Champagne, France Credit: Christophe Petit Tesson/ EPA-EF /Shuttershock

Churches are poised to introduce the first “drive through” services during the UK national lockdown in an attempt to encourage churchgoers to return to worship.

Enforced social distancing measures could see congregations confined to their vehicles as leaders conduct hymns and bible readings from a stage in church car parks.

538prom精品视频在线播放First popularised by American evangelicalists in the 1950s, the services are designed to allow worshippers to attend church events before numbers of people allowed to gather are widened.

France and Germany are among countries that have introduced “drive-in” religious gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

A worshipper sings from her car during the celebration of the first drive-through mass in Chalons-en-Champagne Credit: Christophe Petit Tesson/ EPA-EFE/Shuttershock

It comes as Boris Johnson faces increasing pressure from the clergy to reopen churches.

In a letter published in The Times earlier this month, more than 800 clergymen claimed the excessive ecclesiastical lockdown represented “a failure of the Church's responsibility to the nation”.

On Friday, Mr Johnson disclosed he had spoken with the Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, about allowing churches to reopen in a call with the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs.

Under the Government's current lockdown strategy, places of worship could reopen on July 4 at the earliest but some leaders warned church services might not return to normal before the end of the year.

The Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, said there would need to be significant changes to key aspects of Christian worship “for some time” to come.

538prom精品视频在线播放She said: “I don't envisage, even up to the end of the year, we will be back to our normal services. We'll have some churches doing things differently.”

In Northern Ireland, ministers are due to discuss allowing “drive through” services as part of a gradual relaxing of restrictions.

The proposals, which have yet to receive final approval, were published by the Northern Ireland Executive last week.

Church officials have welcomed the plans with arrangements under way on how to transform facilities.

Billy Jones, pastor of the Dunseverick Baptist Church, told The Telegraph: “Hopefully from next Sunday, I will be leading the sermon from a lorry which has a platform attached with a sound system. People can tune in to a specific radio frequency from their vehicles too if they want.”

“It will mean the local community can come together with a desire to encounter god and can enjoy the fellowship by expressing faith - even if it is from their cars.”

Churches in England have said they are monitoring the situation and will consider adopting similar “drive through” services if the measures prove successful.

Kevin Felix-Hollington, pastor at Halling Baptist Church, in Kent, said:  “We could convert our car park, block the entrance and space chairs out at a two metre distance so worshippers would be able to follow the rules and listen to a sermon. I think this could happen in the near future.”

“We have even considered the possibility of having open air meetings, where people could come in clusters and sit down on the grass at the local park to listen to a pastor pray and sign.”

“At the moment we are doing our services on Zoom, which involves bible reading and sing-a-longs, with a discussion at the end to follow up on the message.”

538prom精品视频在线播放The Church of England said it was unable to comment, while the Church of Scotland ruled out allowing “drive through” services in its churches.

538prom精品视频在线播放Other churches have adopted imaginative measures to spread their message to worshippers at home.

St John the Baptist Church, in Leicester, has turned to Minecraft to teach youngsters about Christianity during the lockdown.

The church has been digitally recreated on a server so that the youth club can play Bible themed games online with each other every Wednesday.

538prom精品视频在线播放On Minecraft, instead of a field and houses surrounding the church as they do in real life, there is a sea with the whale from the story of Jonah to explore, for example.

Would you join a "drive through" service? Let us know in the comments section below.
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