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Bengaluru church devises drive-in services for COVID times

B'luru church devises drive-in services for COVID times

Bengaluru:  A city church will conduct a drive-in worship service on Sunday where the congregation can attend in the comfort of their cars to maintain physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the past 12 weeks, we have been streaming daily devotions and our Sunday services live through our website and social media handles like YouTube and Facebook with great success. However, we as a community have been yearning to meet up and worship together,” Bethel AG Church International Worship Centre’s pastor in-charge Reverend Johnson V said on Wednesday, about the drive-in service.

Dubbed as Worship on Wheels, the church at Hebbal in Bengaluru will accommodate cars as well as two-wheelers in a newly acquired three acre plot, named Temple of God.

The church acquired the plot in December 2019, located 200 metres away from the current church complex in Hebbal, with the aim to build a larger church building to accommodate the increasing congregation.

Claiming to be the first of its kind Sunday service in India, the church said it is making all arrangements to ensure 100 per cent contactless service.

Accordingly, there will be no seating arrangement and all other common touch points such as toilets, canteens and resource centres will be off limits.

The Bethel Church will be installing multiple screens and speakers at the drive-in service, including live streaming the devotion.

“Our Worship on Wheels service will bring us together and at the same time, ensure that we honour the safety instructions given by the government. We have procured all the necessary permissions required to arrange the service and are ensuring that it will be 100 per cent contactless,” said Johnson.

Planning six services on Sunday, two each will be conducted for those driving-in on motorcycles and cars and two more inside the church building for the devotees taking public transport or walking in.

Services for people arriving on bikes have been scheduled at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., cars at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and walk-ins at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Similarly, to pray for those people who cannot attend any of the six services, an online sermon will be live streamed at 12 p.m. on Facebook and YouTube.

He said the church regularly streamed its services all through the lockdown, attracting participation from as many as 100 countries.

Johnson said more than 1 lakh people logged into the church’s website in its earlier services and many more via the social media.

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