'It was uplifting': Church marks Easter with drive-in service
EDMONTON -- Instead of packing the pews, some churchgoers packed the parking lot of their church Easter Sunday. They didn’t go inside. Instead, they prayed outside in a drive-in service.
Similar to a drive-in movie theatre, the parishioners at Christcity Church sat in their cars, dialing into into 89.1 FM to listen to Pastor Ron Steinbrenner preach. They couldn’t see him. He was on stage inside the church’s auditorium. But his message was being broadcast through the radio and over the internet so they could hear him. And just being parked next to other members from their church, was enough to feel as though the congregation was together again.
"It was good. It was uplifting," said Nancy Zenari. "Every time you heard something that you felt awesome about, you honked your horn. It’s a good feeling of community."
Like every community right now, COVID-19 is keeping Christcity Church’s congregation apart. The circumstance has also inspired preachers to team up with techies to bring them back together through services like this one, and others which are being pre-recorded or live-streamed online for those who can’t get to the parking lot.
"We need to continue to just see hope into our people, right? And it’s a time to choose faith over fear. And that’s extremely important," Pastor Mark Steinbrenner said.
"We want people to come, we want families to come, obviously still respecting the guidelines."
Regular Easter Sunday mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica was cancelled, but it was streamed online instead.
The Basilica is also using its social media platforms to post announcements and invite people to join church leaders in prayer through Zoom, an online video conference chat.
But some people like Hazel O’Brien, also want to pray in person. St. Joseph’s Basilica’s doors were open Sunday, although fewer than 15 people were inside.
“I pray for the world for the virus to be over soon,” O’Brien said.