Hundreds Attend Ohio Church's Drive-In Worship Service

CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 21:  People arrive for the start of service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as it is opened for a Sunday service after a mass shooting at the church killed nine peopleon June 21, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspect Dylann Roof, 21, was arrested and charged in the killing of nine people during a prayer meeting in the church, one of the nation's oldest black churches in the South, which has reopenned to worshippers today.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Hundreds Attend Ohio Church's Drive-In Worship Service

Nearly 600 people sat in their cars and found a new way to engage in worship together in the age of social distancing.

Published March 24th

Written by BET Staff

With the state of Ohio ordered to stay at home after a shelter-in-place was issued amid the global coronavirus outbreak , religious services have had to get creative. 

Genoa Church of Westerville held two “Drive In Church” worship services on Sunday morning (March 22) with nearly 600 people in 300 cars attending. 

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“We decided to do this as an alternative way to allow people to worship collectively in a safe environment of their own car and to honor the guidelines of our governor,” said Genoa Church Pastor Frank Carl. 

Each service followed its usual order of weekly church services with their praise and worship led by their Music Pastor Kerry Buck followed by a sermon and offering shared by Carl. 

“Instead of folks saying ‘Amen,’ our outdoor gathering would enthusiastically ‘honk their horn’ to show support in the moment,” he said. 

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Three drive-in services will begin starting next Sunday with the hope that as many as six possible services will be offered on Easter Sunday on April 12.

Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, Ga. moved his megachurch’s praise and worship services online in early March in response to the coronavirus epidemic.

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“All that’s here are empty seats because the building and the seats are not the church,” said Franklin during a sermon.  

Many congregations nationwide have decided to hold worship services in alternative ways since churches have closed their doors to slow the spread of COVID-19 by using online streaming services or uploading pre-recorded sermons on their social media accounts. 

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