BRIDGEPORT — The limitations placed on social gatherings since the COVID-19 quarantine has affected nearly every part of families’ lives. For those, specifically, who have a church affiliation, necessary steps have been taken to remain faithful in the spiritual walk.
One local church faced some initial resistance, but has been able to reach out to its congregation in a new way. Fountain Fellowship in Bridgeport accommodated its Easter Sunday church-goers with a drive-in service.
Pastor Charlie Ash said that the church’s parking lot, located along Illinois Route 250 in Bridgeport, was full on Easter Sunday. Those attending could see the church musicians who stood at safe distances along the front of the outside of the building. To hear the music and sermon, the drive-in congregation dialed in to 97.9 on their car radios.
The musicians used in-ear monitors which eliminated the need for outdoor speakers. With all instruments and microphones being patched into a sound board, all audio was sent through an FM transmitter.
For this special service, it could also be heard on Lawrenceville radio station WAKO, 99.3 FM. It was presented in a live stream on the church Facebook page, as well.
“We are thankful that we have a facility that allows us to do it,” Ash said, speaking of the large former IGA grocery store parking lot. Overall, Ash said, “the response has been overwhelmingly positive.” It was the third week that the service has been held as a drive-in service.
In February, the church leadership anticipated that potential COVID-19 restrictions could pose challenges to the livelihood of the church. At that time, plans were put in place to cut costs associated to operations of the church.
Several churches are offering their services online via Facebook or Youtube. While these options are viable for sharing the Gospel messages, the reality of financial hardships for churches is to be considered. Noting that many may be faced with making the decision to put food on their table, rather than tithe, is a concern for all church families. For those who wish to tithe, church PayPal accounts have been set up, as well as the convenience of mailing in checks.
For the drive-in services, Fountain Fellowship has a designated person to take a bucket to each vehicle for the offering. Once collected, the money is sprayed with a disinfectant as additional protective measure.