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Church Still Brings People Together

WILLIAMSBURG — As the war against COVID-19 continues and people try to adjust to a new way of doing things, there is no doubt that life is vastly different than it was a month ago.

By Rick Boston

“Social distancing” is the new normal as officials ask that gatherings of 10 or more people be suspended and that we keep a distance of at least six feet between people. Schools and sporting events have been canceled as officials try to contain the virus.

Isolating means changing routines and finding alternative ways to do things that are important, including worship.

With churches across the region shutting doors, some are broadcasting services online, promoting fellowship from a safe distance.

Grace Pointe Community Church in Williamsburg has found a way to bring people together while keeping them apart.

On Sunday, Pastor Jim Spivey presided over the areas first “drive-in” church in Grace Pointe’s parking lot.

“Drive-in Sunday”, as Spivey called it, had people remain in their cars as Spivey stood before them conducting the service over a loudspeaker.

“It has all the elements of church, but people will stay within their safely confined bubble,” Spivey said. “But we will still be able to deliver the message.”

Spivey said the drive-in church is his way of trying to bring a little normalcy to people’s lives.

“People need something that is consistent and good in their lives, especially during a crisis,” he said. “One of the churches responsibilities is to be a source of hope and inspiration, so we tried to think of ways that we could still do church that was outside of the box of the sanctuary.”

Spivey said since the coronavirus has forced people to keep their distance from each other, he has seen an opportunity to try something different.

“I take the recommendations and the mandates from those over us very seriously, but I also see it as an opportunity for the church to be creative, to find different ways to deliver the message,” he said.

Spivey said he plans to hold drive-in church every Sunday until the coronavirus crises passes.

“It is important, especially in these times, to get that message that Christ loves them out,” he said.

Spivey said the church plans to hold bible study online and is working with the youth pastor about holding classes remotely.

“We can still have all of the elements of teaching and interacting, it’s just not in the same building where we have physical access to each other,” he said. “We can still impact this culture for Christ.”

Spivey said that in the next few weeks he is hoping to have a system in place where he can broadcast the service over car radios as well as projecting it on screens.

“I’ve got a big screen but not a daytime projector,” he said. “I am looking into what it would take to rent, borrow or buy a projector so it can be projected on the screen.”

Spivey said people are not meant to be isolated from one another and his hope is that the Sunday drive-up service will help people cope with the changes the coronavirus has made to their lives.

“In this time of being quarantined and sheltered into place, we still need to interact and connect with other people,” he said. “We are social creatures by nature so to give an opportunity, even through the raised windows of their car to wave to their neighbor and smile, and have a joint experience is a good thing.”

(Source: Altoona Mirror)