At Bethel AG Church in Bengaluru, a new type of prayer meeting is being held with a drive-in format as 'Worship on Wheels'. On a Sunday morning, June 14 saw numerous cars lined before the church for the service. The church's new style of prayer meets asserting social distancing might be considered the new normal, post the lockdown.
The church had announced the new format a few days ago. The church has been streaming daily devotions on social media. This format, however, is a first-of-its-kind service offered by the church to make it a contactless affair for devotees.
Bethel AG Church holds contactless drive-in service on Sunday amid pandemic
As the lockdown restrictions lift, a new normal is setting in on Bengaluru. With malls, shops, and places of religious worship opening, social distancing has become key to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus as cases continue to rise in the city.
Bethel AG Church is had earlier announced that it would be holding a Sunday prayer meet in a new 'drive-in' format where devotees could attend in their cars. The service is called 'WOW' or Worship on Wheels. The aim of the service is to maintain social distancing while praying.
In this new format, devotees were to park their cars and two-wheelers in the 3-acre parking lot, while worshippers attending by foot and public transport found seating in the building. This way in the comfort of one's personal vehicle devotees may partake in the service.
How do you attend a church service during a pandemic, ensuring social distancing?— Revathi Rajeevan (@RevathiRajeevan) June 14, 2020
Drive-in, sit in your cars and pray.
Location: near Bethal AG church, Bengaluru
There's also separate service for those coming in two-wheelers and others who don't come in vehicles. pic.twitter.com/wankW7Tti9
To streamline the process, the church divided the worship into two slots 9 AM and 7 PM for four-wheelers, and 7 AM and 5 PM for two-wheelers. Those attending the service in the building could attend at 11 AM and 1 PM, while those live-streaming could join at 12 PM.
Devotees wishing to partake in the Holy Communion were given pre-packed communion elements including bread and wine handed out by volunteers in a hygienic manner in the lot. The devotees could drop their offerings and tithes into buckets placed at the entrance or make the offering online. However, facilities like the restrooms, water, were not open.
The police force was in place to ensure the guidelines are followed. Reverend Johnson asserted that such a service would be the first in Asia, "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."
With inputs from IANS.