Covid-19 has drafted many changes in our lives. By this time we have all realised that the ‘post lockdown normal’ will be quite different from the ‘pre-lockdown normal’. Everybody has been wondering how events, where social gathering is unavoidable, will take place.
An example of this was just seen a couple of days back. A church in Bengaluru organised drive-in worship, allowing visitors to perform Sunday service without breaking the social distancing norm in view of the coronavirus spread.
How Did It Take Place?
A little before the 9 am Sunday Mass, cars began filing into the Temple of God ground, a 3-acre open parking area of the Bethel AG Church International Worship Centre (BAGCIWC) in Hebbal, North Bengaluru. Each of the cars drove into slots marked on the ground, after which their engines were turned off, the windows rolled down. It was time for the Sunday Mass.
For its first prayer service since the lockdown, the Protestant church came up with a concept of ‘Worship on Wheels (WOW)’, a drive-in Mass where people could take part in the service while in their cars or on their bikes. The Sunday mass was divided into five services and divided into three batches. The first batch was of two-wheelers at 7 am and 5 pm, the second batch was of cars from 9 am to 7 pm and the third batch at 11 am was of those who came in auto-rickshaws, cabs, buses or by walking to the church.
According to pastor Dani Kuruvilla of Bethel AG Church, the worshippers performed the prayers without getting off their vehicles. He further added that while the church live-streamed daily prayers and the Sunday Mass throughout the lockdown period, they decided to come up with an alternative arrangement once the church reopened its doors. While the Karnataka government had allowed places of worship to open starting June 8, most churches waited for almost a week before opening.
Members of the church, adhering to social distancing norms, sang and prayed while sitting in their cars after parking them on the ground during drive-in worship. Claiming to be the first of its kind Sunday service in India, the church had said it is making all arrangements to ensure 100% contactless service. The church conducted the service in a plot acquired in December 2019, located 200 metres away from the current church complex in Hebbal, with the aim to build a larger church building to accommodate the increasing congregation.
It would be wonderful if such practices could be adopted in every religious gathering across the country. This would ensure the safety of the people and attend such gatherings without flouting the social distancing norms.