Pastor looks forward to resuming drive-in services

By Rebecca Black, PA.

A Co Antrim pastor said he is looking forward to restarting drive-in church services this weekend.

Pastor Billy Jones of Dunseverick Baptist Church has been running services in his church's car park close to the Giant's Causeway for a number of years.

However the church suspended them in March after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced social distancing measures.

Earlier this week the Northern Ireland Executive announced that drive-in church services could take place under a relaxation of lockdown rules.

Since then Mr Jones said his phone has been "red hot" with ministers from a number of other churches calling him, asking for advice.

He told the PA news agency that his church car park has the capacity to safely accommodate 100 cars.

The only contact will be with a steward at the gate, who will be wearing a mask and gloves, advising motorists where to park.

Mr Jones explained he will deliver the service using a PA system from the back of a potato lorry, socially distanced from a musician accompanying hymns on a keyboard.

He said many in the faith community have been missing the sense of fellowship in gathering together for services.

Mr Jones said, while some question the effectiveness of taking part in a service from a car: "I can tell you they have had an encounter with the Lord just as much as in a church building."

He said if the demand is there, they will start evening services on a Sunday in addition to the morning one, adding that they will also continue to stream online for those who are shielding amid the pandemic.

Meanwhile Tandragree Free Presbyterian Church in Co Armagh has announced plans to start a drive in evening service from June 7.

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