EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Many in the community have been attending church online since the coronavirus swept through the Tri-State. But since Easter is this weekend, some local churches have found a way to celebrate together at Eastland Mall.
Easter is typically a time for families to get together, but most of us are unable to celebrate together in person this year. That’s why these local churches feel this service is so important.
A gathering of any kind could cause concern as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our community.
However, local churches wanted to find a way to celebrate Easter, while keeping everyone safe.
“The service is planned by a collection of churches that are here in the Evansville area and we’ll have time to worship through song," Phil Heller, Lead Pastor at Crossroads Christian Church said. “We’ll be studying God’s word. We’ll also be sharing how the churches are serving the people in this community by the need of a neighbor platform."
Safety of everyone involved was the number one thing discussed.
“Safety precautions are of the utmost importance to us," Kam Liu, Strategic Operations Manager at Bethel Church said. “Along the way when we had talked about this type of service, we talked to state officials, local government officials, officials at Deaconess, the Vanderburgh County Health Department. We’ve talked to various people asking for their input. What can we do to make this the safest gathering possible? To make this the same as if they were at home, really.”
Safety precautions so important, one pastor decided to enjoy the service from his car and not preach.
“Myself and one other person on our staff, the musician, had been connected relationally with someone whose spouse had tested positive," Bret Nicholson, Lead Pastor at One Life Church said. “So it’s that far away, but we just said, ‘Okay’ because there’s at least that level of exposure, which is almost no level of exposure at all - we’re still going to be safe.”
The service is scheduled to start on Sunday at 11 a.m.
When drivers arrive at Eastland Mall that morning, they will park their cars in every other parking spot to keep their safe distance, even though they will also remain in their cars.
“One of the hallmarks of our faith is just being a gathering together of believers," Prince D. Samuel of Bethel Church said. “And it’s one of the things that makes the church different on how we show love to one another. So a gathering is a really important thing, but at the same time, one of the real important factors for us was obeying the guidelines and following the rules that were put into place."
The Evansville Police Department and other security will be patrolling the area to make sure everyone does stay in their vehicles. Churches are also encouraging attendees to bring their own communion because nothing will be physically passed out.