St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford, teamed up with Sainsbury’s East Filton, to put on a drive-in church service on Sunday 26 July. Over 100 cars were in attendance, with an estimated total of around 300 people.
Since lockdown began, faith leaders across the country have been looking for creative ways to continue patterns of worship, when meeting in person hasn’t been possible. Although restrictions have now eased to allow acts of public services inside churches, singing is still not permitted indoors. With that in mind, and spurred on by another drive-in service in Newquay, St Michael’s decided to make corporate worship with singing possible, from a car park.
Sainsbury’s at East Filton, which falls within the Stoke Gifford parish boundaries, has a large car park, in which the team at St Michael's thought it to be a fantastic place to put on their service. The store was very helpful and made the team feel really welcome.
Many who attended commented on how enjoyable the event was and how moving it was to worship alongside others after such a long time apart. St Michael’s hopes that this won’t be the last drive-in church experience that they put on.
Revd Tom Benyon, Associate Vicar at St Michael’s said:
“Like so many churches across the country we’ve been producing stacks of online services over lockdown, but we’ve really missed meeting and worshipping together as a church family. So we were delighted to be able to hold a drive-in service. It was a really vibrant, joyful event - full of laughter and hope. We got together safely, sang some songs, heard about the good news of Jesus and had fun along the way - and all from the comfort of our cars!”
The Archdeacon of Malmesbury, Revd Christopher Bryan said:
“Churches have been doing amazing things during the pandemic. The church’s life carries on, even when buildings are closed. I’ve heard about work with food banks, offering pastoral care, and lots of different ways of worshipping together. St Michael’s have been wonderfully imaginative and creative in offering the drive-in service.”
You can watch the live-stream of the service on YouTube here.