PERRY, Fl. (WTXL) — Westside Baptist Church in Perry, Florida held Easter Sunday service while also adhering to social distancing guidelines. It was a different kind of service but with the same message.
Since church members are not allowed inside Westside Baptist, they stayed in their cars and honked their car horns. The horn is their "Amen."
"It's a way that we can still show our support and still support the pastor," said Lisa English. "I can only imagine what it must be like being up there trying to speak when no one can respond to you. We're just glad that we're able to do that."
English took part in the Westside Baptist's Easter service on Sunday. She along with dozens of others decided to the make the best of a very different type of Easter day.
"With the social distancing in place, we're not able to gather with our family like we're used too," explained English. "But, we're grateful that we're still able to come and have church and still worship the Lord."
Westside Baptist has been offering drive-in church services and Facebook Live services since the CDC guidelines went into place. Pastor Tim McDonald explained that the idea for the drive-in came about years ago.
"We had a member of our church who was totally blind," said McDonald. "He comes in one day and says, 'Brother Tim we've got to have church like the old drive-in movies where we pull up, we put the speaker on, we don't have to get out of the car, we can come in our pajamas, or we can come any way we want too, and listen to you preach but never have to go inside." And it was a big joke back then."
It was a joke that ended up becoming reality for Westside Baptist when the pandemic hit. The biggest difference for Westside Baptist members is not being able to have fellowship, or hug and shake hands. However, they know right now is more important than ever to be there for one another.
The biggest difference for Westside Baptist members is not being able to have fellowship, or hug and shake hands, however they know right now is more important than ever to be there for one another.
"For us, we just enjoy being able to get out and get together and still see faces, even if we're waving across the parking lot," said English.
The pastor added, "Now, we all recognize the need to reach out to each other. Historical, average church congregants expect the pastor or maybe the pastor and the deacons to do all of the reaching out to people. And so, I think it's opened up the channels that our church is growing closer."
From waving across the parking lot to honking their horns, Pastor McDonald and his congregation will continue to do just that for the next few weeks.