Church holds drive-in service for congregation during pandemic

It may seem like it’s getting harder to fellowship, but one Waller County church continues bringing worshippers together, finding a way while social distancing.

At the entrance to the parking lot of The Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, a sign reads, "Drive-in service, stay in your car."

It also includes instructions to tune in to 102.7 FM. Over the airwaves, the church's pastor reminds those pulling in with a firm, “Stay in your vehicles.”

Waller County reported its first case of COVID-19 at Prairie View A&M on Friday. It was followed by an order from the county judge for people to keep six feet apart if going to outdoor religious services.

"How do we preserve physical fellowship while maintaining social distancing?" asks Pastor Michael Hofmann. "Since we are in a crisis, church is especially important. In the midst of a crisis, where do people find peace? Where do people find hope?"

Pastor Hofmann is hoping to keep the church's spirit alive. He says after consulting with a fellow pastor, he researched FCC laws and found an FM transmitter online so that people could pull up and park and stay in their cars while tuning in to the pulpit. For those coming to service, he asks that they lower their windows just enough to get a program from ushers wearing gloves and masks.

"I miss the hugs though, we are a loving church, so I’ll be glad when we can get back to normal and start hugging again," says member Vicky Walton.

Cross of Christ plans to keep the drive-in services going as long as the county order is in place.

"We would love to go back to our sanctuary, but we’re going to trust our officials," says Hofmann. "Our safety is their priority."

Instead of choruses of "amen", horn honks echo each other from the parking lot. It's a new form of praise from the members who tell us with social distancing they're still hoping to get a little closer to God.

In the meantime, the pastor says the radio signal reaches a couple of miles outside the church, so if people in the area aren't able to drive up, they can still tune in.

Drive-in services are held Sundays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.