Drive-in Easter services letting public health recommendations take the wheel

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Local faith leaders embracing drive-in ministry in lieu of in-person fellowship are letting public health recommendations take the wheel this Easter.

Pastors from various churches across Indianapolis will host drive-in communion services Sunday morning at Pike High School, located at 5401 W. 71st St.

The 15-minute services will be held hourly from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the school parking lot.

Residents of any faith are welcome to attend, provided they remain in their vehicles and adhere to physical distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Congregants will be asked to park with at least one empty spot between vehicles, facing a makeshift “stage” on the back of a truck.

Hundreds are expected to attend.

“People will bring their own communion juice [and] their own communion crackers,” said John Girton Jr., a pastor organizing the event. “They’ll wave at each other, they’ll blow their horns, they’ll flash their lights and then they’ll go out the other way and continue their Resurrection Sunday festivities.”

Easter Sunday is a “monumentous day for the faith community all over the world,” he added, noting “people need hope” amid the uncertainties wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

During a virtual briefing Thursday at the Indiana Statehouse, Gov. Eric Holcomb addressed the challenges and importance of following physical distancing guidelines during the most “spiritually important week” of the year.

“We’ve heard from many Hoosiers across the state of Indiana [with questions and concerns relating to Easter],” the governor said. “During this week, for those who celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus, we’re reminded that there is no greater love or sacrifice at this time than to do what we can to keep others safe.”

People with underlying medical conditions, including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes; people over age 65; and people with symptoms of any illness should not attend drive-in services, according to new guidance issued by state health officials.

Easter services outside Pike High School will be livestreamed on the event’s Facebook page and can also be watched from home.