Indiana drive-in theater offers facilities so locals can attend church in their car

(Photo: WSBT)

KNOX, Ind. (WSBT) – Social distancing has made it difficult to go out in public. For people who attend church regularly, this has drastically changed their Sunday routine.

WSBT 22's Erica Finke shows us how a church in Knox church is still worshiping in an unlikely place.

Over the weekend, the Melody Drive-In didn't serve as a theatre, but a drive-in church! It's a place Our Redeemer Lutheran Pastor Eric Gawura says the church has been using for summer services over the past 25 years.

"They graciously allowed us to use the theater and open up early and do it early this year so that people can get together and worship while their churches are closed,” said Gawura.

The drive-in service looks a little different from other services they've had in the past to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

No one was allowed to leave their vehicle, car radios were used instead of the theater microphones and no offerings were passed along. Nonetheless, Gawura says it gave everyone an opportunity to attend church that's not on a laptop.

"It's not the same as being together with other people, and granted, we're in our cars, but you're still with other people,” said Gawura. “You still get to see a pastor live, hear a message live, join in singing so it's a live worship service and it's really energizing in that regard."

Diane Cruz is the church's Director of Christian Education. She says she's used to counting the turnout, but Sunday’s numbers were a pleasant surprise.

"When we counted we had over 170 people worshiping with us today, so really awesome!”said Cruz.

And that's why Dorene Lloyd and her sisters are just a few of the 170 that came out of quarantine to have a church-community experience.

"It was just nice I think in a time like this when we're separated from the whole world, it's nice to at least see other people,” said Lloyd.

At a time when people are stuck at home and many are stressing about the coronavirus, Gawura is glad the church can provide some relief in a surprising place.

“He is a source of support and strength not available to us anywhere else,” said Gawura.

Our Reedemer Lutheran Church will be having a service at the Melody Drive-In Theater at 9 a.m. Sundays until normal services at the church resume.