Worshipers to gather this Sunday - in very different circumstances to the normal

Darren Beattie


Darren Beattie



Some church services are to resume in the locality this weekend - but in extraordinary circumstances to our normal.

This Sunday, congregations won't gather in buildings - but in car parks. It comes after the Stormont Executive relaxed coronavirus lockdown restrictions and allowed worshippers to gather in their vehicles.

Church drive-in services are now permitted, as long as people stay in their cars.

This Sunday will be particularly busy for the local Methodist Churches, with services taking place at Mayne Methodist Church at 10am, at Omagh Methodist at 11am and Togherdoo Methodist at 12 noon. In Omagh, there is a capacity for between 18 to 20 cars.

"We are looking forward to gathering together," said the minister, Eleanor Hayden, who added: "That is vitally important in the sense that we belong together. We are returning to something that is a little normal, even if it is a meeting in the car park.

"It will be an opportunity to see each other face-to-face for the first time in months. Most importantly, we will be carrying out government guidelines at all times. We have taken direction from the Connectional Methodist Church of Ireland."

Unfortunately there won't be any singing, but worshipers can look forward to Bible readings and prayers.

"We are also going to have a reflection on the Bible and that will be encouraging and uplifting," continued Rev Hayden.

Due to the current restrictions, a church drive-in service will be the 'new-normal' for the foreseeable future.

"This is a stepping stone for us getting back to worship at church," said Rev Hayden. "My hope is that we will have this continuity until we have the church doors re-opened. The car park services are a source of hope and the beginning of some kind of normality.

"It's a signal in the right direction. Every minister will have their own challenges, but we are looking forward to being back together. Most of all it's an opportunity for us to celebrate God's love and his presence with us."

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