At least five churches in the area are arranging drive-in services for this Easter Sunday, while others are video streaming sermons, or even shutting down, according to pastor Curt Miller of the East Mountain Cowboy Church in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“It caught churches off guard,” Miller said. “This is the first time in history that churches have been shut down, we don’t have anything to compare it to.”
Miller has some personal experience to draw from regarding pastoral work during disasters, as he was just arriving in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, to work at a local church.
“At 9/11, churches were shut down in lower Manhattan, but several blocks away from Ground Zero they were open twenty-four seven, providing grief counseling, providing water to first responders coming out of the subway,” he said. “But they’ve never had to shut down completely before. The sad thing is, there are some churches who won’t survive this. Some little churches survive week to week, and there’s no money coming in.
“It’s going to be a different world when we come out of it, just no one knows what that’s going to look like,” Miller added. “We have one church member who has [COVID-19], and has three babies. She’s going to be okay. We’re all praying for her and her family.”
The Cowboy Church in Edgewood had been holding services at Estancia Valley Classical Academy up until the statewide shutdown in March, and has been streaming video via Facebook since then.
On Easter Sunday, the Cowboy Church will be set up on their land near Route 66 and V-Hill Road.
They will have a semi trailer for a platform, and part of the band will be performing, weather permitting.
Cars will be parked in rows of 16, 5 feet apart, accounting for the thickness of the doors to complete the 6-foot distance rule. “We’re going to have about 225 cars, people on ATVs, people on horseback,” Miller explained.
The service will begin at 10:30 a.m. April 12, and people are encouraged to arrive early to find parking.
“We’ve got several people on sound and media, they’ve just knocked it out of the park on this one and they’re really pulled all this together,” Miller said. “You’ve got to think about wind, and weather, and trying to throw sound over 180,000 square feet. That’s quite a few football fields, if you think about it.”
Attendees will be able to stream the audio via their devices or Bluetooth speakers in their vehicles, and those who do not have connectivity will be allowed to park up front in order to hear the service.
The recorded service will also be available on social media later Sunday afternoon.