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After the Karnataka government allowed reopening of places of worship from June 8, Bengaluru's Bethel AG Church International Worship Centre (BAGCIWC) in Hebbal, hosted first-of-its-kind 'drive-in' Sunday Mass on June 14.
The Protestent church came forward with the concept of 'Worship On Wheels' (WOW), to adhere to the social distancing norms and safety of the devotees.
The initiative saw a huge response, as hundreds of cars drove into the worship centre, parked in the slots marked on the ground, facing an open stage, LED screens and speakers, and attended the prayer service.
Rev Johnson V, pastor-in-charge of BAGCIWC told The Indian Express that while the church live-streamed daily prayers and the Sunday Mass throughout the lockdown period, they decided to come up with an alternative arrangement while reopening the doors.
Adding, he said that the church will host six services - two each for those in their vehicles and two inside the church, for those using public transport or are without personal vehicles.
The drive-in Mass garnered praises in all social media platforms, most of the attendees posting about their personal experience of one-of-a-kind prayer service.
How do you attend a church service during a pandemic, ensuring social distancing?— Revathi Rajeevan (@RevathiRajeevan) June 14, 2020
Drive-in, sit in your cars and pray.
Location: near Bethal AG church, Bengaluru
There's also separate service for those coming in two-wheelers and others who don't come in vehicles. pic.twitter.com/wankW7Tti9
The timings for worshipers in two-wheeler was between 7 am-5 pm and for four wheeler, between 9 am-7 pm.
To avoid the crowding, the church did not provide access to common touch-points, including canteens, toilets, seating facilities and resource centres. Guidelines issued by the state government was also listed outside the worship centre.
Devotees who wish to take part in Holy Communion (a ritual of offering bread and wine to worshippers) were given pre-packed packages consisting the communion elements.
Offering could be dropped into the buckets placed at the entrance of the gate, or online.
"We also made it mandatory for all to wear masks and undergo thermal scanning. Sanitisers were provided at the church entrance to all," Johnson as quoted.
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