With churches across America closed to services, some congregations have developed drive-in services in an attempt to fill the void quickly.
Hundreds of thousands of churches in the United States have been forced to suspend their weekly services because officials have imposed strict restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
But in such an uncertain time, communities find creative ways to get together, while still respecting the rules of social distance.
Aerial view as Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church on March 29, 2020 in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, holding services in the church parking lot.
Parishioners of Global Vision Bible Church raise their hands in prayer and to conduct live streaming services in the church parking lot
Billy Kennedy, offers hugs to other parishioners of the Global Vision Bible Church
Tennessee. Governor Bill Lee has signed an executive order banning social gatherings of 10 or more in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), which is also recommended by the CDC
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to force people to stay at home, churches have found new ways to reach out to their communities
Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church preaches to those who have gathered outside
Parishioners of Global Vision Bible Church pray during services in the church parking lot
Tennessee Church organizes outdoor gatherings where people can feel connected while keeping a safe distance
A messenger leads participants to a parking lot for services at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lawrence, Kansas
In the city of Gu-Win, Alabama, the Blue Moon Drive-In Theater turned its silver screen into an outdoor church to receive the congregants of the Faith Fellowship Church of Winfield.
“The seriousness of it all took its toll last week,” Morgan Cochran, 33, said NBC News, who is a nurse. “I really needed a church.”
Cochran went this Sunday and was able to attend church from the safety of her car.
Reverend Peter Gower celebrates Mass from the front door of the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Mercy, while worshipers in the parking lot in the parking lot listen by radio,
Pastor Peter Gower walks to the parking lot to spread incense to worshipers in their cars
Gower started mass for those who attended from their car last week, as meetings were limited due to the coronavirus
Father Phillip Tran speaks during a live streamed mass at St. Augustine Church & Catholic Student Center, in Coral Gables, Florida
Father Phillip Tran prays between empty pews during a live streamed mass
Masses open to parishioners have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic
“People want to connect to something stable,” said Harry Saylor, a senior pastor in the Church. “From our wealth to our health, everything is shaky right now.”
Chris Curtis, owner of Blue Moon-Drive In, closed the company last week, but was comfortable with offering the location to the church.
“I wanted to give people something where they feel safe,” he told NBC.
His cousin, John York, owns Birdsong Drive-In Theater in Camden, Tennessee.
York plans to offer Easter Sunday services in the theater.
The Benton First Baptist Church will take its congregation to the outdoor location next weekend.
Surrounded by his family, Trent Allen, top priest in Calvary Chapel Jackson, speaks on a laptop as he leads a live-stream church service from his living room on Sunday,
Chief Priest Melaku Genet Komodo Aba Teklehaimanot with the Debre Genet Kidist Kidane Meheret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church used a censer of incense to bless people
“So many people want to do something. They are all trapped in their houses, “he said. “I’m a Christian, and I know I wouldn’t be able to deal with it without God.”
Todd Pendergrass, the executive pastor of the Kingsland Baptist Church administration, decided to go to the Internet to keep in touch with his 3,000-strong congregation.
The Kingsland Church has streamed Sunday services in the past two weeks with more than 6,500 people tuning in through the Church’s app and website.
Pastor Bobby Contreras speaks while streaming an online service with no churchgoers present at Alamo Heights Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas
Pastor Bobby Contreras, top right, and a small staff keep a stream an online service
Pastor Bobby Contreras, on the left, and Ares Messinain, on the right, are preparing to stream one online. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the churches in the area are closed and many television services
San Fernando Cathedral has a television service with an empty church in San Antonio, Texas
Priest Joachim Giesler stands in the parish church for photos with parishioners who were asked to submit photos after the service was closed due to the coronavirus in Germany
More than 300 photos were printed and hung on the pews
The choir is limited to a few singers who distance themselves as they lead the worship service at Union Springs Baptist Church in Rutledge, Georgia.
At the end of worship, members wave goodbye instead of hugging or shaking hands while practicing social distance in the pews at Union Springs Baptist Church
Faith Fellowship Church holds a drive-in church service in their parking lot above a loudspeaker during the COVID-19 outbreak, Salem, Virginia
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, churches are closed and many are television services, keep online services or host them outdoors
Before Easter, the church plans to rent outdoor screens and radio transmitters so that people can get in their cars.
“They’re looking for someone to tell them it’s okay, and nobody can really say that yet,” he said. “But we can say that the person we trust in Christ is immutable.”
“In times of calamity, people start to straighten themselves,” he said. “People are looking for a sense of hope.
Pastor Peter Gower of the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Mercy while worshipers listen radio in their car Gower started mass for those who attended from their car last week
Pastor Aaron Goodro preaches from the roof of the First Baptist Church to parishioners listening from their cars, in Plaistow, New Hampshire
A parishioner makes an offering from his car in a plastic-covered box after attending services at First Baptist Church, where Pastor Aaron Goodro delivered his sermon from the roof
Pastor Tony Spell (far right) has defied a Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards shelter order because of the new coronavirus pandemic, and continues to hold church services with hundreds of congregation members
Assistant ministers and worshipers in front of the front door and in the parking lot at Life Tabernacle told the media to leave, saying cameras were not allowed on the premises and worshipers were told not to speak to reporters
Despite the ingenuity, hundreds of people still managed to ignore Louisiana’s COVID-19 ban on gatherings and attended one of three church services in Baton Rouge, despite warnings from the state’s governor.
An estimated 500 people of all ages applied to the mustard-yellow and beige Life Tabernacle Church in Central, a city of nearly 29,000 outside of Baton Rouge.
Paul Quinn, a Central resident who lives near the church, said the divine service was a health hazard.
“Other municipalities use the internet, Skype and other secure ways to get together. Why can’t they do that? What makes them so special? said Quinn.
“I wish the state police would come out and do something. This is above our small local police level. The state must participate. Leaving church and going to the grocery store is a serious health hazard. They don’t know how many people they hit and they don’t care. That is a problem.’
The Louisiana state police said the community cannot “enforce” its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead “depends on the responsible actions and cooperation of our citizens, businesses and local community leaders.”
Congregants arrived by bus (pictured) to the Life Tabernacle Church in Central, Louisiana
Lance Knippers protested outside the church when members arrived for service on Sunday