With the recent shelter in place order for the state of Georgia, churches across the state are trying to come up with unique and safe ways to celebrate Easter Sunday.
Many churches in Dawson County will be live streaming services online or on social media, and some of them will be celebrating the holiday with "drive-in" services. One of these churches is Christ Fellowship Church, which will be celebrating Easter with a drive-in service at 11 a.m. Sunday.
"We'll have cars pull into our parking lot and dial into a radio station," said Marty Darracott, executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Church. "So people can stay in their cars and separate from each other but still be able to listen to the worship and preaching. That way families can still get out of the house and worship together, and get the feeling of being at church but still be in safe confines."
Here is a list of some of the local churches and how they will be celebrating Easter.
- Bethel UMC: “Sonrise" service online at 7 a.m., online service at 10 a.m.
- Big Canoe Chapel: online service at 10 a.m.
- Christ Fellowship Church of Dawsonville: Easter drive-in service at 11 a.m.
- Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church: live stream Sunday mass at 9 a.m.
- Grace Community Church: live stream service at 10 a.m.
- Grace Presbyterian: online service at 11 a.m.
- Lighthouse Baptist Church: Easter drive-in service at 10 a.m.
- Mountain Lake Church Dawson: online services (Facebook and Youtube) at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.; sunrise devotional at 7:30 a.m.
- The Church at War Hill: online services at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.; drive-in service at 9:30 a.m.
Another church that will be holding a drive-in service at 10 a.m. is Lighthouse Baptist Church. Pastor Charles Blackstock said that the format is new for his church, but that they are planning and anticipating a good turnout for the service.
"We've rented a video wall and have a transmitter so people can listen to worship on their car radio," Blackstock said. "We'll have a long stage so our singers can be spread out and be projecting them onto the screen. And so far we're getting a good response from people in the community, both in the congregation and outside of it."
The goal of the drive-in services is to allow churchgoers to stay safe in their cars but also still feel like part of an assembly by getting to see other people attending too.
"People thrive on being in proximity to each other and knowing other people are there," Blackstock said. "We were joking that you can use your car during the service: honk for an 'amen', put on your right blinker if you're raising your right hand and your left blinker for your left hand - and if you wanna raise both hands you can put on your hazards!"
The drive-in services are also a way for families to get out of the house while still staying safe under the shelter in place order.
"There's a big difference between watching online and actually being able to see everyone else," Darracott said. "So it will add a little bit of a personal touch by allowing you to get out of the house, hear a great message and great music and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with other people."