More than 100 vehicles recently maneuvered their way into theatre-styled parking ‘pews’ at Calvary Temple
Community Church in Groves, St Philip, where motorists and passengers alike participated in Barbados’ first ever drive-in church service – under the star lit heavens.
The one and a half acre grass verged car park of the church was transformed into a holy sanctuary, where motorists flashed their headlights to signal ‘amen’ and honked horns to express ‘hallelujah’.
The pioneering service, which was the first of its kind in Barbados, fused together the nostalgic mobile cinematic experiences with the traditional evangelical open air crusades, enabling families in the confines and safety of their vehicles to freely engage in praise and worship, but doing so in a secure setting, which complies with government’s protocols to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Rev Andre Symmonds, senior pastor of Calvary Temple, described the service as a novelty event, which marked the reopening of the church, after temporarily closing on Sunday March 22, in compliance with Government’s prohibition on mass public gatherings.
“The purpose of the ‘drive-in church experience’ was to give members and visitors an opportunity to return to a semblance of communal worship within an evangelical setting, much like they were used to during the prev-COVID-19 pandemic, whilst maintaining the social distancing protocols established by the government,” explained Symmonds who added that the event provided a safe, stress free environment for persons to jointly receive the word of God.
The senior pastor revealed that the drive-in service also took on a practical dimension. “The outdoor service is different, because there are fewer requirements that have to be observed, which made it easier to resume our service.”
However, the senior minister cautioned that congregants leaving their vehicles were mandated to wear their face masks and observe social distancing rules in line with Government’s protocols.
The service, which took two weeks to plan, opened with a movie fanfare to recreate a cinematic effect.
The blockbuster billing of the evening was the Three Thieves of the Light, a sermon delivered by Symmonds, which was taken from the Gospel of Luke 11:33, where he underscored to Christians, “The sanitizing of human hearts is even more critical than the sanitizing of human hands [if they are to remain the light of life].”
The pastor identified these ‘thieves’ as the failure to consistently read and apply the teachings of the Bible, the failure of exercising faith in Christ, and the failure to engage in spiritual warfare.
Citing John 8:12, Rev Symmonds recounted, “Jesus refers to Himself as the Light in this world. ‘I am the
Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not continue to walk in darkness, but will have the light of
“Small wonder that followers of Jesus were called ‘little Christs, which is what the word “Christian meant
when it was first used in Acts 11:26.”
The second drive-in service is scheduled on Sunday, July 12 at 6:30 pm.
Established in February 1965, Calvary Temple, which has a burgeoning membership of approximately
350, is affiliated with The Barbados Evangelical Association.
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