First Baptist Church to hold drive-in sunrise service for Easter Sunday

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The COVID-19 pandemic has required church congregations to worship from within their own four walls leaving Easter Sunday, arguably the most coveted of Christian holidays, in limbo.

First Baptist Church is hoping to offer area worshipers some reprieve from the disappointment of being unable to worship on Easter with a drive-in service at the Shops at Cornerstone off Perryton Parkway.

The idea comes after other churches, both in Pampa and across the nation, have trended that direction.

Logistically, Fist Baptist Church had to figure out how to make it possible.

“There are some other churches that have done a drive-in service,” pastor Byron Williamson said. “Central Baptist Church did so last week and it seemed to go really well. Our issue is none of our parking lots are very large and they are around the building.”

After searching for potential sites, the Church finally landed on the Shops at Cornerstone off Perryton Parkway and in front of Hobby Lobby/Burke’s Outlet.

“One of the restrictions with doing this kind of thing is cars are to be parked every other space,” Williamson said. “Part of it is we want to support our city, what they want to do and be good neighbors. The other part is we want to be able to get together as a church. Easter is the time where regular attenders come, but a lot of others in the community come just for that service. So we thought about doing it at the Shops at Cornerstone.”

After getting the green light from the owners, First Baptist Church is set to have their service at the Shops while being parked according to the state guidelines.

“We’ll have a parking team directing attendees where to go and we’ll have a flat-bed trailer as a stage,” Williamson said. “We’re going to have two different broadcasts. One is an FM transmitter where people can pick up the broadcast in their cars and then we’ll also try to stream in on Facebook live. They can watch in their car or those who are unable to come can watch it.”

The worship service will also be available on the church’s YouTube page at 11 a.m. This will be the only service live in the Shops parking lot as the church will go back to online services next week.

Each Sunday the church has done what it can to make Sundays business-as-usual.

“We have a team of children’s ministry staff who every Sunday have put on a craft or cooking thing kids can do at home broadcasted at 10:30 a.m.,” Williamson said. “But before that at 10 a.m. we’ve got an adult Bible study one of our adults teachers records. Our student ministry has been meeting at 4 p.m. over Zoom with Kevin Escamilla.”

As for Easter Sunday, the children’s ministry will be distributing box kits of Bible lessons to those who attend on Sunday all while following the Center for Disease Control recommendations.

The experience is set to be a unique one as church-goers will have to stay in their vehicles. Those in attendance are reminded to bring their own beverages and there will not be restrooms available during the service.

Those closer to the stage will have a better quality of sound, but between Facebook live and the FM transmitter, hopefully everyone can enjoy the service.

“As far as main amplification we are trying to run it through Facebook and the FM frequency,” Williamson said. “We’re not trying to blow out the whole parking lot and neighbors to listen.”

The parking lot will be open at 6 a.m. and the service will start at 7 a.m. Williamson said he doesn’t expect the service to last longer than 45 minutes.

“It will be fun,” Williamson said. “It will be nice to see those we haven’t seen in person in a couple of weeks. We feel like we will have a decent turnout from what we’re hearing so far.”

Williamson invites anyone in the community who doesn’t have a church home to come to the service, as well.

For more information on the sunrise service and/or First Baptist Church, call 806-669-1155 or check the church’s Facebook page.

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