The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Granbury, is planning a drive-in worship service on at 9:30 am Sunday, March 22. Bishop Scott Mayer has called the diocese into a Lenten Fast from in-person worship for the time being in response to the coronavirus Covid 19 crisis. Good Shepherd’s innovation is one example of the creative ways Episcopal clergy and congregation leaders are keeping in touch with their congregations.
They will continue the Drive-In Worship as long as needed.
Bishop Mayer has emphasized that while in-person worship is suspended and church buildings will be closed, worship will continue.
Good Shepherd parishioner Jon Back and his family put on an amazing show of Halloween and Christmas lights every year at their home. The thousands of lights are synched to music played on 93.5 FM that viewers can tune to in their cars as they park in front of the house, or within a few hundred yards of the house.
On Sunday, Back is going to use his FM transmitter to transmit worship to people sitting in their cars in the Good Shepherd church parking lot at 4530 Acton Hwy, Granbury, 76049. The Rev. Dr. Suzi Robertson is inviting the congregation – and anyone else who wants to come – to come park and participate via their FM radio (93.5) in Morning Prayer. Robertson will give a brief sermon and Dr. Iwao Asakura, Good Shepherd’s Choir Master, will lead the congregation-in-cars in familiar hymns. Robertson joins the congregation in fasting from the Eucharist and Holy Communion during this time.
Instead of the usual corporate blessing at the end of the service, each family is invited to drive through the church’s porte cochere so that the staff and vestry (church leadership) can speak to each of them. Robertson will give each of them a blessing (without touching them).
Robertson and the congregation are practicing physical distancing, so while people are free to get out of their cars, they are instructed to remain six feet from each other.
Back’s FM transmitter is fairly portable. Under FCC Part 15 rules, a low power transmitter like his does not require any licensing as long as it is short range (a few 100 yards) and doesn’t use a local commercial frequency (and 93.5 is clear).
Robertson said, “It will be good to see everyone and it will keep us in the rhythm of doing what is normal – driving to church on Sunday morning.”
The diocese also is offering online Morning Prayer at 10 am each Sunday through Facebook Live at facebook.com/DioFW for the duration of this crisis, as are many of our congregations.