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Keeping the faith: drive in church services begin

AS PHASED easing of lockdown restrictions commence church goers have positively received the opportunity to attend drive-in worship. 
A recent Sunday was symbolic of the times as scores of church goers across the North attended some of the first drive in services. They sat in cars as clerics read from platforms in church carparks or open spaces.
Eager to get going was Brookeborough Church of Ireland rector Rev Johnny McLoughlin. He held drive-in church at Aghavea near Brookeborough. The car park was marked out to ensure social distancing was observed and church goers listened in to the morning service while sitting in their parked cars. 
Methodist churches in Fermanagh followed this week with Ennisillen Methodist holding a service at Enniskillen mart grounds. It is hoped more Fermanagh Methodist churches may be able to follow suit in the coming weeks, with locations yet to be confirmed. 
Last Sunday there was a drive in service at Ballynanny Methodist church, near Ballygawley. This is a new experience for Methodism, at least in the current generation and the District Superintendent, Rev Dr Stephen Skuce, a former Fermanagh minister, has said, “In the many challenges of the current lockdown and pandemic, most of our Methodist churches have moved rapidly to online services. 
“To our surprise, many of these are attracting far higher numbers than normally participate. The online ministry of Rev Lorna and Roy Dreaning in Enniskillen regularly has 3-400 watching live worship events, and perhaps 3000 more viewing it within the next day. 
 “We are delivering an online Alpha course for the district and are rising to the challenge of drive in services, which are far from straight forward to deliver. Throughout this period, however long it will last, we and others will continue to find new ways to support our people, support the wider community in practical ways, especially those who are isolated and vulnerable, and share the good news of Jesus. 
“We are having to find new ways to do this, and we know the near future will continue to be challenging, but as churches we exist to share the good news in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, and in God’s strength will continue to do this.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA