CLEVELAND – An Ohio church maintains its popular drive-in service.
Pastor Scott Low is accompanied by his dog, Frankie. He considers Frankie to be the host of his church.
“A lot of people also bring their pets with them. Every Sunday we have four or five four-legged friends with us, ”Low said.
Low, the pastor of Tallmadge United Methodist Church, turned a shipping container into part of his worship service.
The container has a heating and sound system so Low can preach to the congregation while they connect via radio frequency.
“Some young people surprised me by building the bridge which has now become the porch to this space from which we have to lead worship,” Low said. “Even though we are in our separate cars in the parking lot, it really feels like we are the gathered body of Christ, we are the community here.”
Spectrum News interviewed Pastor Low when he started services in 2020. Despite vaccines and reduced restrictions allowing in-person worship to return, Low said drive-in services have remained popular.
“Some people with health problems they try at all costs to avoid catching COVID are not yet ready to venture inside, even though they have been vaccinated. But we’ve found that part of that, you know, isn’t the full answer, ”Low said.
COVID has been tough on religious leaders like Low, who sees the pandemic as the biggest challenge in his 27 years in ministry.
“It’s been a very difficult balance between keeping people safe and bringing people together because that’s the purpose of the church is to be together.”
But whatever challenges the pandemic poses for Low and his congregation, he continues to guide his members through community and faith.
“That the only thing we can do is somehow control what day and this time and who we are in terms of how we react to these things that are going on around us. So it is through our faith that we can remain stable in these situations, ”said Low.