Baptist church stages its first drive-in service

GOSPEL OUT REACH......Pastor Ian Wilson, of Rathfriland Baptist Church, prepares his sermon, for the 'Drive In Church', Gospel Service, which takes place over three weeks, at the Rathfriland Farmers CO-OP, starting at 6.30pm each Sunday evening. � Photo: Gary Gardiner.
GOSPEL OUT REACH......Pastor Ian Wilson, of Rathfriland Baptist Church, prepares his sermon, for the 'Drive In Church', Gospel Service, which takes place over three weeks, at the Rathfriland Farmers CO-OP, starting at 6.30pm each Sunday evening. � Photo: Gary Gardiner.

Drive-ins are traditionally synonymous with watching a movie from the comfort of a car, or grabbing some fast food on the go.

However, on Sunday it was very much a religious affair, as Rathfriland Baptist Church staged the first of a series of what can only be described as a unique take on an outdoor service.

The first event was held on the Rathfriland Co-Op Society’s premises on the Banbridge Road with a vehicle supplied by a local haulage company.

Pastor Ian Wilson of the local Baptist church and organiser of both this and similar drive in church events in other areas was, “Very pleased,” with the turnout on Sunday and grateful that the weather held out, pointing out that the church’s appeal lies in its informal open air setting.

With free admission and no offerings taken people are invited to park their cars, roll down the windows and for an hour listen to the service which includes hymns and a message from God’s word.

Pastor Wilson commented, “We want to take the Gospel out to people who don’t attend church or whose attendance has lapsed. We want to fulfill the Great Commission and take God’s work into the open air.

“We hope the novel setting will show people that they have nothing to fear, it’s the same message in a different environment and hopefully visitors will be able to feel welcome and warmth from the people of the congregation.”