Carpinteria Community Church Pastor Jarrett Johnson took his sermon to the rooftops on Sunday morning.
On Easter, Mr. Johnson started holding services outdoors to comply with social distancing guidelines. Church members pull into the parking lot and form single file lines with their cars. Risdon’s 76 Service owner Don Risdon directed the traffic.
Mr. Johnson celebrated the service on the church roof and attendees tuned into an AM radio frequency to listen to the readings and sermon.
“Our church mission is ‘To worship God together and share Christ’s love with the world,’” Mr. Johnson said.
“From the very beginning it was clear that the pandemic was going to make the ‘worship-God- together’ part very difficult. The drive-in service has enabled us to continue our mission because there is a certain degree of proximity that allows people to participate together,” Mr. Johnson said.
Over 20 cars filled the church parking lot on Sunday, most had more than one person inside. Some church members sat on spaced-out chairs in the parking lot to enjoy the weather.
Friends waived at each other, sang along with the hymns in their cars and received bread and juice for the celebration of The Lord’s Supper.
Even the church’s most devoted puppy, a Yorkie-Poo named Kobe, was in attendance.
“It’s been quite important for us to have the ability to be together. It’s important for us in a whole lot of ways,” Mr. Johnson said.
The pandemic forced the church to stop all its youth activities. Mr. Johnson said the church is funding youth outreach through donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“They work with high schools throughout Santa Barbara County. Our resources go to Carpinteria High School,” Mr. Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson admitted that he misses holding services in the church sanctuary and interacting with church members more closely, but he said the view from the roof is a unique experience in its own right.
“When I look from the roof, you can see the mountains right there and a lot of palm trees in the background. It’s beautiful. It’s nice for us to be outdoors and there’s a connection to the beginnings of this church before this building was built,” Mr. Johnson said.
He explained that in the 1930s, the congregation worshiped outdoors for two years.
“There’s a historical connection for us in that way. Our mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world. The drive-in service really helps us be true to that mission that God gave us,” Mr. Johnson added.