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Archbishop Melissa Skelton observes that “deacons play a vital part in the life of the Church in that they are called to cultivate and extend Jesus’s servant ministry to a world that needs it”  (Diaconal Handbook, 2016).

So while the parish of St. Aidan & St. Bartholomew aka St. Bart’s (Gibsons, BC) readies for a return to in-person/in-parish worship, Deacon, the Reverend  Steve Bailey offers a “short” Sunday morning prayer service in the church parking lot. Following COVID-19 protocols, parishioners either stay in their cars (like a “drive-in”) or maintain physical distancing while wearing masks.

The 10am service begins with the traditional ringing of the St. Bart’s bells — an Anglican call to worship that has continued throughout the pandemic. The Sunday bell ringing began to draw people to the church parking lot to listen and to take time for silent prayer. Deacon Steve would pray openly with individuals before they left, and the ‘parking lot worship’ was born.  Deacon Steve’s short message, readings and prayers were received with gratitude by parishioners longing to be in fellowship with one another again. By the third “drive-in” service, worship was attended by 11 participants, including a newcomer who had never attended the church before,  “That was wonderful,” she commented, “I’ll be back next week.

Our “Drive-in” Deacon-led service - while an unexpected outcome of the pandemic - has turned out to be a wonderful way to extend an invitation to worship to the wider community.  New seeds have been sown and people are gathered and sent in the name of Christ.