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Buffalo church holds "drive-in" Easter service

Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-12 18:44:43-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Members of True Bethel Baptist Church on E. Ferry are a close-knit family, that's why separated on Easter Sunday is incredibly hard. So they found a safe way to celebrate the holiday together.

“People need to feel connected any way they possibly can...to be able to have a drive in in a safe way means a lot to so many people," said Leah Halton-Pope, leader of the church's praise team.

Church members parked their cars in the lot and watched Easter service at a distance during a unique "drive-in" service. On Saturday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz advised against this idea.

"I would not recommend and we are not recommending drive up masses of any type," said Poloncarz.

The church's Pastor, Common Council President Darius Pridgen says he took all safety measures into account when planning this service.

"We wanted to make sure people had a safe place to go...they stay safe, they stay secure, they stay in their cars," said Pridgen

Car windows were rolled up as the service played on the radio. The service was offered virtually as well.

"We actually encourage people stay home and just watch us. And for those who were going to be out already, maybe at a park or at a grocery store, we wanted to give them this 30 minutes of being able to be together," said Pridgen.

It’s been two weeks since Pridgen announced he was recovering after testing positive for COVID-19. Now that he’s recovered, he’s back serving his church.

Though members were kept at a distance, they made their joy heard with the honking of their horns.

"Although they couldn’t shake hands, although that could not hug one another, you could feel that energy in the air of people who were just thankful to be together,” said Pridgen.