KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds of members of Kentwood Community Church gathered together for a drive-in service in the parking lot on Sunday.
On Friday, President Donald Trump labeled houses of worship as “essential.”
“I have my mask and I feel totally safe,” said Wanda Thomas, a church member.
Another church member, Ray O-Laudhlin, said he wouldn’t have been there if he didn’t feel safe.
“We can’t just live hiding from each other,” said church member Matilde Naderhood.
The band and religious leaders at Kentwood Community Church performed and preached from the roof of the building.
“God does not want to have people do life alone. We need to do life in community,” said Tricia Chapman, the executive pastor of Kentwood Community Church.
Chapman says the church has put safety measures into place, including having people park their cars 6 feet apart, encouraging everyone to wear masks and sanitizing equipment in between each use.
“We’re trying to figure out a new normal and I think God is going to guide us in that,” Chapman said.
Matilede and Keith Naderhood have been coming to the church for 25 years. They say they weren’t nervous at all on Sunday.
“It’s not the end of the world. We’re alive. We celebrate life,” Matilde Naderhood said.
Wanda Thomas agrees.
“I feel safe because I distance myself. I follow the rules,” Thomas said.
The members want people to know that it’s OK to gather, as long as it’s done safely.
“We were designed to be together. We’re not designed to be spread out alone and isolated, and how else can you help others when you’re isolated? So part of the solution, not being part of the problem,” O-Laudhlin said.
Chapman says the church plans to continue holding drive-in services until they feel safe enough to go back inside.
While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hasn’t yet approved churches to reopen, a spokesperson for her office sent News 8 a statement on Friday saying, “No house of worship or attendee at religious services is subject to penalty for religious activity in the state of Michigan.”