Church Cancels Easter Drive-In Service After Local Health Official Says Don’t Do It

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An evangelical Protestant church on Cape Cod cancelled a drive-in Easter service this weekend after the town’s health director said no, the pastor said.

Cape Cod Bible Alliance had planned to hold a service in the church’s parking lot, with church-goers staying in their cars to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Reverend Steven Trudell, the pastor of Cape Cod Bible Alliance in Brewster, announced the cancellation in a video posted on the church’s Facebook site on Saturday, April 11.

“I did want to let you all know, that our live service that we had planned for tomorrow – stay in your car, keep the windows up, wear your masks, all that sort of thing — we’ve had to cancel that. The director of the board of health here in Brewster had to make that difficult decision yesterday for us,” Trudell said in the video Saturday. “And completely understand she was coming from. Absolutely understandable. But the point that you need to know is that don’t come here tomorrow pulling in the parking lot expecting us to have a live service.”

The town of Brewster’s health director, Amy van Hone, did not describe her statement to the pastor about the church service as an order.

Contacted by New Boston Post, the health director said the church sought her out well in advance of the planned Easter service and that she ultimately advised the church not to go ahead with it.

“The Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church contacted me around March 29th for guidance regarding a drive-in service for their Easter Sunday ceremony.  The Church was aware of my concerns from the initial planning phase but worked with me to incorporate safety protocols to protect those in attendance and to comply with the Emergency Orders mandated by Governor Baker over the last few weeks,” van Hone said in an email message Sunday night to New Boston Post.

“Ultimately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to worsen in Massachusetts, I advised the Church to follow the Stay at Home Advisory for everyone’s safety. The Church was gracious and cooperative throughout the entire process,” van Hone said.

Cape Cod Bible Alliance instead held a church service carried live online, as many churches have done in recent weeks.

The pastor could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Cape Cod Times reported the church service cancellation on Saturday, April 11.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, Easter Sunday drive-in church services took place in Easton, Fall River, Norwood, Hopkinton, and Winchester, according to news reports and church online postings.

Drive-in Easter church services also took place in Johnston, Rhode Island and in Hudson, New Hampshire, Plaistow, New Hampshire, and Wilton, New Hampshire, among other places.