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Carpinteria Community Church adopts drive-in service during countywide stay-at-home order

Carpinteria Community Church
Alex Zauner / KEYT
This morning, cars lined up outside of Carpinteria Community Church for a drive-by sermon.

CARPINTERIA, Calif. — After another move into the restrictive purple tier, outdoor services are the only option for churches across Santa Barbara County.

This morning, cars lined up outside of Carpinteria Community Church for a drive-by sermon.

The custom of passing the peace was replaced by honking car horns. 

“I used to walk up and down the aisles, hugging everybody,” Carpinteria Community Church elder Becky Paulsen said. “That’s the one thing I miss more than anything is the hugging.”

Risdon’s 76 Service owner Don Risdon has been a member of the church for the past 58 years. 

“We know even though we can’t get within six-feet of each other, that we’re still there for each other spiritually,” Risdon said.

To comply with the governor’s guidelines, pastor Jarrett Johnson decided to move his sermons from indoors to outdoors in April.

“The most special part is that they can see each other,” Johnson said. “This is the gathering place for this fellowship.”

Each week, churchgoers drive into the parking lot to take part in the Sunday Service.

For the elderly, this environment allows them to feel a sense of safety throughout this difficult time.

“I think it’s just unique that we can do this,” Paulsen said.

Sanderson Smith is 82 years old and has been attending these drive-by sermons since Easter. 

“We come to church every week barring sickness,” Smith said. It’s quite unique actually, I kind of enjoy it.”

Those in attendance are able to tune into an FM radio frequency to listen in or sing along.

“The corners of your eyes still show that great smile,” Risdon said. “That love for one another.”

For most members of the church, their prayers are the same. Looking forward to the future, when they no longer have to stand six-feet apart while in worship.

“I feel that I’m out here with the good lord looking down on me,” Paulsen concluded. “He’s here with us.”

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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