NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus are prompting some clergy to find creative ways to help believers continue carrying out their religious practices.
The Rev. Thomas McKenzie, who leads Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, is offering a drive-thru communion option for all baptized Christians. At designated times throughout the week, the Anglican priest is setting up in front of his church, distributing wafers that were consecrated during the church's recent Sunday services.
Carolyn Brasel stopped by the church Tuesday with her daughters Hope, Elly Rose and Aimee.
"We really missed it Sunday because we weren’t able to come, and we watched it live-streaming, but you can't do communion live-streaming, so we came in person today," Carolyn Brasel said.
They parked and walked up to McKenzie to receive communion, but the priest is also distributing it to those who remain in their vehicles as they pull through the church's circle drive. He says a prayer with them, too.
McKenzie, who used social media to spread the word, said the drive-thru communion is a unique way the church is extending the distribution of Sunday's consecrated hosts. He has never done a drive-thru option before, but the idea behind it is similar to how the church distributes communion to those not healthy enough to regularly attend worship services.
McKenzie expects to continue drive-thru communion next week, especially given the recent direction from his bishop to cancel upcoming in-person worship services. Members will be able to view the service online and stop by the church throughout the week to receive communion.
Many houses of worship have made the decision to cancel public services following public health official guidance to limit gatherings as a way to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Follow reporter Holly Meyer on Twitter @HollyAMeyer.