Churches scramble to put on drive-in services after WPD prohibits, then allows

Confusion over drive-in church services in Wilmington ahead of Easter Sunday

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After a couple days of confusion, Wilmington churches are back to having drive-in services scheduled as normal.

On Wednesday, the Wilmington Police Department said that drive-in services were not advisable and that officers would be keeping a watch on churches that could be holding services.

This sparked a rapid change of plans in area churches that originally scheduled to hold services in their parking lots.

On Thursday, the WPD reversed course and said the drive-in services were allowed under Gov. Cooper’s prior executive order that limited public gatherings.

Of course, this caused much confusion and led church staff scrambling to rescheduled a previously cancelled service.

“There was like that immediate frustration that I had to already type up post and say we cancelled it," said said Jaime Mendez, pastor of Covenant Church. "But overall, we were excited.”

Covenant Church was set to hold their second drive-in service, one that was highly anticipated with it being Easter weekend. A key part of Christianity is the ability to gather, so this service was especially meaningful.

Despite the confusion, Mendez said he’s glad everything is cleared up and mentioned although in vehicles, they are putting social distancing to practice during service. The pastor also said he understands no harm was meant by WPD and they were just trying to lookout for the public well-being.

“We understand the mentality of them wanting to take precautions and keep everyone safe," said Mendez. "But at the same time, churches that are doing this for the most part are taking overboard precautions to make sure that there’s no way for transmission to happen.”

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