As the State of New York continues to battle COVID-19, New York’s churches continue to face challenging questions about how to minister during a pandemic.
In recent weeks, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has repeatedly urged the State of New York to allow drive-in movie theaters to re-open. The reason? If drive-in theaters were re-opened, some upstate churches might be able to rent them for Sunday services. For churches seeking to gather together in one place while taking precautions against disease transmission, services at drive-in theaters could be an appealing option.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that on Friday, May 15, 2020, drive-in theaters will be allowed to re-open throughout the State of New York. (Some theaters may re-open for business right away, while it may take some time for others to re-open.) While we doubt that Gov. Cuomo—who is, to put it mildly, no friend of religious freedom—was motivated by concern for New York’s churches, his decision is still a step in the right direction. If conducted properly, drive-in church services would keep attendees safe from contracting COVID-19. Furthermore, churches that rent drive-in theaters for Sunday services might find that some New Yorkers who would be unlikely to enter a church building would (especially during a pandemic) be willing to try out a drive-in church service. Drive-in services could offer a new mechanism to help churches fulfill the Great Commission.
Churches that encounter government-created obstacles as they attempt to rent drive-in theaters should contact our offices. We may be able to connect you with helpful information and resources.