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    Fort Knox celebrates Easter with drive-in style service despite threat of rain

    Fort Knox celebrates Easter with drive-in style service despite threat of rain

    Photo By Eric Pilgrim | John and Amanda Sydnor lead the gatherers in praise and worship music throughout the...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Pilgrim 

    Fort Knox

    FORT KNOX, Kentucky — The sun never quite managed to break through an overcast morning April 12, but the mood from more than 75 vehicles full of worshipers never seemed to dampen.

    Honking horns and shouts of hallelujah could be heard in the area surrounding the headquarters of U.S. Army Human Resources Command as motorists arrived from inside the gates of the Central Kentucky post, and outside the gates, to celebrate Easter 2020 in a new way that has become popular in the face of COVID-19: drive-in worship.

    Soldiers and civilians held signs up asking motorists to stay in their vehicles and tune into FM 100.1 to hear the service while others directed motorists where to park to ensure vehicles remained at least six feet apart. Chaplains and musicians gathered on a road that runs next to Cavalry Chapel, high above the worshipers, leading the unorthodox congregation in music, praise and encouragement.

    “As you recall the disciples, the men and women who came to meet and follow Jesus, had all experienced a type of portal into a new world,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Thomas Brooks, command chaplain for U.S. Army Cadet Command and keynote speaker. “Their spiritual hopes had been sparked, and their spirits were high; this man came into their lives — the Son of Man, and more than mere man.”

    Chaplain (Col.) James Boulware, garrison chaplain at the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Knox Religious Support Office, gathered leaders together for prayer prior to the start, where he asked God to hold back the rain. He and others voiced concerns that the weather might discourage people from attending.

    “Last night, we were looking at up to a 60% chance of rain and 7- or 8-mph winds,” said John Sydnor, worship leader for the service. “That was a big concern for us because our pianist has a baby strapped to her, and my wife has a baby strapped to her.”

    Boulware said the original idea for a drive-in service came from his daughter, who attends Stithton Baptist Church in nearby Radcliff.

    “She mentioned that Stithton was going to do a drive-in for their church services, and they had been doing that every Sunday,” said Boulware. “When I heard that, I instantly thought of our Easter service.”

    Boulware said they had been planning their Easter service for over seven months when disaster struck.

    “It’s been on the calendar, and then when COVID-19 came along, it got to the point to where we just canceled having the service,” said Boulware. “When I heard this, I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to get as close as possible to celebrating together the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

    During initial planning for the drive-in event, religious leaders decided to provide programs and communion as part of the service. Then word came that interaction with worshipers, even in the smallest of ways, could threaten lives.

    “Two concerns there: Obviously with COVID-19, we’re trying to stay within regulations and use good common sense, so communion cups and programs were a concern. Also, traffic flow – figuring 30 seconds for individuals to get their car windows down and get their communion, roll their windows up and take off, if 50 cars showed up that would require an additional 25 minutes,” said Boulware. “We’re trying to do this as safely as possible without delays.”

    Besides providing an in-person event for people to worship, leaders also planned to have the service broadcast live on Facebook. Boulware said celebrating a Resurrection Day event is a critical part of Christian faith.

    “This is central to everything we believe,” said Boulware. “As the Apostle Paul taught, if we’re not being resurrected, what hope do we have in this life? The hope that we have in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection is everything, so to come together as a church, and to celebrate this together is the most exciting time in our Christian faith when it comes to celebrating.”

    Feedback from those in attendance was overwhelmingly positive, according to leaders. One family in attendance was the Watsons, who live in Radcliff. Jeremy works as a youth pastor.

    “We enjoyed this; it was well organized, and it was good hearing the actual resurrection put together by different chaplains through scripture,” said Jeremy. “And amid the forecast of rain, the fact that they decided to go ahead and do it was great.”

    By the time the event started at 7:30, the Watsons and over 65 other cars full of people had arrived with more rolling in. Throughout the service, many tapped their horns in praise, others raised hands out of their windows in worship. The rain never fell.

    “There have been considerations and difficulties in trying to plan for everything, but you couldn’t ask for much better weather,” said Sydnor after the service. “It’s God’s show, and God showed.”



    Date Taken: 04.13.2020
    Date Posted: 04.13.2020 15:44
    Story ID: 367271
    Location: FORT KNOX, KY, US 

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