Churches around the world are hoping to shine light into the darkness and one church did just that in more ways than one Friday morning.
Before the sun rose, 29 vehicles gathered in the parking lot of Kilcona Park Alliance Church in Winnipeg, and not one person got out of their cars. Instead, they all sat inside their vehicles and prayed together.
One of the church's elders, Josh, says they had already been wanting to do early morning prayer meetings before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The current circumstances simply forced them to get creative.
"We just figured, people still want to gather but how could we do it? And if we all stayed in our vehicle we could all gather in the church parking lot, there's nothing stopping us from gathering that way and praying."
He says that as the vehicles gathered in the pre-dawn hours their headlights shone on the church building. "It seemed like there was even a bit of unity, or symbolism as well."
The church sent out a prayer list via email ahead of time and people prayed simultaneously in their vehicles. The church is looking at possibly getting a low-power FM transmitter so somebody can lead the prayers. However, Josh says, "just being all together and looking out and seeing each other in different cars was a pretty powerful thing."
The leaders were surprised by the large turnout, and Josh says he knows a lot of people had to go out of their way to attend. "This wasn't on their way to work. It wasn't a convenient thing. It was obvious that these people value prayer and that it's pretty important during this time."
Not being able to stand or sit beside one another as they prayed together was a different experience, but a powerful one. "You know what, I think, with all of this stuff that we're going through right now, even praying for people over a video conference, it just feels like this is how we can connect at this time. It's maybe not exactly how we'd like it to be but I just feel like there's a sense that God is really bridging some of these gaps in a very supernatural way."
Leaders hope to continue hosting their "park and pray." Originally they had planned to host the early morning prayer meetings for six weeks, and they hope to continue for at least that long, still.