Churches in the Auburn community have been trying to adjust to their services while keeping members safe and maintaining an environment where people can continue to feel connected.
The Auburn Wesley Foundation is a United Methodist campus ministry that operates under the Alabama-West Florida conference of the Methodist church. It functions as both a church and a student organization.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, students would come to Wesley to listen to sermons and a worship service put on by their worship band.
In August, they began offering a “drive-in” style of worship in the parking lot between Auburn United Methodist Church and the Wesley Foundation building. Students are able to park and either stay in their car or sit in their trunk to listen to the worship band.
Additionally, students are checked in by scanning a QR code through their window. They have their temperatures taken and are given a small meal.
“One of our big things before coronavirus was our Thursday night dinners,” said Taylor Vaughan, the student body president at Wesley. “We would usually have a free meal, and [that] is probably where we had most of our people coming — usually there were over 100 people in attendance.”
Vaughan said due to the coronavirus, they were unable to continue their weekly dinners, and the fellowship team wanted to find a way to still provide a free meal for students.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
The fellowship team worked hard to be able to provide contactless meals to people in the Auburn community, she said.
Vaughan said even though the drive-in worship nights are held in person, the Wesley team is still requiring students to wear masks and try to keep 6 feet apart as much as possible. The worship nights are also livestreamed for people quarantining or for those who prefer to stay at home, she said.
The idea for drive-in worship began around April and May when the Stay at Home order was first put in place, she said.
Vaughan said the leadership team at Wesley quickly realized they would need to alter many of their plans and events for the year to ensure the safety of the students and the community.
The team was especially concerned about how they would reach out to freshmen, who were coming into the community and who were new to Auburn, she said.
Vaughan said a lot of planning went into these worship services, including buying new microphones to help prevent the spread of germs among the worship team.
She also said every event is set up in a way to keep distance between patrons. Vaughan said patrons are required to enter and exit through different entry points.
The leadership team has a detailed protocol for every event hosted by Wesley, and a lot of planning goes into ensuring that every event hosted is safe for those who choose to attend it, Vaughan said.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman