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Facebook/Wave House Church
UK News

Surfing vicar free to open drive-in church service in 'miracle' council U-turn

by Press Association

A drive-in church service is to be held this weekend after initially being halted owing to health and safety fears.

Reverend Matt Timms, a keen surfer, was inspired by similar services in Northern Ireland and looked to bring the idea to Newquay, Cornwall.

Rev Timms, of Wave House Church, tried to find a way around the lockdown - and churches being considered non-essential - and advertised the service on Facebook.

Cornwall County Council's health and safety team initially said the "Covid-compliant" service could not go ahead, but this decision was changed after pressure from the community, Christian Concern said.

Rev Timms said: "I was told that having a drive-in church service was not in the government's regulations.

"I was stunned and felt like I was being discriminated against. Drive-in cinemas are allowed, why not a drive-in church?

"Christian faith is not something that happens in private."

The service will be held in a car park with a limit of 120 cars.

Congregants, who will stay in their vehicles, will have a Bible reading and prayers, followed by a screening of surfing film Unstoppable.

"I was amazed at the turn around and elated that they granted permission. I see it as miracle and an act of God," Rev Timms added.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said she was "delighted" that "common sense has prevailed".

"It cannot be right that drive-in cinemas are allowed, shopping centres are open, but an outdoor church service that is offering real hope to a community in need is banned," she added.

"The government is dictating to church leaders what church is and how it should function, which is unprecedented."


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