QUISPAMSIS, N.B. -- Churches in New Brunswick are finding unconventional ways to worship as the province eases its COVID-19 restrictions.

Among them are outdoor religious services, which are now being allowed, as long as the proper precautions are taken.

Sunday service looks a lot different these days at the First Bible Baptist Church in Quispamsis, N.B., with a sound system set up outside and parishioners worshipping from the parking lot.

“We call it drive-in church,” says Mark Thren, staff evangelist at First Bible Baptist. “What we do is we have folks in their vehicles, and we have our worship service here, and we’re trying to adapt.”

Trying to adapt using creative alternatives is the new normal of physical distancing in the time of COVID-19.

“It’s just a way that we can still assemble as a church, still hear God’s word, still sing, still be able to see each other,” describes Thren. “Even though we can’t shake hands in fellowship like we’re used to, we could still spend time in the same place.”

Other churches in New Brunswick held similar services this weekend.

The green light to hold outdoor services was given to religious groups by the provincial government on Friday, as it starts to relax some if its COVID-19 restrictions.

“As an alternative to online worship, religious organizations can hold outdoor services if parishioners stay in their vehicles at all times, and the vehicles are spaced two metres apart,” explained N.B. premier Blaine Higgs at an April 24 news conference.

The province has also introduced a guidance document for its recovery plan, which lays out the health measures for those who have been allowed to open up during this first phase, including guidelines for outdoor religious services.”

Other churches in New Brunswick held similar services this weekend.

“I know that in speaking to different members of our congregation over the three weeks that we couldn’t get together in a way like this, that they were missing it desperately,” says First Bible Baptist Pastor Robert Conrad.

Pastor Conrad praises the work so far by the province in navigating this pandemic.

“The evidence was available that they could clear those restrictions up, and they are, little-by-little,” says Conrad. “I appreciate that, and I thank God for allowing us to be back together again.”

Back together, but safely separated.