As the cars rolled into the parking lot of the Christ Lutheran Church in Scituate, 73-year-old parishioner Diane Waterfield shuffled a handful of prayer cards and reviewed her game plan. The prayers she would offer to passing motorists as part of the church’s new “drive-through” ministry needed to be efficient, yet personal.
“We get their names right away and ask, ‘what type of a prayer do you need today?’ ” she said. “It’s not like in church, when we can pray for our children, our families, our kids, the dog, the cat, and you can go on and on if you want to. Out here, you’re working quick.”
The church’s novel prayer service debuted Saturday, part of a plan by Pastor Dan Eddy to grow his flock by making personal connections with passing residents—and also to help people to fit prayer into their busy schedules. Waterfield was one of about 15 parishioners who volunteered to pray with passing drivers and their passengers. The group will continue the service on a trial basis through at least next Saturday.
Just after 10 a.m., a car tentatively pulled into the lot, one of about 18 that stopped Saturday. Waterfield and fellow parishioner Susan Heller, 60, approached and spoke quietly with the driver, each of them grabbing one of her hands. After a moment, they turned, chuckling and smiling as the car drove off.
“That lady said, ‘I need everything, just everything,’ ” Waterfield said, laughing. “Sue started first, and when she got to a point, then I took over, and we gave her the double whammy.”
The concerns of drivers varied widely: The first car to stop by Saturday carried a family traveling to Cape Cod, who asked for safety on their drive south; another man prayed for the Patriots to triumph over the Saints Sunday, and graciously allowed Pastor Eddy to put in a good word for his beloved Packers; others prayed for ill family members, relief from financial distress, and familial harmony.