Enjoy a sermon and bring your pet along.

Many people practically live in their car, so learning that there’s a drive-in church in Florida doesn’t come as a massive surprise. Filmmaker Lauren DeFilippo wanted to capture some of the idiosyncrasies of her home state and created a beautiful, short-form documentary about the Daytona Beach Drive-In Christian Church, which has been operating since 1953.

Attending the services from their car gives worshippers privacy. In the documentary, some people attend by themselves, but other cars are full of couples or small groups. They don’t have to feel guilty about bothering others while discussing the sermon in their vehicle.

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According to DeFilippo, some folks attended because the drive-in church let them be there with their pets. The documentary shows both a cat and dog in attendance.

Plus, sitting in a car can be easier for some folks with limited physical mobility.

DeFilippo filmed at the drive-in church during three Sunday services. The final sermon she attended happened to be about the perils of technology. The sentiment creates an odd dichotomy with the image of a person using a smartphone and sitting vehicles that represent millions of dollars of engineering effort. 

“What I realized in making this film is that in many ways, we’re all just sitting, isolated in our own experiences with the windows rolled up and the air-conditioner blasted on high, wondering why we have trouble connecting with our world and the people around us,” DeFilippo wrote in the Op-ed that accompanied her film on the New York Times’ Website.

With nothing but mellow music and the reverend’s words to frame the images, the result is a stark, short film that makes viewers focus on the people in each vehicle. Without any interviews with the people listening to the sermon, there’s no way to know why the worshippers are there. It forces the watcher to imagine what prompts each person to be at the drive-in church rather than a traditional place of worship.

Source: New York Times

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