LEAVENWORTH — Damian Efta said he believes people gathering together is an important aspect of church. But this is difficult to achieve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Efta said his Leavenworth church did the best it could last weekend to bring people together while still observing social distancing.

Efta, senior pastor at the Church of the Open Door, said the church had its first parking lot service April 26. And they are planning to do it again Sunday.

“We were very happy with the way everything went,” he said of the inaugural parking lot service.

Efta said attendees were asked to adhere to the recommended social distancing requirements.

“And they did,” he said.

He said the Church of the Open Door, located at 4800 S. 20th St., has a fairly sizable parking lot.

Drivers were directed not to park their vehicles next to each other. Instead, vehicles were spaced apart far enough for social distancing.

Efta said some of the attendees stayed in their vehicles. Others set up chairs next to their vehicles.

Efta said a public address system was used for the church service. The service also was broadcast on a low-power FM signal, so people who remained in their vehicles could tune in.

The service also was live-streamed on the internet.

Efta said elevated scaffolding was used for a stage. He said he could hear people who were seated outside singing along with the music portions of the service.

He estimated the turnout for last Sunday’s parking lot service was about two-thirds of the church’s normal attendance prior to the pandemic.