Hope United Methodist Church in Bedford, Ohio, recently offered “Tailgate Church,” a new kind of worship experience in the Municipal Stadium parking lot (Muni Lot) where pre-game tailgating is a proud tradition among Cleveland Browns fans. The Rev. Andrew Scott explains how his church decided to hold a service in the lot, inviting tailgaters to join them in prayer and Holy Communion.
“The idea behind Tailgate Church was to take the good news to a group of people who might otherwise be ignored by the religious people, and also to create inroads into the Muni Lot community with potential for future ministry opportunities,” said Scott.
The service began with music followed by a sermon by Scott about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Afterwards, he invited people in the lot to join his group in receiving Communion.
“The most notable moment of the day though came when a gentleman, dressed in his best Browns’ gear, came up for Communion but then engaged me and some of the gathered laity in a time of conversation and prayer,” Scott said. “The gentleman was going through some difficult times in his life, especially related to his faith life. After a good time of conversation, Hope UMC layperson Bill Cook prayed over this gentleman and his struggles.”