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'Something That Connects Us in Spirit to the Water': VB Churches Worshipping Together in 'Boat Church' Despite Pandemic


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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As many gathered for church on Sunday in Virginia Beach, they came by boat and beach for what's being called "Boat Church." 

It was a picture-perfect morning as Virginia Beach woke up to the sounds of worship on the water. 

For those torn between being outside on a beautiful summer day and going to church, Boat Church, here at the Narrows at First Landing State Park offered the perfect solution. 

"We have four kids, so for them to be able to be out here on a beautiful day, and in worship, and hear the word, and play on the beach, explained one worshipper named Caroline. "It's just been a really special morning on Father's Day for sure."

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"Love being out here with the kids," said Blake, a local father. 

Several local churches are taking part in Boat Church.  On Sunday, Adam Cates, the preacher at Big House Church, gave a message on God's love.

"In the gospels, Jesus preached some of his best messages from a boat. There's a reason people come to the shore, come to the beach, like to get out on their boats. There's something that connects us in the spirit through water," Gates said.

Organizer and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell says the inspiration for Boat Church came from a similar experience he had at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.

"We kind of copied the Smith Mountain Lake Boat Church idea and started the planning about a year ago," McDonald told CBN News. "I think this is providential that the planning ended up with this concept to start in the middle of a pandemic when people were looking for a way to be together to worship." 

Co-organizer Cheryl McLeskey says the hope of Boat Church is also to inspire those who might not go to church. 

"I've always wanted to bring in people that don't believe in the Lord, and people that don't go to church on Sundays, and if we're touching one person, then this is worth it, and I'm just so pleased," McLeskey 

Boat Church plans to meet every Sunday at 10:00 am at First Landing State Park until Sept. 6.  

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About The Author

Wendy Griffith

Wendy Griffith is a Co-host for The 700 Club and an Anchor and Senior Reporter for the Christian Broadcasting Network based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition to The 700 Club, Wendy co-anchors Christian World News, a weekly show that focuses on the triumphs and challenges of the global church. ( Wendy started her career at CBN on Capitol Hill, where she was the network’s Congressional Correspondent during the Impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton. She then moved to the Virginia Beach headquarters in 2000 to concentrate on stories with a more