Gathering in Virtual Houses of Worship
Last month, Sunday services for The Grove Church in Marysville, Washington, were held “drive-in” style in their parking lot. Pastors shared songs and messages while standing on the roof as members listened in on a radio channel from their cars.
No doubt, COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for religious congregations. Visit their websites these days and you’ll see:
“Click here for a sneak peak at this Sunday's digital service.”
“Watch our live streams here!”
“Join us for church online.”
As many houses of worship are supporting the fight against the transmission of coronavirus by cancelling social gatherings, organizations have found creative ways to conduct weekly services through technology.
How are they doing it?
“We are on Facebook Live and getting a decent response. Many of our pastors are also doing short, daily devotional-type videos to keep members engaged,” reports Pastor Shawn Plant of Turning Point Church in Galveston, Texas. One Facebook attendee posted, “Been awhile for me but I'm glad I was invited to join this morning.”
During Turning Point’s Facebook Live services, members are encouraged to give by texting LOVE to 56512, a mobile donation platform from Engage by Cell.
Also transitioning to virtual options, Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco has been livestreaming on Facebook, publishing recorded videos on YouTube, and holding group meetings like bible study and confirmation class on Zoom.
Giving at Calvary Presbyterian is done online, through snail mail, or via mobile technology. Members can text the word CALVARY10 or CALVARY25 to 20222 and a donation of $10 or $25 can be charged to the giver’s cell phone bill.
Whether it’s drive-ins, live streaming, zoom meetings, or recorded audio calls, religious organizations will find a way to support people through this crisis.
Pastor Taylor Burgess of First Baptist Church in Leesburg, Florida, said it best, "We wish we could see everyone and give all of you hugs and handshakes, but right now loving our neighbor means loving them from a distance."
Feeling generous? Donate to Turning Point or Calvary Presbyterian from your mobile phone using the keywords and codes mentioned above.