Virus shifting landscape at churches | News, Sports, Jobs - Daily Press

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January 13, 2021

Caroline Carlson | Rick Courier, the father of the Daily News, blessed the Catholic Church of the Apostles in Escanaba at the Mass on Saint Thomas Holy Sunday.

ESCANABA —Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance at churches in many areas has fallen.

Said Pastor Rick Curiel of Saint Anthony of Padua Catholicism of Wales and Saint Thomas Catholic of Escanaba. He believes that at least until the spring, the attendance will not increase.

The local church has undergone technical renovations and adopted out-of-the-box ideas to keep in touch with parish residents. Many people have added online services, and pastors and pastors are communicating with people at home, hospitals, and nursing homes over the phone instead of in person.

Many churches have added live streaming online services to their websites, Facebook and YouTube accounts. Some churches, such as the Methodist Church in Gladstone, have switched to online services only. The pastor of the church, Cathy Rafferty, said that the opening and closing was crazy, so the church decided to focus on technology for service, meetings, and Bible study.

Lafferty said that the number of views on Facebook and You Tube has been high and is actually higher than the attendance of the Sunday service before COVID-19. Although she said it is difficult to know how many people have watched the content online, Lafferty admitted that the problem will not disappear completely during the face-to-face service.

Lafferty says that moving services online has only its benefits. For example, those in her congregation who often leave the area in cold weather to get a warm climate can now keep in touch with them online. Lafferty also noticed more family worship because family members can watch replays of the service together at a time that works for everyone.

The messenger said that before the pandemic, the people of the age who studied in person were mixed. However, it is now possible to broadcast live on Facebook at 9 am. He said that the face-to-face participants are often elderly people, which may be because they do not want to deal with technology. All participants in Saint Anthony and Saint Thomas wear masks and maintain social distancing.

After being closed for eight weeks in the spring of 2020, Buck River Bible Church resumed its pre-COVID-19 services. Adapt to social distance. The church also offers online options, although Cochrane said it is difficult to estimate the number of virtual attendees.

He said.

In terms of other trends, donations to many churches are declining. The messenger said that many church members have been generous in mailing their donations, although the decline is small, but because they do not provide social activities other than church services, expenses have been reduced and they have been balanced.

In response to the current fundraising challenges facing churches, many churches are becoming creative. Lafferty said that due to the inability to obtain the on-the-job collections, the Memorial Methodist Church produced a tour of the tabletop nativity scenes of the cohabitants during Christmas and brought a collection box that benefited Heifer International. . This event successfully raised funds, and the participants appreciated the display and tranquility of the beautifully decorated church. She added that this is a good way to allow the community to gather during Christmas and maintain safety precautions.

The originality has also helped some churches hold Christmas elections in 2020 while maintaining social distancing. The group went to church on different days and recorded their part in production with video. Then make these parts into a video of the complete story. Judy Raygo, secretary of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Minomin, said that this process was very effective for their congregation.

she says.

Rafferty's church is also one of the participants of the 2020 Christmas division competition. He said that there are more children participating this year than in the past (about 20) because there is no need to participate on Christmas Eve.

Lafferty said.

Creativity also extends to religious education. Teachers not only use online courses, but also take turns to produce videos for students. Rafferty’s religious educators are incorporating videos of children reading scriptures into the service of the entire congregation. St. Anthony and St. Thomas’ administrative assistant Beth Svilland said that parents are particularly satisfied with the combination of confirming the course structure, online video and exercise book exercises because it provides parents with the opportunity to discuss the course with teenagers.

Both the pastor and the pastor said that the inability to visit the elderly and those in the hospital in person is painful for everyone involved.

Lafferty said. Last spring, members of the Lafferty congregation held a parade to drive past the homes of community members for health reasons, isolating them from the world. The recipients receive a call to let them know when the parade will end. The planners of the military parade planted slogans in the yard of the consignee and waved kind slogans on passing cars, for example,

Those who can sit in the chairs on the lawn and wave the parade happily.

The messenger priest said that the priests were still allowed to do their own salutes in the nursing home, which was an anointing for the dying. In this case, wear gowns and other personal protective equipment.

Regarding other social events, church weddings were rarely held under the restrictions of the pandemic, and those weddings greatly restricted attendance and were usually restricted to immediate family members. Weather permitting, the church has always held funerals outdoors and served as a grave. Some families only hold small indoor funeral services accompanied by their immediate family members, and plan to hold public gatherings in the future when restrictions are lifted.

More than one church has turned to funeral events with limited online attendance so that extended families can (even if in fact) participate in the experience.

Rafferty said that such joint ceremonies had been held in his church.

In the churches inquired, no one felt that people were moving away from religious worship. On the contrary, it seems that a consensus has been reached, and people are now more than ever seeking contact with the spiritual congregation.

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