By Daniela Gurrola, Staff Reporter
In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, religious institutions are taking a different approach when it comes to events and gatherings.
Churches are now offering online services and meetings to hold worship and celebrate holidays such as Easter. Most are turning to Zoom or Facebook Live to provide real time interactions and services.
Rob Attaway, the lead worship and creative pastor of Hillside Christian Church, said he has been working hard with other members of his church to ensure that the transition is smooth and that they are still able to reach out to members of their community.
“Our church staff has been working tirelessly from home to make phone calls to our congregation, to set up Zoom meetings, to serve those in need and to do anything else we can to remain connected to one another even as we are physically apart,” Attaway said.
Other churches have turned to creating pre-recorded videos of seminars and music. Lesley Ingham, Presidential Scholars/Honors coordinator and speech instructor, said services are being offered online at her church, where she is a member of the praise team.
“My church, Faith Southwest Methodist, records sermons and praise music on the Tuesday before and then posts it to the church website,” she said. “We also asked church families to send us videos of their kids waving palm branches for Palm Sunday as part of our video compilation.”
Sawyer Linley, the president of Amarillo College’s Baptist Student Ministries, said the changes caused by the pandemic have been difficult.
“It’s discouraging and hard, especially not being able to go to church and having that support system that I used to have,“ Linley said. “We can’t hang out and be in person, so we try to Facetime and do Zoom calls as much as we can. It’s not the same as being in person. It’s been difficult.”
Although there have been many changes as a result of the coronavirus, especially when it comes to socializing, many religious communities have been taking advantage of this time to come together and provide support and fellowship. Attaway said it is important to stay positive.
“I hope that Christians all over the world remember that we are not alone. We are united in Jesus despite any social distancing,” he said.