If you’ve ever arrived late for a church worship service, that won’t be a problem for the foreseeable future. You’ve just reduced your travel time. And, you don’t have to get all dressed up in your Sunday best. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can relax in your pajamas, sit back on the couch, and watch your worship service on your phone, tablet or laptop.
There are more than 60 churches in the Fillmore County Journal circulation area of Southeast Minnesota, and they are adapting like never before.
With the pandemic known as COVID-19 posing a threat to the health of parishioners, area churches have adapted worship services to provide an at-home online streaming experience.
Most churches are using Facebook Live, while others are also streaming their service on YouTube.
According to Pam Seebach, pastor of Harmony United Methodist Church and Mabel-Newburg United Methodist Church, shared, “We are posting a video of the scripture reading and sermon on our Facebook pages. Also, the sanctuary at Mabel UMC will be open every Sunday for prayer, 9-10 a.m., limited to six people per prayer time with social distancing, and the sanctuary at Harmony UMC will be open with the same limitations from 10:30-11:30 a.m. every Sunday.”
The Reverend Dean Safe, clergy for Hentrytown and Union Prairie Lutheran Churches, rural Canton and Lanesboro, respectively, is using Facebook Live each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. “On Sundays, I do a condensed worship liturgy. On Wednesdays, I do a brief reading and reflection along with a big question that I’ve been asking each of my congregations to reflect upon in this season of Lent.”
At First Baptist Church of Preston, Pastor Stuart Weist explained how he is using Zoom for the Wednesday evening Bible study. “The meeting platform also allows for a call-in feature for our elderly or less computer savvy people who may lack the necessary Internet or computer access.”
“In the Roman Catholic parishes, in cluster mid Fillmore County, Nativity BVM Harmony, Assumption BVM Canton, St. Columban’s of Preston, St. Patrick’s of Lanesboro, and St. Mary’s of Chatfield, folks stepped forward to help augment our recording of Sunday Mass on CCTV with live streaming on Facebook,” explained Father Edward McGrath.
With Minnesota Governor Walz announcing a shelter in place order until April 10, 2020, state residents will continue to adapt their way of life. And, churches will adapt to meet the needs of their congregations –staying connected.