KETK | Mye Owens | July 12, 2020
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, some churches are taking a leap of faith and holding in-person service.
While online services are still being used by a majority of churches, First United Methodist in Longview is holding in-person service with some adjustments for the second week.
“First Methodist Church has been my home for the past 45 years,” said Carrol Grennwaledt, a parishioner at First United Methodist.
It’s the history and commradery for members like Grennwaledt who keep coming back.
“The church service in person, just has a feel to it and a spirit that’s important,” explained Grennwaledt, “All of us need to be socially distancing, all of us need to have masks and to protect each other.”
With a rise in COVID-19 cases across the state of Texas, church leaders say they have never seen anything like this pandemic before, but by using new guidelines they have faith in the future.
“I think the difference here is the lingering nature of the concerns and the dangers, it’s a much more pro-longed circumstance,” said Reverand Jay Jackson, Senior Pastor at First United Methodist.
With over 20 years of ministry experience, Jackson says with the increase in coronavirus cases, in-person service is needed more than ever.
“We’ve had a number of people who deeply desire of connection and worship, and even though we provide a TV ministry and a live stream ministry opportunity, they were hungry for the opportunity to be present and to feel community,” explained Jackson.
To create a safe and healthy environment, the church has no choir, instead, a one-man band and video of previous songs.
Rather than the usual collection, a basket sits in the back of the church for members to drop off their offering. Another change, implementing 6-feet of distance in the halls and inside during service.
“Even just coming in, our ushers open the door so that no one even has to open the door for themselves, they’re there with hand sanitizer to allow for people to have their hands sanitized, we offer masks for people who have not brought masks with them,” explained Jackson.
The church says the adjusted service will continue through the summer with no plans to shut the doors unless COVID-19 cases sky-rocket.
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