During this time of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is looking for ways to deal with changes in their lives.
Many in the United States at least identify with a religious group, as reported by a 2019 Gallop poll, which found almost eight of 10 people identified as religious, mostly Christian.
With current “stay-at-home” orders in Colorado, however, local churches are having to find alternatives to traditional services, and most are going online.
“There are several great things about attending church online,” the Rev. Dr. Michael Fay, rector of Episcopal Church of the Ascension, said. “You can stay in your pajamas, you can drink coffee during the service, and if the sermon gets boring, you can just mute it.”
Fay said the church has been using Zoom, a teleconferencing program, to handle online services. They are still working on some aspects of the system but are offering a virtual coffee hour before the service for members to socialize before Fay gives his message. To join, contact Fay at 719-239-4039 with an email address, and he will provide a link.
George Hill, care and discipleship pastor at Grace Church, said that while their methods may have changed, their mission and message have not.
“We are still focused on preaching the gospel, and that hasn’t changed one bit,” Hill said. “We are just becoming more efficient with new technology.”
The Rev. Don Thayer said Grace Church was fortunate, since it has been livestreaming and recording sermons for about 2½ years and recently set up online giving options.
He said they are now working on options to get some of the children’s ministry online as well.
They have also helped their small groups and Bible studies set up meetings using technical options.
Pastors have also been putting up short video logs, or vlogs, online as well.
“We’ve been trying to think of this not as social distancing but physical distancing, staying apart but working to keep everyone together,” Thayer said. “I’m very thankful that we have the technology to do this. We have been taking 1 Peter 5:7 to heart, where Peter calls believers to cast their anxiety to God, because he cares for them.”
Links to the church’s YouTube channel can be found on gracechurchsalida.com.
The Rev. Jim Williams, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, said they are keeping the church open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for those who want to come and pray but ask everyone to practice social distancing of 6 feet. He said hand sanitizer will be available as well.
He said at this time the church is not offering Mass locally, but Williams encouraged parishioners to watch EWTV, the Catholic cable network.
“We are working to set up something locally for Holy Week,” Williams said.
Williams is also taking confession by appointment only; contact him through the church office, 719-539-6419.
Shaun Bunting, one of the branch presidents for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said they are encouraging their members to hold home church with their families.
The Rev. Mike McClellan, pastor of Cross Roads Church in Poncha Springs, said they had a bit of challenge at first but have been broadcasting services on FacebookLive before posting the recording on their website on Mondays at crossroadschurchponcha.com.
“We just want to encourage everyone to stay calm and not panic,” McClellan said. “God has a plan, and I want to assure people that fear and anxiety about this can be worse than the catastrophe itself.”