WASHINGTON – The coronavirus outbreak is impacting communities of faith all across the US. The administration has ordered 15 days of social distancing, and many states have issued orders for people to stay at home.
Synagogues, churches and mosques are adapting to the rapidly changed reality to help people keep practicing their faith in the new reality.
“The church and the community of faith, while they do gather in buildings, are not about the structures,” Matt Hagee, lead pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, told The Jerusalem Post.
“[Communities of faith] are about the people who are served through the congregation,” he said. “We are making sure that everyone is checking in on each other and taking care of those who we have been given the opportunity to serve.”
Churches are abiding by the local regulation in San Antonio, which limits gatherings to groups of 10 people, Hagee told the Post.
“We’re utilizing technology to provide services to our members, and that technology includes broadcasting live stream over the Web, daily updates through the Internet and email,” he said. “We’ve taken members of our staff and dedicated them to doing outbound calls so they can reach our membership and just do a welfare check to find out how they are and if there are needs that we can help meet while they’re potentially facing a quarantine.”
“For years we have had broadcast television, and so speaking to a camera is not anything that is unique,” Hagee said. “However, it was different to do it on a Sunday when we would typically have a live audience and a congregation gathered for worship. The thing that was unique is that there weren’t people on the campus this particular Sunday.”
“We’re broadcasting [the services] online utilizing Facebook live, Roku, Apple TV and every other form of digital communication that the world is currently engaged in,” he told the Post.
The church is making sure that senior congregants are doing well, Hagee said.
“We have dedicated a number of our staff members to contact the elderly directly to find out how they are, to utilize the opportunity to see if there’s anything that we can do for them,” he said. “Do they need food delivered? Do they need prescriptions picked up? Do they need any tangible physical items? And in the meantime, how can we help you while you’re quarantined and in a season where your normal is being disrupted.”