Are you still meeting online? Back to meeting in person? If you are meeting in person, does it feel like things are different, have changed?
We began meeting for Drive-In church (stayed in our cars, later sat outside of our cars in chairs) mid-May. Mid-June we started meeting in our courtyard for outdoor church, no masks required. I LOVE this and could do it forever being an outdoorsy person. In the next few weeks we will probably transition to small sized indoor services.
Our attending numbers are super small. Many have left the church, including staff. We lost both of our youth leaders and our worship leader around the time we started meeting in person again. Everything feels “off.”
Wondering what your experiences have been.MissusLeataParticipant
Our church is quite rural and live streaming was never an option. In Texas, churches aren’t required to follow any of the mandates.
During the “lockdown,” we did drive in services, at first those were only for Sunday morning as the other services are really small and social distancing is super easy. But when community spread started, they were all moved out doors.
When the lockdown ended, we went back to more or less normal services. We are still small enough to keep a lot of space between people. We have hand sanitizer available around the building.
Our church is small and very much a family and that hasn’t changed. It’s maybe even become more so.Julie CunninghamParticipant
Thankfully we are open. Childcare, no masks, and even did a real VBS this summer. Most churches in our area are not open to this extent. It feels so normal!alphabetikaParticipant
<p style=”text-align: center;”>We are still meeting online, and will be for the near future. Part of this is because our church rents another denomination’s building, so we have to wait until they decide to meet in person before we can consider it. That said, our church has already set up new meeting protocol, a “Clean Team” and other things for when we eventually do meet. There have been two gatherings in the parking lot, (not services) with social distancing and masks, but we haven’t attended one. I suspect that when we start meeting again, it will feel very, very different for so many reasons. Partly because we will have to be physically distanced and masked, but the main thing I am imagining is the emotional weight everyone will be carrying as a result of the pandemic and quarantine. Everyone’s experiences will have been different, and I think the mix of that will make for a heady emotional atmosphere. I also suspect our gatherings will be much smaller than they were, because we won’t be able to have nursery care or children’s Sunday school classes, and I think that will lead some families to stay home for a time rather than have their kids in the church service. And it may also be necessary for us to have two services if enough people want to come back in person, because our space is small enough that we may not be able to have everyone inside and still social distance.</p>
I do love the idea of an outdoor meeting and wonder if that would work in our setting. Not sure about the capabilities. I am very interested to see how things go, and I’m eager to hear the experiences of people in different areas, but I also feel a weighty sadness.TristanParticipant
Ours is different. We have a worldwide church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)with meeting houses in many many places. Everyone shifted to home church (done in your own home with your family) in March. Just in the last month some areas have opened back up to meet in church buildings holding several services with an in person limit per service based on their area’s current restrictions. I live in Ohio, and our area has not been approved to meet in person yet.
Now, what does home church look like for us?
We’ve chosen to keep a routine, because it’s helpful with 10 kids. The piano room is cleaned on Saturday. We set up chairs for the 12 of us Sunday morning. At 9:45am hymns begin playing, and at 10am everyone is seated and ready to begin. We open with singing a hymn and prayer. We sing a second hymn. My husband or oldest son bless the sacrament, then it is passed by my 12 year old son. We then have a lesson related to our current family scripture study. This has varied from reading together and discussing (which we do daily already), to assigning different pairs to read a portion of scripture and then share their narration or thoughts, to object lessons, to a jeopardy style game about the people, places, doctrines, and recent scripture passages we’ve studied. We’ve watched scripture videos. We’ve drawn our own favorite scripture stories and shared them. We keep it simple, 20-40 minutes at most. Then we sing a closing hymn and have a prayer.mommasmurfParticipant
Our church was renting space at a local school before the pandemic. So we are still streaming our service online, but small groups meet in homes to watch it together. Recently, our pastors & tech crew started video taping the service, then just broadcasting it on Sunday morning. That way they can also be in (or host) a small group on Sunday.
Our group meets an hour early to eat breakfast and catch up on how everyone is doing – outside, socially distanced, with individually plated food. Then we put on our masks to go inside and watch the service together. It does feel nice to sing with others again. We set up a bedroom for the young kids to play, also with the service playing on a laptop. It’s working since we are a small group (3-4 families).LovinMyFamParticipant
I just found out our church will start meeting for in person (masks required) church August 9th. We are in So. CA, Riverside County. Tickets are required as they are distancing and limiting numbers. They are still offering online services, Drive-In on Sat. evenings, and our courtyard outdoor service Sunday at 9:00. So essentially 4 different ways to attend church.
Children’s Program preschool and up meet also. No nursery open yet, which is a bummer for me as I am the paid Nursery Coordinator. The church has continued to pay me and I have worked in other areas, but I miss my babies so much!
I’m serving in a few different areas as we have so many afraid to attend in person. I understand it all, but it still makes me sad. Longing for normalcy and our family back together.
It is interesting reading about the different church experiences in different areas.
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