Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers, Calif., has been holding its Sunday services online since March, as have many churches. The congregation meets via Zoom for regularly scheduled worship at 10:30 Sunday mornings and livestreams the service to YouTube for the community at large. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoqZCg47Akx5-3M4YejBT5g or YouTube Three Rivers Community Presbyterian Church.) Worship in the age of COVID
Out of concern for members in the vulnerable categories, the church does not anticipate opening soon for regular services, so virtual services will continue for the duration.
Although the church has live-streamed services to Facebook for a while, the move to Zoom enabled music from different sites to be incorporated into the live service. Pastor Marilyn Creel, Music Director Jackie Harris-Groeber and intern Tracy LaMar participate in leading worship from their shelter-in-place homes. Worship in the age of COVID
The experience has not been without challenges. One week, the service streamed to a YouTube channel created by social media networking for Pastor Creel instead of to the church’s channel. This was news to Pastor Creel who had not ever aspired to her own channel!
Occasionally, as can be the case in Three Rivers, people have trouble with internet reception in their homes. The transitions from speaker to PowerPoint to music do not always go as smoothly as planned — but as the church is not trying to present a polished, professional production but is a community of faith meeting to worship together virtually in a time of social distancing, those glitches are just part of the experience.
Because the church considers the Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings essential, those groups are meeting at their regular times. (AA: Mondays, 7:30 p.m.; NA: Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.) The office continues to be open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for copies and faxing. Worship in the age of COVID
Live-streamed services can be found Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on YouTube.
Services are also recorded and available for viewing at any time on the church’s website or YouTube channel.
“We miss the face-to-face fellowship,” members have reported, but they also rank considerations of health — both theirs and others — higher than the need to gather in person. The church will celebrate opening the doors again when the way is clear.
Article submitted by Community Presbyterian Church.