Like other businesses and organizations, churches had to quickly adjust their way of doing things during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although most government restrictions excluded churches, almost all area churches followed the same precautions for the safety of their parishioners.
When other businesses in Bee County were required to close, FUMC stopped all in-church activities. We knew, however, that we needed to quickly adapt. Here are some things we have done and continue to do to be the church during this Pandemic:
First, we held drive-in worship services in our parking lot when in-person worship was inadvisable. We set up our sound system and worship space outdoors and invited people to attend worship in their cars.
Second, we began broadcasting our worship via Facebook Live and KIKR 106 FM. Our services were uploaded to our YouTube Channel and our website for viewing at any time. We have been surprised with having a larger audience by using social media to broadcast worship. We will continue this practice even after restrictions are lifted.
Third, we quickly learned to use Zoom for meetings and Bible Studies. Even though Bible Studies can now be conducted in person, we still use Zoom for the benefit of those more comfortable staying at home. We will probably continue this practice even after restrictions are lifted.
Fourth, we started serving our Food Pantry clients by having them drive through our parking lot instead of gathering in person in our gym.
Fifth, when “Phase Two” of the Governor’s restrictions was implemented, we opened the Sanctuary for in-person worship with safe distancing and the use of masks.
Sixth, being unable to visit our parishioners that are homebound or in long-term care facilities, we stay in touch with them by delivering monthly “goodie bags” filled with church bulletins, church news, devotional materials, communion elements, and some fun items, like puzzle books. We also try to stay in touch by phone.
It is hard for any church to make changes; but because of the urgent changes required by the Pandemic, we have learned to adapt. Therefore, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we look forward to making other changes for the benefit of the church and our community as we move forward and exit this Pandemic.
If you have a family member in this facility that would like to receive one of our monthly “goodie bags,” then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY: REV. DEAN FLEMING, FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF BEEVILLE