Local churches adapt for online service

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Local churches are adjusting to service through Zoom, and Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg has formed a Gathering Together Task Force to help with the transition online.

The group decides whether to come into the building and how it will be cleaned. The sanctuary remains closed, but Minister Diane Bayer says turnout for Zoom service and service in the parking lot has been decent.

For communion, they have their bread and wine at home or once a month in the parking lot, and she says it’s a nice way to be a community.

“I think our top priority as a congregation is just to make us all feel connected in a time where we feel so socially disconnected," Bayer said. "Whatever way we can do that, to bring the congregation together so everyone can feel like we’re still together as a body of Christ.”

She also says that there will be a choral concert in the sanctuary in November with a capacity of no more than 45 people. Others can join the event via Zoom or listen from the parking lot.

First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg is seeing an increase in viewership, and those seeking to become members of the church after moving services online due to the pandemic.

Pastor Jon Heeringa says the digital platform makes it easier for those to serve, however service online is an ongoing adjustment.

“Familiar patterns are gone. So they have to go, you know, ‘Well if I’m in my living room in my pajamas watching worship, do I stand up when they stand up? Do I sing with just my family when I can’t carry a tune on my own?’”

Services in person have been shortened to maximize time for cleaning. Communion is also pre-packaged.

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