Churches across the country have had to close their doors during the pandemic, but still others have found creative ways to stay in touch with their congregations.
Grace Church in Chester has successfully adhered to social distancing regulations, but has also maintained numerous activities which help its members stay spiritually connected.
Foremost, the church has managed to continue to hold regular "live" church services via Facebook each Sunday morning as usual. Services begin at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday on Facebook or on dotheword.tv.
"We are thankful that we are able to make this happen with just a few people."
said Jenny Brown, Grace Church youth director.
Besides regular church services, Grace Church is offering other activities. In mid-March Pastor Ron Coleman started doing regular church updates, which he's now doing at least twice weekly.
Not to be outdone, Brown has posted a show called, "Cooking with Jenny."
"We were really missing the youth so we decided to do this fun activity for the kids," she said. "We typically have a large number of kids show up for Wednesday evening services and we knew they were missing their gatherings. It turns out the adults have tuned in, too.
Moreover, the church delivered fresh carnations to the Manor at Craig Farms and Brown developed a pre-Easter series of stories using "Resurrection Eggs" and Facebook.
"During the Easter season we also took fun sheets, word searches, color pages, and even joke banners to The Manor at Craig Farms and to Three Springs Nursing Care Center so that the residents had fun and lighthearted activities to help celebrate the season," Brown added.
On Good Friday the church held an online Worship Experience with music, singing, dancing and the spoken word. And on April 22, Brown started posting "Midweek Moments" to help people get through the strife related to the COVID-19 lockdown.
"I think this must have really been something people were needing because that first post received 1.4 thousand views," she said. Midweek Moments change each week and are designed to provide inspiration.
Brown used the church mascot, D.W. the Dancing Dog, to relay a message about quarantine. D.W. stands for "Do The Word," which is Grace Church's website. On this day, D.W. was feeling sad and missing his grandparents. Brown inspired D.W. to write a nice letter to his grandparents and helped him send them a huge hug via the mail.
Grace Church Administrative Assistant Jon Brown has started posting a daily morning devotional titled, "Tea with Jon." It's only a few minutes every morning, and focuses on a single Bible verse. Grace Church has a Bible Reading Program and Jon's devotionals help get people started on reading their New Testament readings each morning. Church youth, ages 8th grade through college freshmen, have Zoom meetings each week. Teens 16 and older have done drive-bys with birthday banners, balloons, pizza, horns and singing.
Another avenue of spreading heartfelt feelings and positive messages have been through the use of colorful sidewalk chalk art drawings. The first sidewalk chalk art, on April 18, was a salute to all of the essential workers who are braving the coronavirus.
And on April 30, the chalk art helped people express their grief over the loss of two CHS Lady Jacket basketball coaches, Jennifer-King and Pat Knowles, who died within a month of each other.
"We are just doing what we can here at Grace Church to stay connected with our children, youth and adult members," Brown said. "We are observing social distancing regulations and obeying stay-at-home orders, but we are trying our best to offer spiritual connections during this trying time."