Metro churches working to adapt services amid coronavirus concerns

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY METRO — It’s the first Sunday since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, and churches across the metro are taking precautions to protect people from the coronavirus.

Many churches are converting from their traditional Sunday services and opting for digital alternatives, like live streams.

For first time in 29 years, there will be no physical church at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, which averages more than 9,000 attendees between their five locations.

“This was a really difficult decision for us because we know during times like this, when people are uncertain, they need the church, and we want to be the church and be there for them, but at the same time, we are an intricate part of this community, and we want to do our part to protect our congregation,” Cathy Bien, head of communications at the church, said.

Saturday evening, the staff at Church of the Resurrection downsized to a skeletal crew with the worship team, musicians and pastors, to record a video that will re-air during 7:30 a.m, 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. service times on Sunday.

“This is unlike any service we have every done before,” Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton said during the broadcast. “We are worshiping together… at home and together via the internet as a way of trying to keep people safe in our community and all around us.”

Pastor Hamilton isn’t the only metro pastor taking the route of having services strictly online. At City of Truth in Kansas City, Pastor Armour Stephenson III announced he will also stream his weekly service, held at Southeast High School, on Facebook.

“We don’t want to put anyone is jeopardy and get people sick and all that stuff. We want to use wisdom,” Stephenson said. “We are going to go live via Facebook. There is going to be a word for you.”

But not every church is taking this same approach. At Anointed House of Glory, a small church in Martin City located behind Jack Stack BBQ on Charlotte Street, the church doors will remain open.

“We are having service, but I believe the coronavirus is nothing to be taken lightly, so I think we ought to do everything we can to prevent any spreading,” Pastor Neal said. “No embracing will take place tomorrow. Our show of affection will be an elbow bump and a smile.”

Neal said he spent his Saturday disinfecting the pews. For his small congregation of 50 to 100 people, he says he doesn’t have technology for a live stream, but he said he is operating by faith and by logic.

“When it comes to times and situations like this, I think, we need faith,” Neal said.

All the pastors say they are being very fluid in this situation and will revisit their decisions in the coming days and weeks.

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