Churches go virtual during coronavirus pandemic

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With social distancing, places of worship are no longer congregating. As churches are quieted by the pandemic, it’s made even more difficult during Lent.

“Sunday at 9:45 when I preached to an absolutely empty sanctuary, it was perhaps one of the strangest experiences of my life,” said the Rev. Tim Westermeyer, a pastor at Saint Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church. “One of the high points for us is honestly those Lent and worship services. We share a meal together. Again, it’s one way we gather together physically, and it’s a beautiful evening service. And we can’t do those now, that’s very sad.”

So the church in Plymouth is one of many finding ways to be together even when they are apart. To that end, they’re moving everything online.

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“We’ve begun some creative ways to gather people, so we did a virtual yoga-meditation class last week, which was wonderful,” Westermeyer said.

Bible studies, Sunday services and even a podcast were all added virtually for churchgoers to access.

As another form of communication, Westermeyer said young children from one of the church's member families are sending out little cards to other parishioners on behalf of the church.

"When we come out the other end, I think we will be deeper and richer as a community and certainly more grateful for everyday connections, a handshake, looking someone in the eye, sharing communion, worshipping together on this space," Westermeyer said. "We’re looking forward to that day.”