Churches go online during coronavirus restrictions
As Governor Charlie Baker has limited gatherings to 25 people or fewer, many churches in Wareham are working to find a way to connect with their members at a safe distance.
For some churches, like the Bridge in Onset, that means stepping up the online streaming that has long been a part of the church’s culture.
“Live streaming has been part of the church’s culture for a while,” said Pastor Dave Ferrari. “So for us, it’s going to be a pretty easy transition to make.”
The Bridge is also looking for ways to help others in the community. For more information or to stream services, go to facebook.com/thebridgeonset/.
At the Grace Lighthouse Church, Pastor Dave Beguerie is working on a strategy to bring parishioners together on the phone for call-in Bible study, prayer meetings, and weekly services.
Beguerie explained that the church is using a new phone conferencing system that can accommodate up to 1,000 people, and is designed so that the leaders of prayer meetings or other groups can keep other participants on mute or open the line for discussion. He chose the phone conference option as it is accessible to anyone with a phone, and parishioners don’t need to be particularly tech-savvy to use the service. In the future, the church might expand to broadcasting services live on Facebook or Youtube.
To sign up for text alerts from the church announcing the times of services and meetings, text GLF to 84576. The number to call for services and meetings is 425-535-9479.
The church also broadcasts services on 90.5 FM at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays and at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
“We’re going to honor [government orders] and also get creative with how we maintain connection,” Beguerie said.
Onset Foursquare Church has been conducting both live and streamed services for some time. For information about how to tune in, go to www.ofcpeople.com.
The Church in the Pines met outdoors on March 15, although plans for future services are unclear at this time.
The First Congregational Church of Wareham’s plans for future services are unclear, but on the 15th, the church directed those feeling unwell to stay home, and linked to services streaming online at oldsouth.org in Boston or fourthchurch.org in Chicago. Pastor Virginia's sermon is posted online at tobelieveistocare.com. The church’s weekly breakfasts on Wednesday mornings have been suspended.
The Wesley United Methodist Church is moving to exclusively online services at wesleyumchurchwareham.com and on Facebook and will be sending out some version of that service via email.
“Please, understand that this is not an easy decision,” Pastor Ginny Doran wrote to parishioners. “Much prayer has gone into this because it goes against the grain of my pastor’s heart to close church.”
The church has cancelled its upcoming lasagna dinner and community breakfast, but will continue its mobile ministry, which provides food for the homeless.
The Church of the Good Shepherd has cancelled services for the next three weeks, and there will be no activities at the church except the preparation of take-out meals for Shepherd’s Table on Thursdays. The church newsletter will be sent out as usual, and a prayer service will be emailed to parishioners on Sundays.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church is waiting for guidance from the diocese in Fall River, and has been practicing social distancing at in-person services.
“Churches are a beacon of hope,” said Deacon David Murphy. “You start seeing them closed down and it doesn’t send a good message.”
Murphy said that he hopes the church doesn’t have to take the “drastic” measure of shutting down, and noted that the church’s primary duty is to the soul, not the body.
All activities at the Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene have been cancelled this week, including services and Turning Point.
Those looking for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings can go to aaphonemeetings.org.