But what happens when you can't go to church?

But what happens when you can't go to church?

St Paul Lutheran Church in Amityville, New York, recognizes the importance of worship when the Church needs it most and gets creative

“When there is trouble, you go to church. But what happens when you can’t go to church?”

Just when people desperately yearned for the comfort and support of their church families, our churches were forced to close their doors! This pandemic has caused many to be isolated, distant, and living in the fear of becoming yet another positive COVID victim.

Mark H. Mather, President of Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Amityville, knows this only too well. His had already gone to great lengths to prepare for emergencies such as hurricanes and tornados, but no one could have anticipated anything like COVID.

Mr. Mather reports, “Worship is very different than before. Online services, live streaming, online giving, and the mailing in of donations are just a few things that have changed. People are missing human contact and hugs, but everyone realizes all these things are being done to keep people safe and healthy.”

Being an Operations Chief, Cargo Control, and Enforcement of the Trade Operations Division of United States Customs and Border Protection at the John F. Kennedy Airport, Mr. Mather has witnessed the tremendous reduction of people traveling by air, along with the great increase in the shipment of personal protection equipment. He truly understands the need to keep everyone safe.

Some basic changes the members of Saint Paul have embraced include the wearing of masks, frequent hand sanitizing, and increased disinfecting of all church areas. Other things are using pre-printed bulletins instead of hymnals, live streaming and the recording of services, and roping off of certain pews to assist with social distancing. Fellowship cards are being used to keep track of those attending worship.

Members of Saint Paul’s congregation have even responded on their own. A mother and daughter began reaching out by making phone calls, keeping in touch with their members and making sure church family connections remained intact. As needs arose, others began making deliveries of food items and other necessities to those who couldn’t leave their homes.

Pr. Anglin and Mr. Mather stood at the doors of the church Sunday mornings from 9:30 to 11:15, making themselves available for anyone desiring prayer. One Sunday a neighbor who was resting on an outside bench asked if he could receive prayer. They were all overjoyed to be able to pray together!

Today’s questions are, “How do we reconstitute our church? Are we ready? What does the future hold?”

In regard to moving forward, Mr. Mather said, “We are also considering purchasing a large screen television and transmitter to broadcast the church in our overflow area. The transmitter can then be used in showing movies for future social events at the church. We are also discussing how we can distribute communion in the safest manner possible.”

Just two weeks ago, Saint Paul was able once again to open its doors and have its worship service indoors. Their church family was thrilled to see each other again. No one minded having his or her temperature taken, signing in, or even being escorted to sit in the front of the church!

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