The ways in which we connect with others has shifted during the midst of COVID-19 in an effort to help flatten the curve. Worship services have shifted to live streams and recordings. Meetings are now via phone or video conference calls.
While technology provides the opportunity to maintain interaction with others in our community, not everyone has access. Multicultural Ministries established a grant for ethnic churches to receive Zoom accounts. Rev. Ernesto Barriguete, Director of Multicultural Ministries, said the Ministry saw the need for churches to stay connected with their congregations, however not all are able to financially support the use of telecommunication platforms.
Applicants were asked to describe how they planned to use the program and estimate how many people they plan to reach. 42 churches applied for the grant and have been utilizing Zoom as an alternative way to worship and meet with community groups during this time. As of March 27, the churches on the Zoom account had been active for over 146 hours between meetings and bible studies in just one week.
Zoom allows these churches to continue community meetings and groups check ins. Participants spanned from the United States, Canada, Czechia, Peru, Macao, and Pakistan. Rev. Barriguete says churches have found ways to connect with those who do not have internet service through phone calls.
Rev. Barriguete hopes that people will not be afraid of the challenge or afraid to ask questions about how to use telecommunication platforms because the “tools create a big difference in how we stay connected to people.” Throughout the week, he provided support to churches who had questions about Zoom and how to connect with their congregation.
Churches are continuing to host online community groups, administrative meetings, and worship services. The Hispanic and Latino Ministry is planning a Good Friday liturgy service on April 10 at 3 pm. Visit the Hispanic and Latino website and Facebook page for more updates.
If you have questions or would like to share ideas on how to support communities during this time, contact Rev. Ernesto Barriguete at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read Alternative Worship Ideas for additional resources on how you can connect with your community during this time.