Thursday, May 28, 2020

Churches preparing return to services

From Rhode Island-

At St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, the Rev. Christa Moore-Levesque will continue to conduct her live-streamed Sunday sermons via Zoom. The virtual meetings have allowed the congregation to remain connected, albeit remotely.

“They really like seeing each other’s faces,” she said. “I try to say hello to everyone when they come in, and people really like that. It makes them feel like we’re still a community. Everyone knows who’s there worshipping together.”

The online sermons have been about as long as they would have been if the church was open, but Moore-Levesque said her sermons are “not very long” in the first place, typically lasting about 10 minutes in length. The subjects of her virtual sermons have touched upon the coronavirus pandemic, how to cope with feelings of isolation and how neighbors can help one another.

“The content has definitely been different,” she said.

Additionally, Moore-Levesque has offered a weekly children’s message on her YouTube channel, and she also posted videos during Holy Week in April. She has been sending bulletins and children’s activities to families since the shutdown, and following Easter, she began posting stories for children featuring spiritual stories each Friday afternoon.

The decision to continue the live streams in lieu of reopening St. Matthew’s came following guidance from Bishop W. Nicholas Knisely, the Episcopal leader for Rhode Island. He recommended churches in the diocese continue worshipping online through June. According to Moore-Levesque, there have been religious leaders who were surprised by Rai- mondo’s decision to incorporate churches into her second phase of reopening.

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