Shaping Worship during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Church pews by MiltonPoint on Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

During this time of pandemic, those who plan and lead worship are struggling to balance the needs of their communities with the limitations on what churches can provide to people. Because we are keeping each other safe with social distancing guidelines, we have canceled in-person services, small group meetings, and choir rehearsals. Without our routines and rituals, how can we feel connected as the church?

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Our friends at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship have put together a series of interviews with church leaders who are on the ground now, working in their congregations to meet these challenges and trying innovative new ways to help people stay connected.

Meet LaTonya McIver Penny, whose church is creating worship services using a private Facebook live stream simultaneously with a conference call so that those without computer and internet access can dial in and participate. Dale Sieverding, whose parish is using hospitality ministers in a chat sidebar during its livestreamed Masses to help those who have technology issues arising during the service, talks about maintaining a sense of community during this time. And Yvette Lau, who is helping churches in Hong Kong navigate the “new normal” of holding in-person worship services while trying to maintain social distance and reduce the possibility of transmitting disease, shares her thoughts on pastoral consideration and participation in online worship going forward.

“I wrestle with the question of what ‘church’ will look and feel like after all of this. Will we ever be the same, or was this just what the church needed to spark a new fire and new life into traditional church?”

—LaTonya McIver Penny

Everything feels different now in the worship planning world, but the Calvin Institute has taken this moment as an opportunity for growth and reflection. These resources and interviews with creative leaders are inspiring and hope-filled.

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