MILWAUKEE-- This Sunday, many parishioners stayed home instead of going to church because of coronavirus concerns. However, houses of worship are finding new ways to pray together from a distance.
Pastor Lindsey Beukelman held a church service from the comfort of her home, praying with congregants virtually through her smartphone.
“Hi there church. It's Pastor Lindsey. We are gathering today via Facebook Live,” she said to parishioners of All Peoples Church in Milwaukee.
“It is good to be together as weird and different as this might be,” she said.
Her church decided to move their services online as health officials encourage social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus, known as (COVID-19).
“We just really didn’t want people getting sick so we decided it’s time to get creative,” Pastor Lindsey said.
Mass continued as normal at All Saints church, but with less in attendance and more hand sanitizer.
Father James Arthur is taking directives from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which dispensed Catholics from their obligation to attend Sunday mass through the remainder of March.
“All those who are vulnerable, we ask them to stay away, and we told everybody if you are not comfortable don’t come,” Arthur said.
He said crews thoroughly cleaned the church. During services, parishioners spread out near their families.
“No handshakes, no touching,” Father Arthur said.
They have canceled all other gatherings, but until the archdiocese says differently, mass will go on. Parisioner Eva Quezaire-Brazil said she’s taking precautions so that she can continuing going to church.
“Unless they lock down the whole city, I’ll keep coming every Sunday,” Quezaire-Brazil said.
As for Pastor Lindsey, her church is taking things day by day, brainstorming how they can best serve their community during this challenging time.
“Wherever we gather, whether that’s in our homes or in a building or together or apart, we are the church body,” Pastor Lindsey said.
All Peoples Church is tentatively suspending all face-to-face gatherings until April 1.