by Karen Thorp

THE churches have responded to the halt on traditional worship services and other group gatherings due to COVID-19.

The ‘stay at home’ orders have been a challenge, but local church leaders moved quickly to find ways to keep congregations connected.

While the pandemic presents unique challenges, it’s also spurred churches to engage people in new ways and the biggest of these is the upgrade to weekly online streamed services.

Ministry routines have had to be modified, words to songs can be downloaded and communion is a ritual we can now do in our living rooms.

As for those smaller church gatherings, including prayer meetings, bible studies and life groups, these are often utilising Zoom video conferencing and are finding people with low-level information technology skills are adapting rapidly with some assistance.

Teens are taking to the scheduled online ‘hang-out’ sessions and weekly children’s programs like story time and Sunday school is easily found on some of the church websites.

Elderly and rural parishioners who may not be technically savvy or have no access to adequate internet service can opt for sermon notes and newsletters to be emailed or delivered.

Sometimes we think of the church as just a building, but we are reminded during this season that the church isn’t just the building; it is the people.

And the message to the people is the same and that is Jesus suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in his triumph to all who will accept it.

And there is so much more to this life-changing revelation to appreciate so it’s worth visiting an online church to grow an understanding for our purpose and destiny according to God’s great plan.

For access to all the new church online forums in Bass Coast Shire, visit www.bcchurches.org.