Faith-based organizations adapting to member-less services

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 10:38 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Part of Lawton’s new emergency proclamation bans any gatherings larger than 10 people.

Because of that small number, religious organization across the city are now working on solutions to still worship with their members.

Typically, services across Lawton are packed with people, but new city mandates have changed that.

“In time of catastrophe, tragedy, people want to be in church, they want to pray together," said Very Rev. Brian Buettner, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

Because that’s not an option, local churches are getting creative... trying to find ways to keep their members engaged while they worship from the couch.

“For us, we want to help set steps where if people are in small groups, they can have engagement moments. Then, there are teachings and musical times that we are showing, so they can engage in those without having to produce it themselves," said Brady Sharp, the Pastor at Credence Church.

“Using Facebook live to have our masses celebrated daily, still celebrating mass here, and still encouraging people to come pray before the tabernacle," said Ft. Buettner.

Sharp said this virus, and all the new information related has caused them to adapt quickly.

Last week, they offered a live feed service, but this week they are trying out something a little different.

“We are putting out some documents that are a mixture of things that are written out for people to follow, and video embedded in that, so people can see and engage at the same time," said Sharp.

During this forced community down time, Ft. Buettner said he’s hopeful even the people who don’t come regularly choose to be part of this fluid process.

“A lot of people believe it or not only come to church on Christmas and Easter, so my hope is that this will be an opportunity to them to reflect about how important their faith is. Our parishioners both that are here all the time, or very rarely, hopefully they will all at least be engaged.”

Be sure to check your church’s social media or website to learn their plan during the emergency proclamation, as many have different ways of continuing their services.

The emergency proclamation will keep places of worship crowd free until mid-April at least, barring any extension from the Mayor’s office.

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