Churches in Lacombe have been forced to alter how they deliver spiritual needs to their congregations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarah Fanning, the reverend and interim minister of St. Andrew’s United Church, said that despite the cancellation of church service on Sunday until until April 5 (Palm Sunday), St. Andrew’s is still finding ways help people “nurture their souls”
We are trying to stay connected by having a telephone tree; we have a Facebook page and group where we are sharing with each other and some of our gatherings are happening through the use of technology, so that is using Zoom for meetings; and I am putting out a weekly worship at home prayer links that also has music folk can listen to,”,” she said.
“There is also a videos on the readings which are picked for every Sunday of the year.”
Fanning said the ministry at St. Andrew’s knows this is a difficult time for a lot of people, but the cancellation of service was put in place in order to put safety first.
“I don’t want to run the risk of putting someone else at risk,” she said.
Fanning didn’t go as far as saying churches are essential services, but did say crisis is often a time when people need to feel like they are not alone. That is why virtual support has been so important as the pandemic continues.
“We have technology available that we didn’t have even five years ago and for the most part people are being very gracious and understanding. We are all making this up as we go and trying to learn as we go,” she said.
Fanning said they are continuing to check all of their voice mails sent to the Church and also encourages members of their congregation to join their Facebook Group.
“We can also put stuff in the mail to people. It may not be every week but we also encourage folk to the same. We have some people asking how they can do offering without church on Sunday mornings. Technology has also allowed us to do things like e-transfers and we do take old-fashioned cheques,” she said.
Fanning said she encourages the community to check on their neighbours.
We have a number of folks who just came back from vacations or they are snowbirds and they are supposed to go straight from the airport to their home. That is something where we do have some folk who are able to help with that. Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said.
She added, “Sometimes we can be a voice on the other end of the phone. We know how scary and anxious this is and we can get through this together.”