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Some churches continue virtual services, delay in-person meetings

Published: Jul. 12, 2020 at 3:54 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Despite being allowed to meet again in person since early May, some churches and other places of worship are still figuring out when and how to proceed.

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids is keeping its doors closed and sticking with live-streamed, virtual services at least until the end of the month. Back in March, the church started using only an iPhone and tripod to stream its service on Facebook.

St. Paul's lead pastor, Sherrie Ilg said that has since grown into an efficient way to connect with the congregation. She said they monitor Covid-19 case numbers in Linn County and will reopen when they feel it's safe, but that return back will be slow.

“So I think it will be a hybrid model. I would imagine in times that we might be able to open up spaces for 40 people where we are marking off pews, pre-assigned seating, safe distancing, face mask required,” Ilg said.

She said they will continue to offer a virtual service for people unable to attend in person, even once the pandemic is over.

Despite not meeting in-person to collect donations, she said they’ve actually been able to increase fundraising for community members impacted by Covid-19 and for the church.

“We’ve raised close to $50,000 dollars as an additional love gift in just these past weeks from members of our church that said yes, we want to respond, we have something want to share it with the world,” she said.

St. Paul’s has also started offering virtual Sunday school classes. The church is using traditional mail and the phone to engage and connect with people not online.

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