Unprecedented times for people of faith
By Barbara E. Flowers

Due to the impact of COVID 19, churches, synagogues, and mosques around the world have suspended regular worship services for an indefinite period of time. Fortunately, community church leaders are navigating this major crisis in creative and effective ways.

When Pastor Keith W. Byrd, Sr. and the ministerial staff of Zion Baptist Church heard the news about Mayor (Muriel) Bowser’s executive order prohibiting gatherings of no more ten people, it became obviously necessary to cancel all in-person fellowship gatherings. In order to slow the spread and threat of the disease, adjustments to both service experiences and spiritual connection with the congregation were essential.

Although I agree with the majority that the most faithful way to gather as a church requires the real physical presence of pastors and congregations, I believe as we walk through this season of church under quarantine, worshippers should feel compelled to pursue spiritual learning and teaching using the technology available to us. Zion has been blessed through supplication and sacrifice with resources and technology to broadcast her sermons digitally.

“Ministry has and is performed in and out of the church where the pulpit travels to meet the people and needs of God where they are,” quotes Rev. Robert Tolson, who with his knowledge and experience with church database software, led the way for Members and friends from all corners of the DMV to our first live streamed worship service on YouTube, Face book and our own website, offering hymns rendered by Bro. Ryan Jones that glorify God. What an experience!

There is a big difference though between in person and on line Sunday service; we feel it every time we log on. (1) The pastor’s sermons are shorter but filled with purpose: He preaches the Word of God, for the glory of God, to transform listeners into the likeness of God.. (2) He shares short updates of upcoming services and activities, rather than reads numerous announcements. (3) You imagine the experience to face time with the pastor, feeling he is talking directly to you.

I thank the Lord my family, friends and I are still able to watch and listen to sermons on Sunday morning. Although you can find good teaching and truth online, you need to be in church to experience the fellowship of fellow believers and develop relationships within the church body.