WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Today is Palm Sunday and the faithful aren’t letting social distancing ruin their day of worship. Many in the community are still attending church services… just in a different way.
“What can we do, right? We’re just going to do what we can with the live stream,” said Pastor Joel Henderson, Trinity Gospel Church.
Palm Sunday begins the solemn observance of Holy Week. Churches are closed due to coronavirus but many are still able to worship and attend church services safely online.
“I think it’s a good idea. A lot of elderly that miss it I think they would love it,” said Theresa Brooke of Williamsport.
“I would rather not. I’d rather go to church and have it one on one and God is everywhere. You can pray at home rather than being exposed to the coronavirus because the churches you sit too close. I’d rather just say prayers at home and hopefully this is all over soon,” said Karen Null of Montoursville.
For Pastor Henderson, it’s been a bit of a challenge live streaming his church services.
“Well its definitely not the way the church is designed to function so we’ve had to do our best to work though it.”
He has a set up in his office at his church with two cameras and a light. He puts everything together on a PowerPoint to help church members with words to songs. Yes — that’s right, hymns are still being sung.
“It has not been easy but I think when our people understand that the church isn’t just a building, it’s not where we meet, but it’s the people and so we’re able to meet online virtually. We’re able to have communication with each other. We’re not trying to make God happy by our special services. We’re just worshiping him because we love him so much,” said Pastor Henderson.
Just as recently as a few weeks ago on a normal Sunday, this church parking lot would be full. But now, in the middle of a pandemic, this lot is empty… an adjustment for many.
“Palm Sunday, I have palms that I was going to turn in and have made into ashes but you can’t do that so they’re still hanging there,” said Karen Null.
“I listened to the radio for church. And on my cellphone I get sermons on there so it helps,” said Theresa Brooke.
Many church goers believe hope springs eternal and look forward to worshiping together again.
“When this is over I think we’ll have just a wonderful service together kind of a special after Easter,” said Pastor Henderson.