New ways to worship during COVID-19

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PROMPTON, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — With social distancing now a way of life, people can no longer attend worship services. But some local churches are using technology to bring Mass to people’s homes.

Empty pews are now a common sight as churches cancel services in order to follow social distancing guidelines. But now members are using different methods in order to continue their worship.

It’s back to the drawing board for Aldenville Baptist Church. The house of worship wanted to try something new. But a plan for drive-in movie-style worship services this weekend had to be scrapped when Wayne County was added to the “stay-at-home” list. But technology has come to the rescue.

“Our back-up plan is to have our pastor give a message on Facebook live. We didn’t think we’d have to do that but now we’re working feverishly on plans to get that done too,” Brian Stephens, chairman of the Deacon, said.

Other local churches are using online streaming to reach their members. St. Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre held its first online mass last Sunday and had more than 600 views. While he understands the need for online masses, Father Joseph Verespy says it’s just not the same as being in church.

“What’s missing is the person-to-person contact you know. There’s no replacing being with another person being face-to-face.”

It’s the next best thing for people like Joann Dabbieri.

“Like everyone else, we’re looking for comforting words and we’re looking for those familiar people like Father Verespy to give us those comforting words,” Dabbieri said.

Although online worship services are not the ideal, Father Verespy is grateful to have a way to communicate with his fellow worshipers.

“It seems to be a quick, modern, good way to get the word out to people who can’t be here,” Father Verespy said.

That’s encouraging news for the Aldenville Baptist Church Community as it goes online with its new and temporary worshiping plan.

“It’s fabulous. Just the fact that we have this way to contact everyone. I can put a post up on Facebook and let everyone know,” Stephens said. “It’s just phenomenal that we live in an age where this kind of thing can happen.”

In the meantime, Aldenville Baptist Church is in the process of ordering an FM transmitter to reach people within a half-mile radius once they hold drive-in services. Stephens hopes the church will be able to do that on Easter, providing the stay-at-home order doesn’t get extended.

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