With social distancing and stay at home orders in place because of COVID-19, local churches are having to get creative when it comes to reaching its parishioners each Sunday.
As soon as it became apparent that a Sunday morning church service would be in violation of social distancing and large group gatherings under stay at home guidelines established by the state of North Carolina to help hinder the spreading of the coronavirus, local churches sought other means of getting their message out to their congregations by utilizing technology and social media.
The Church of the Incarnation has been livestreaming Sunday church services since the COVID-19 social distancing initiative began in March, according to church administrator Kirsten Huscusson.
“We have held services every day of Holy Week,” Huscusson said.
Services tonight, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are as follows:
• Maundy Thursday webcast beginning at 6 p.m.
• Good Friday webcast at noon
• Saturday an Easter vigil on Facebook Live at 8:15 p.m.
• Easter Sunday Easter liturgy webcast at 10:30 a.m.
To virtually attend these events, visit the Church of the Incarnation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ChurchoftheIncarnation/
Webcasts can be viewed at incarnationwnc.org/services-and-sermons/
Highlands United Methodist Church will conduct virtual Easter Sunday services beginning at 7 a.m. on its website highlandsmethodist.org.
“We’ll have a sunrise service at 7 a.m. and a regular service at 10 a.m. and those will be live,” Rev. Randy Lucas said on Monday. “It’s important for all of us in the life of the church and the vocation of ministry, we’re all just trying to find creative ways to continue to be the church during these times. Technology and social media provides us a way to continue to serve the community and families. We’re doing everything we can to continue to be the church.”
Other sermons being livestreamed during Holy Week include Holy Thursday services at 5 p.m., Good Friday services at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 10.
Highlands UMC has been livestreaming services and devotions since 2017.
On regular Sundays throughout the duration of the COVID-19 stay at home directives, virtual church services will be livestreamed on the church’s Facebook page beginning at 10 a.m. Recorded services are also available on the Highlands UMC YouTube channel.
Currently, according to Lucas, the church office hours have been suspended to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and all in-person events have been put on hold until further notice.
Highlands First Baptist Church will livestream its Easter Sunday services at 10:45 a.m.
“We have been livestreaming for a few weeks, which can be seen on our website,” said Pastor Mark Ford. “On Friday night, we’re going to have a livestream of a Good Friday service at 7 p.m.”
Ford said his church and staff have been hard at work ministering to their congregation and trying to keep a step ahead of the COVID-19 storm.
“People aren’t used to being isolated,” he said. “We have had people here and even from other places who need a place to come. We have our “on call” service where I record a two-minute message that goes to our members.”
Ford said the congregation will get through this tough time.
“We’re staying in touch,” he said. “We are doing fine. People are navigating through this.”
The Community Bible Church will livestream its Easter Sunday services at 10:45 a.m. on its website cbchighlands.com and its Facebook page. Past sermons can also be viewed on the church’s website.
The Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church will conduct a drive-up mass in the church parking lot at 11 a.m. weather permitting, according to Carmen Allen, administrative assistant at OLMC. Father Jason Barone will conduct the mass to the church congregation via car from the parking lot.
“Parishioners can park and roll down their windows if the weather is nice and we will do mass this way,” Allen said. “In the event of bad weather we will livestream the mass on our website.”