Grace Church, Wooster, Ohio (Nick Cleveland, senior pastor) was included in a “roundup” story about how churches in the Wooster area carried out regular worship services over the weekend. A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article.
No shaking hands: Churches dispense with traditional services
Father Rich Samide kept his hands tucked into his robe. It was the only way he could overcome his muscle memory to shake hands with parishioners at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Sunday.
Samide, 32, said that he has “Purell’d and washed my hands” this week more than ever in his life to combat the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
“It’s not just for me but for the people I come in contact with,” he said.
Sunday’s 8 a.m. Mass at St. Mary saw about a third of its regular attendance, three days after Gov. Mike DeWine limited gatherings of more than 100 people in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The early morning service hit the threshold of 100 church members scattered around the pews, observing a semblance of “social distancing.”
DeWine exempted churches due to the First Amendment. Catholic bishops agreed to cooperate with the governor’s directive to create social distance and told the faithful who reside in Ohio and all other Catholics currently in the state that they weren’t obligated to attend Mass through March 28-29. …
Many churches with large congregations canceled their in-person services and moved to streaming online. The churches moving services online in Wooster included Grace Church, West Hill Baptist Church, Church of the Nazarene and NewPointe Community Church.
Drew Hilty, 41, and his family regularly attend services at Grace Church but were familiar with the church streaming services every Sunday, taking advantage of the service while on vacation or even camping.
On Sunday, he and his wife Bekah, 37, son Kaden, 11, and daughter Elena, 9, watched the service from their living room, streaming it on Facebook Live by downloading the Facebook Watch app on their television. He noticed a difference during the worship part of the service but said, “The message of the sermon isn’t lost.”
“With worship, you feel more emotion and connectivity with the rest of the congregation,” he said.
Click here to read the complete article.