When the COVID-19 virus hit the islands, it was obvious that churches were going to be closed for an indefinite period of time. It meant that worshippers had to adjust to the new reality of worshipping at home. Pastors and leadership had to come up with innovative ways to keep their flock together. Virtual worshipping commenced via zoom. At first it was difficult because members had to become acquainted with the software and utilize it. Once this occurred the services were then in full swing.
Most churches streamed the Sunday morning and Sunday night services along with the mid- week Bible Study. Streaming also took off on Facebook and YouTube. There forums not only reached and benefited regular members, but also to people in other parts of the world. The regular gathering and meetings which are hallmarks of the Christian faith had to be curtailed. This was missed badly by many worshippers.
As the government tightened the screws on the level of outdoor activities, it became obvious that church-goers would have to settle for home – church, so to speak. Most people told me that this allowed for greater family time, but they missed being in church. As the months passed by and things began to abate, and restrictions began to be lifted, finally the relaxations allowed churches to resume services.
This was loudly applauded by all. Pastors ensured that all guidelines laid down by government were adhered to strictly. All things from masks, to sanitizers, the social distancing requirements and no congregating were in strict compliance. Some churches re-opened in time for Mother’s Day celebrations. Others waited a little longer and re-opened in time for Father’s Day celebrations.
Pastor, Dr. Gayle Woods of Spot Bay and Watering Place Churches of God Holiness said, “there was a positive and negative aspect to this. In the negative sense it led to people being distressed but on the other hand they were forced to minister outside the 4 walls of the church. Via Facebook we started having services, Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday night. People have learnt to enhance their relationship with God, during this lockdown time. We are looking forward to that time when all restrictions would be lifted and church normalcy would be returned.”
Joel Scott Senior, Senior Pastor, Crossroad United Baptist Church said, “On behalf of my congregation, we complement our government for the fantastic job they have done. We could not ask for better service. They were committed to keeping the spread as minimal as possible. With God’s help they have done well. We kept in touch with members through our Sunday morning audio messages, as well as, our Wednesday night Bible studies. Many of my members kept in touch via WhatsApp, and Facebook. We resumed on Father’s Day and we had two morning services to facilitate the occasion. We have now resumed Morning and Night Sunday services, as well as, Wednesday night mid-week service. We will adhere to all guidelines until notified otherwise.”
Most churches on the Brac have now re-opened their doors. Attendance is continuing to improve and everyone is giving thanks to the Lord for His Goodness and Mercy.