FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Churches finding ways to serve and stay connected to their communities during the COVID -19 pandemic. Some churches have switched to using some form of technology to continue to worship safely. At the same time, people are watching from home, which can create a disconnect when it comes to giving.
“We miss the people we are a relational church and so not having the people here is a big struggle but we understand the times which we are in,” said St James Missionary Baptist Church, Senior Pastor Curtiss Smith.
“It’s weird to look out and see an empty church and to preach to an empty room,” said St Joseph Catholic Church Father Jason Tyler.
Pews left empty inside churches across Arkansas, where gatherings of 10 or more people have been banned as the state battles the spread of the coronavirus.
“I’ve had to really think outside of the box in terms of how do we keep our community connected together,” said Tyler.
Both The Historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church and St Joseph Catholic Church in Fayetteville were fortunate to have the elements in place to quickly transition to online services.
“We have online giving already set up, we had a good email and texting system already in place, that we are using to communicate with parishioners… we are using it a lot more now,” said Tyler.
Father Jason Tyler said he has seen a recent drop off in contributions since going virtual.
“If you’re not here, you’re just not thinking about things the way you would if you were present.”
He said like any business, churches have financial responsibilities so he’s calling on his members to continue to support.
“Paying our staff is a little more than half of our expenses right that’s something we are committed to do, to help them get through this.”
“We know it’s tough out there, it’s a challenge for a lot of people but this will pass and churches will get back to normal at some point,” said Smith.