Technology helps groups make faith connections amid virus

Iowa — On Thursday afternoon, the Rev. Amy Wiles sat in a pew at First Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, Bible open in her lap while a videographer recorded her sermon in an empty church.

The sermon would be emailed and posted at the church’s website and Facebook page for the congregation to view on Sunday.

Similar scenes have been playing out at churches throughout the Cedar Valley as doors are closed in the midst of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Pastors, rabbis and church leaders are putting their faith in technology and social media platforms to serve the spiritual needs of their congregations.

“My sermons are 20- to 30-minute reflections with music, Scripture and prayer for people to do a guided worship on their own, hopefully at 10 a.m. Sunday as much as possible, so we all still feel connected in worship,” Wiles told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

People need to feel part of their faith communities, even while social distancing. It’s particularly important with such major religious observances on the April calendar. Palm Sunday is April 5, Lent ends April 9, and Easter is April 12. At synagogues, Passover Seder is April 9.

In addition to utilizing email, Facebook and online resources, First Presbyterian is organizing a phone tree.

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