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Churches using technology to reach members

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CHESTER — Following Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order to not meet in large groups and not travel unless for emergency or absolute necessity, churches across the county are finding ways to meet using digital and electronic means.

Area churches responded with the different methods they are putting into practice to provide for their members in this critical time of “social distancing.”

A recorded message at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Chester informs parishioners, “as of Sunday, March 15, the church building is closed for worship services, however, the chapel is open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for ‘individual prayers.’ No group prayers are being permitted.” The archdiocese is broadcasting mass on Sunday mornings on television for people to watch across the area.

Bryan’s United Methodist Church in Grasonville held a conference call with all of its members Sunday morning, March 22. Pastor Issac Nedd Jr. presided during the 20-minute service.

Nedd said, “We had prayers, followed by church announcements, scripture reading, and then I presented a devotional related to the scriptures read today. The devotional message was related to the topic of, knowing God, especially when challenges in life come along, particularly now with the health crisis that is facing today’s world.”

Christ Episcopal Church in Stevensville has been posting “Stations of the Cross” messages on the church’s Facebook page, almost daily recordings for more than a week by the Rev. Mark Delcuze on a variety of religious topics, and even hosted a Facebook lesson for children in his “Children’s Chapel” for those who normally attend preschool provided at the church — preschool has also been suspended.

On Wednesday evening, March 18, Delcuze did a Bible study for members using Zoom, a video conferencing service.

Delcuze said, “I only heard about Zoom on Monday, and was using it on Wednesday for Bible study with members of the church!”

“Christ Church is holding a pre-recorded worship service on Sundays, which includes prayer, hymns, scripture reading and a brief sermon,” he said. “It’s posted on the church’s Facebook page, and people can go online anytime of the day to see and participate with it.”

Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church and Island Alliance Church, both in Stevensville, Kent Island United Methodist Church in Chester, and Chesapeake Church of Christ in Grasonville are all holding online services for members on their Facebook pages during the week and on Sunday mornings.

Many of these churches are attempting to keep their regular weekly programs intact, but without people meeting together personally, instead staying at home and meeting via social media sites.

Chesapeake Church of Christ Pastor Scott Lambert said, “We have some senior members of our congregation who don’t have computer or Facebook access, so we’re using the telephone and text messages to stay in touch with them to make sure we take care of their needs.”

Voicemail messages were left at several other local churches in the area, but at press time they had not responded.

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