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    Churches Strive to Balance Faith and Safety

    In Coronado, and worldwide, places of worship have been drastically affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Pastors and leaders of the religious community have strived to balance health and safety with the well-being and faith of its members. This has caused churches to undergo an unprecedented time where adjustments have had to be made and traditions modified. However, through it all, parishioners and leaders have grown to support one another and bring them closer to their faith.

    One such place of worship is the First Baptist Church of Coronado, located on 445 C Avenue. To combat the spread of the coronavirus while keeping its members engaged, leaders of this church have organized online services to replace indoor ones. In fact, Pastor Jim Baize has seen several hundred more people participate in his weekly services via Facebook and YouTube than in-person.

    Pastor Baize shared, “What surprised me is that even though we were in a big growth pattern during the spring of this year, we reach many hundreds more people via Facebook and YouTube than we ever have in person! I am very pleased with that.”

    Despite the growing numbers of his members, Pastor Baize looks forward to seeing everyone in person again. “I hope to see the virus eradicated so we can meet. An important part of the church is the actual (not just virtual) assembling of ourselves together,” he commented.

    Anyone can view Sunday services of the First Baptist Church at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/firstbaptistcoronado/. The website explains, “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are providing our services online via our Facebook page and YouTube. Our previously streamed services are also available on both platforms. Very soon, we will have our Sunday Services available to view LIVE on our website, so be on the lookout for updates.”

    Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church has also resorted to live-streaming worship. This has been a learning opportunity and a new experience for all.

    Pastor David McElrath explained, “The biggest changes we have made revolve around creating a live-stream worship so that the worshiping community can remain connected with their faith family. Adding cameras, adjusting lights, and producing quality sound and picture for the ‘at home’ attendee without having had the training to do so is difficult.”

    Graham Memorial Presbyterian ChurchGraham Memorial is also exploring the possibility of holding a full outdoor service, as outdoor worship is permitted by the state.

    “We are very hopeful. These are challenging times, but they are our times. The coronavirus did not surprise God. We will get through this with prayer and faithfulness, keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ. We will re-open as soon as the state permits, with appropriate precautions from the re-opening guidelines. Recognizing that some may not feel comfortable returning at that time, we will continue the live-stream broadcast,” described Pastor  McElrath.

    The Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church is continuing to hold live stream services on Sunday mornings, which consists of a blend of both Traditional and Blended services. You can watch the services at the church website at https://gmpc.org/livestream.

    Sacred Heart Catholic Church, located at 655 C Avenue, has also taken means to adjust during the coronavirus pandemic. Effective July 15, mass inside the church has not been available to the public. Recently, Sacred Heart has been holding outdoor masses in the newly remodeled Parish Plaza, which can hold up to 54 parishioners.

    Sacred Heart Catholic ChurchSeveral social-distancing and safety precautions Sacred Heart has made include the following:

    • Parishioners are required to wear face masks on church property (Sacred Heart maintains a small supply available for those who need one)
    • Overflow during masses will sit or stand on the front lawn of the Ministry Center
    • Chairs are set up six feet apart in the Parish Plaza with their designated spot marked on the ground with blue tape (only family members may sit together)
    • The Parish Plaza entrance in between Masses will be closed for sanitizing chairs and bathrooms
    • Ministers of Hospitality will use UV wands and sanitizing spray available in the Parish Center lobby
    • Touchless hand sanitizer stands are available at the entrance to the Parish Plaza
    • Weekend masses have been shortened to 30 minutes instead of the usual one hour
    • The Holy Eucharist is distributed at the end of Mass, afterwards parishioners may exit the Parish Plaza

    Father Michael Murphy of Sacred Heart shared, “Our greatest hope for the future is that a vaccine will be developed that will keep people safe from the virus. I pray daily that the Lord will remove the virus from the earth and the suffering and death from this pandemic will end. I also hope that our government leaders in concert with health-care professionals will put forth clear policies that benefit people more than political posturing.”

    Sacred Heart Catholic Church
    Sacred Heart Catholic Church newly remodeled Parish Plaza

    Anyone can watch live-streamed masses at the Sacred Heart website at https://sacredheartcor.org/worship/live-broadcast/ at 7:30, 9, and 11 am on Sundays, 8 am Monday through Friday, and 5:30 pm on Saturday.

    In summary, the First Baptist Church of Coronado, the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church have all made major adjustments in operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but their adaptability and willingness to serve their community prove that no obstacle is too large to overcome when it comes to faith.

    First Baptist Church of Coronado
    445 C Avenue, Coronado
    619-435-6588

    Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church
    975 C Avenue, Coronado
    619-435-6860

    Sacred Heart Catholic Church
    655 C Avenue, Coronado
    619-435-3167

    For information on other local places of worship and links to their websites or live streaming info, see this related article:

    Stay-at-Home Order Forces Churches to Put Faith in Technology

    The post Coronado Churches Strive to Balance Faith and Safety appeared first on Coronado Times.

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