Pastor Phillip Hoeflinger at the First United Methodist Church and a few other members from the church left their homes Sunday morning to participate in the first live stream worship service via Facebook and Youtube.
Some helped with the technical problems, others played the music, others sang, but the less than 10 members of the church who decided to help were happy to be of service so the word of God would reach the homes of those who cannot leave.
Hoeflinger said the church, as well as the community, are living a new situation and they are all doing their best to adjust. He said the decision of doing online worship service came early last week to avoid putting those who are high risk in the pandemic in danger.
“We obviously in the day we are in it’s a new [situation] that everybody is living and we are all trying to figure out and the church is no different and particularly with the people that we focus and we witness to, we have a lot of people who are at risk when it comes to this pandemic,” he said.
“We made the decision early in the week to go virtual for our worship service and it’s something that we’ve never really done before so we made a Youtube channel, we emphasized Facebook live and we are just trying to get there in social media practicing during the week to re-inform and renew our worship services … to be as welcoming and as inviting as possible.”
Hoeflinger said he is thankful in this time the church is able to live stream the services, something that would have not been impossible if the pandemic would have happened before the social media era. He said the situation is nerve-wrecking.
“The good thing that we’ve been emphasizing in our church is that we can still be the church, we don’t have to be within the walls in the church; we can be outside of the church and still be the church because the church is the people,” he said.
“We are not close together, but we still are through social media and we give thanks to God for this opportunity. … We praise God and we are going to do our very best to let people know that God is with them and there’s hope.”
Hoeflinger said that a message of encouragement to everyone is to be strong and courageous. He said he is confident the Lord will lead the community and the church.
“I have confidence that the Lord will lead us trough this season of uncertainty and get us out on the other side, but in the midst of all that, to trust in him, have compassion on those that are around you and we’re in this together,” he said.