Hope in the church continues through COVID-19

Impact of COVID-19 on churches

LEIGHTON, Ala. (WAFF) - Many people, especially in the South, spend Sunday morning in church.

Churches across North Alabama made changes during the pandemic so people can continue to worship without gathering in a building.

Usually Pastor Wesley Thompson’s congregation at Bethel Colbert Missionary Baptist church fills the pews on Sunday mornings, but since the pandemic hit they’ve been doing things differently.

“God is not restrained to the four walls of this building. We’ve had parking lot service and guess what? God was present in this parking lot as much as God has been present in this sanctuary,” said Pastor Thompson.

From safely doing parking lot services, to Facebook live and YouTube services, despite all the changes, the church is still reeling from recent tragedy.

In the last 12 months, the church has lost 11 church members and three to COVID-19. On January 9th, they held a graveside service for a deacon and his wife who died four days apart from COVID-19.

“That particular deacon was an anchor, a pillar in this church. He and his wife served this church. Anything this church needed they were right there volunteering so it definitely had an impact,” said Pastor Thompson.

Funerals are even different now, too.

“And you want to send them off in a celebratory way inside the church through that homegoing service but we haven’t been able to do that. That’s another impact of COVID,” said Pastor Thompson.

Pastor Thompson said one way he is trying to help the congregation through the losses and pandemic is grief counseling.

“God uses that person, has given that person the insight the brilliance, so lets go to them when we need it,” said Pastor Thompson.

Thompson said he will continue parking lot services until there are fewer cases of COVID-19 in the community.

“Until then, as much as I want to be in here, I have to recognize that I have to look out for their spiritual and their physical health,” said Pastor Thompson.

He said through this pain, does come some sense of hope.

“My sense of hope is that through our hurt, through our pain, through our tears is that God is right there with us,” said Pastor Thompson.

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