FUMC Pastor Shares Message of Hope During Coronavirus Outbreak
With social distancing in effect, local church leaders are moving services completely online. The platform change is allowing them to spread a message of hope to a larger audience.
“We’re praying for all of Montgomery to be safe and to be healthy and be smart,” Pastor Jay Cooper of Montgomery’s First United Methodist Church said.
Cooper said the Coronavirus pandemic has changed how his church is operating. The church normally holds two Sunday morning church services. But now, only one service is held from 11 AM to noon, and streamed online and Facebook.
Cooper said more people are watching than ever before. He says the online service averages 400-500 viewers. Last week’s Sunday morning service- the first since moving all services online due to Coronavirus concerns- had nearly 6000 viewers.
“It tells me that in times like 9/11; after 2008, you know financial collapse here in this country- people were looking for answers. Then, they had this opportunity to flock to churches. But now, here we are asking all these questions about Covid-19 and the Coronavirus, and no one can come to church,” Cooper said.
The church is trying to help flatten the Coronavirus curve by keeping people at home to help reduce the spread of the disease.
“But we’re also trying to help flatten the curve of anxiety and stress and doubt by finding innovative ways to reach people with a message of hope,” Cooper said.
FUMC officials are also concerned the biggest worship services of the year won’t happen.
“Easter- we’re trying to find ways that we can proclaim ‘He is risen, He is risen indeed’ together. So we’re working on that,” Cooper said.
All in-person worship, meetings, and activities have been put on hold for now. But church officials say it could be months before schedules return to normal.
Pastor Cooper said the virus hasn’t stopped some ministries from helping the community. Some are feeding school kids and helping the homeless.