MAHONING CO., (WKBN) – Churches across the Valley had to prepare for their services a little differently this weekend. Due to the spread of the Coronavirus, some have canceled services altogether while others got a little creative.
Because of that, Sunday morning felt a little different in the Valley with less cars on the road and less people in church.
“What we have done is we’ve gone fully online. We’ve asked people not to come to church this weekend,” said Pastor Doug Reed of the Bridge of Hope Church in Boardman.
Reed’s church, as well as some other churches in the Valley, decided to move their services 100 percent online.
That meant recording on Saturday night with no one in the pews.
Reeds says there’s no right answer for what churches should do at this point.
“I was the guy on the other side of my team saying I really want to do this. I’d hate to not come together. There’s something about that personal connection even if you have to be social distant, six feet away, you know, fist bumps instead of handshakes,” Reed said.
The Faith Fellowship Church of God community in Youngstown decided to meet Sunday.
“We ask our parishioners to sit apart, not so close to one another, not to shake hands or hug like we normally do,” said Assistant Pastor Ken Phillips of the Faith Fellowship Church of God.
On Sunday, they didn’t hand out bulletins, and anyone entering the church had the door held by someone wearing gloves.
Across the Valley, First News knows of at least 90 churches who canceled services altogether this weekend.
Reed says these steps are ultimately to make sure the worst doesn’t happen.
“Could you imagine if all the people that showed up for toilet paper and water showed up at the hospital sick? So part of the reason of the closures and the distancing, I think, is to mitigate that from happening at the hospital,” Reed said. “It’s one thing for it to happen at Walmart. It’s another thing if all these people need care and we don’t have beds.”