Virtual services may continue to be ‘the norm’ for foreseeable future, local church leaders say

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — While places of worship are some of the organizations allowed to hold small gatherings on Friday, not all local churches will welcome back parishioners just yet. Some church leaders say virtual service might be the way to go for the foreseeable future.

Some churches say they don’t have a time-frame for re-opening and believe online services are the best option for the time being.

TJ Addington, the leader of ministry and organization at Heartland Community Church, said that they will continue to rely on online services, even as catholic churches in the diocese of Rockford reopen 10 individuals at a time.

“One of our rules is that we will reopen when the in-person experience matches the quality of the virtual experience, explained Addington.

He says, as a larger church, Heartland is concerned about social distancing.

“How do you get people into an auditorium and out of an auditorium with social distancing? And how many can you put in an auditorium with social distancing? So those are all factors that need to weigh-in,” Addington said.

Pastor Frank Langholf from Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Rockford says more people tune into the church zoom services than a normal Sunday worship service. Even when the church does re-open, Langholf said he will still offer a virtual service.

“We want to continue having that inclusive gathering of people beyond the geography, so that we can be a spiritual community that extends beyond Rockford,” Pastor Langholf explained.

With the success of the online services, the paStor said he is considering holding off on re-opening until the state allows gatherings of 50 people or more.

“In our view, this is anticipatory, that until we’re able to most of us who live in the community be here.t This is providing spiritual nurturing and interaction in a way that maybe up to 10 of us couldn’t do,” Pastor Langholf added.

To view the IDPH’s guidelines for places of worship, click here.

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