Church services turn to internet during coronavirus outbreak
Posted March 15, 2020 9:36 a.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2020 7:31 p.m. EDT
Holly Springs, N.C. — If you're forced to miss church due to the coronavirus outbreak, many places of worship are offering livestreams of their services on their websites and social media pages.
Churches and other religious buildings were empty Sunday after Gov. Roy Cooper discouraged gatherings of more than 100 people.
It's not unusual for Oasis Church in Holly Springs to stream their service live — but this Sunday, there was no congregation.
"On a typical Sunday we have 50 to 60 volunteers show up at 6 in the morning we unload three 32-feet trailers full of equipment for the kids ministry, for the worship experience and even for the front of the house," said Pastor Bill Rose.
Oasis Church usually hosts two Sunday services at Holly Springs High School, but Rose decided to follow the governor’s guidance to not have large gatherings.
“I got a little bit of frustration from people through email or text messages who were just not certain about everything, but over time they got excited about being able to still worship," Rose said.
The service, which was streamed online, started with a few songs before Rose spoke about true peace. Those watching online were even able to make prayer requests.
"There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air right now," Rose said. Folks are basically feeling stuck at home, they can’t travel, they can’t go to big gatherings and now church — it’s like a punch in the gut for some folks. So there’s a sense of wondering for what’s next and how long will this will last.”
Rose said his church will close temporarily during the virus outbreak, but they'll spend their time donating to a local charity that helps feed kids who may go hungry without school breakfasts and lunches.
"I think that we’re good for a few weeks," Rose said. "I can’t imagine Easter coming and, at least for our church, everybody just staying inside.”
Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh broadcasts their service most Sundays at 11 a.m. on FOX 50.
St. Raphael Catholic Church, on Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh, livestreamed its 9:30 a.m. Mass on its Facebook page. The stream is available below.