PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Many worshippers across the commonwealth are singing and listening to sermons much differently than they used to.
Several churches here in Hampton Roads have moved their services outside or completely digital through platforms like Facebook Live.
Along with Northam’s modified stay at home order was a reminder for faith leaders to set a good example, especially during the holiday season.
“You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers… worship with a mask is still worship, worship outside or online is still worship,” said the governor.
Northam says many cases have been linked to churches in which people gather indoors without masks, though he thanked many who are following the rules.
The pastor of Court Street Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Dr. Wilbur Kersey, spoke to us before his service this morning.
“A part of the church has always been people getting together….especially small groups there’s something to be said because people know each other and know they’re needed they know if don’t go or if I don’t attempt to help, the church is going to die,” said Kersey.
He says unlike many mega churches, his historic church building can hold up to a thousand people– and they only have about 40 church members right now.
“Our church is large enough I jokingly say everybody could have a pew to themselves,” Kersey stated.
Kersey says everyone wears masks and they don’t share bibles or hymn books.
According to a Pew Research study done back in August, roughly a quarter of regular worship attendees appeared to be supplementing in-person attendance with virtual participation.
“The small churches who are having declining membership are better off having big buildings and not many people,” explained Kersey.
So far, he says they haven’t had any COVID-19 outbreaks, so there’s no plans to cancel in church service.
However, he has enjoyed switching things up by doing Facebook lives every Sunday morning for those who feel most comfortable at home.