Church doors have been shuttered since mid-March in order to abide by the stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines. And while pews are empty of all but scattered hymnals and forgotten fans the church is thriving.
Pastor Hercules Lofa of First Samoan Assembly of God has noticed an increase in church involvement since online services and Bible studies began. Citing many of the ministries that are still active Lofa admits that his congregation has suffered minimal economic impact.
Norma Plaugher of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Pastor Ken Hasekamp of Adventure Christian Church echo Lofa’s sentiments.
Maintaining the church body’s sense of kinship without in-person gatherings is challenging.
Many churches have begun using social media and video conferencing apps to come together.
Streaming Sunday sermons and musical worship services on Facebook Live has been a great tool and some churches plan to continue using these new platforms after Governor Newsom’s third phase begins--when in person church services can be held again.
These churches mentioned and others in the area support the Church Without Walls food pantry.
Having served several hundred people since its inception, the food bank and the churches that support it are helping to stave off some of the fears community members have about providing necessities to their families.
While the future is uncertain Patterson’s small town churches are doing what they can to continue to meet the needs of their community.