On Sunday, due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, church council decided to stream the service via Facebook Live (If you missed it, you can watch the recording here).
We hadn't ever done anything like this before; typically if church is canceled, it's a last-minute response to the weather. There's no time to plan an alternative and even if we could, it would mean risking people's safety to come to the building and do…whatever we might do.
But with a pandemic, driving was safe (safer than usual—very few other cars were on the road). Everyone who participated was feeling healthy; if we kept a good distance from each other and washed our hands, it didn't seem terribly dangerous to come together and create some kind of service.
We hope that the service was meaningful for those who participated from home. At peak, we had 95 different households watching, which means that attendance was about on par with a good Sunday.
The church felt strange, not the ordinary emptiness of a weekday morning, but an expectant emptiness; a full emptiness. It seemed fitting for Lent, a time when we let go of things in order to receive God's fullness in a new way.
We look forward to being together in person when the present crisis passes. In the meantime, we'll plan some kind of video content for Sunday mornings, so that we can be together in spirit if not in body.