FaithHamil R. HarrisReligion

At-Home Church Services Trending Amid Pandemic

Long before the coronavirus pandemic caused people to shelter in their homes, Pastor Everett Pope had already planned to change the traditional structure and method of worship at United Baptist Church in New Carrollton.

On the other hand, for worshippers like Bryan and Dee Dee Bass Wilbon, attending Sunday morning services used to mean traveling across Prince George’s County in search of parking and seats at a megachurch.

And for nearly a decade, Elder Richard and Angelina White traveled for services to Refreshing Springs Church of Christ in Columbia to a satellite church in Baltimore County.

Pastor Everett Pope and wife (Courtesy photo)
Pastor Everett Pope and wife (Courtesy photo)

However, as the pandemic rages on, church leaders and their families have found a blessing in spending extra time at home worshiping via Zoom video gatherings.

Dee Dee Bass Wilbon said when the virus quarantine began, it was challenging, but now it’s a blessing.

“It has been odd having everyone in the house all of the time,” she said. “My son works out like my husband. We are doing church at home. We have been working out and the kids have picked up some [good].”

Brian Wilbon added that the pandemic “has forced us all to reflect on the things that are truly important. For our family, we have remained faithful in attending church online each Sunday. The quarantine has also given us plenty of time to dig into the Word during the week.”

Elder White, who comes from a long line of ministers in the Church of God in Christ that include his great-grandfather Bishop Samuel Kelsey, found that not having to travel from Columbia to Riverdale has not only saved a lot of time, but enhanced the church’s ministry with more people tuning in each week from the comfort of their homes.

Richard White and wife Angelina
Richard White and wife Angelina (Courtesy photo)

“We have a good group that participates,” said White, adding that other family members are watching or listening to services via phones. “People are home who have not been exposed to Bible study are now hearing and they are listening. The Word said, ‘Faith comes by hearing the word of God.'”

Angelina White concurred that worshipping from home and the time saved from traveling has been “a blessing.”

“Now we have home Bible study and … I have been cooking more and our Bible study has gotten more personal,” she said.

Although Cara Williams has her own church in Baltimore, she said she’s enjoying attending online Bible study with her 86-year-old mother and aunt because everybody is learning from their participation via Zoom.

“I have been attending church and Bible study and it’s more engaging,” said Williams, a retired Baltimore police officer, adding that the extra time she gets to worship from home among family “doesn’t feel as forced.”

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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