Religious worshipers continue to celebrate holidays during pandemic

To keep practicing their religion, people participate in current holidays and online church events from home to stay with their religion and to stay positive despite the pandemic.

Residents continue to celebrate certain religious holidays even if certain aspects of it may be different due to current conditions.
“This year we celebrated seder and passover, but it was different because we weren’t with our family,” junior Anna Goodman said.
In Pennsylvania, counties are on a stay at home order which means certain religious practices such as public gatherings or even family meetings are not recommended. “Last year I went to my grandparents house and we had a normal Seder with all of the blessings and stuff, this year we could not do that so we just had to do it by ourselves,” Goodman said.
Although in person contact is widely unavailable, families still stay in touch.
“We still Facetimed them and talked to them over the phone,” Goodman said.
Certain practices such as attending church are unavailable, because people do not want to spread the virus. Churches still find a way to reach their worshipers.
“I have been attending an online church on Sundays… the pastor also does a live stream of a bible study class on Wednesday nights,” sophomore Nicholas Damiani said.
In a separate church, the Advent Lutheran Church, a camera was set up to capture the service.
“We do Youtube streaming so people can watch live, each time we have around 70 or 80 people watching live and then a lot more people are watching it hours or even days later,” Pastor Mark Singh Hueter said.
Online church is a new thing and people are still getting used to the changes of it.
“We don’t get to see and meet each other in person,” Damiani Said.
Churches try and reach the people better and encourage them to practice at home.
“We encourage people at home to light a candle and to have a bible there and to create a holy place,” Singh-Hueter said
The Advent Lutheran Church has seen a lot of positive feedback with the way that they are currently doing things even though they are not ideal.
“We have seen tons of positive feedback from the people,” Singh-Hueter said
Even though online church streaming may be difficult there are many positive opportunities that arise out of it.
“We have a guest musician from Nepal who has recorded several pieces that we have been using in worship, so our worship features a whole bunch of different conjugational features,” Singh-Hueter said.
In some cases churches are able to reach a much larger audience with the services that they do.
“Instead of the same few 300 people coming to church on Sundays, with new people ever so often, we are now getting around 1600-2000 viewers on each church live stream,” Damiani said.
Precautions are still in place when they are recording the service though.
“We are being very careful with the social distancing so even when we are singing we are facing away from each other,” Singh-Hueter said.
Although online church isn’t ideal for everybody it gives churches the option to do more things that they could not do during a live and in person worship.
During Easter, Singh-Hueter recorded the sermon a day early at Otts, an exotic plant nursery. Mark was able to do a very interactive sermon by using his surroundings to make the recording more interesting.
“There’s no way I would have done something like that live so I was able to tape things and put them together and in some ways it was even better than live,” Singh-Hueter said
There may be downsides but there are also some parts that are better.
“We’re missing somethings, but were also able to add somethings that we couldn’t have before,” Singh-Hueter said.