The churches of Verona altered their Sunday services as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. These alterations showed not just dedication to faith and concern for community, but an incredible act of creativity.
I was able to attend two services on Sunday; each was remarkable and fulfilling.
The first service I attended virtually. I am not a member of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, but I have worshiped with them at their 8 a.m. Quiet Eucharist. I have always found a quiet peace and warmth at this service. This Sunday’s service, though done online (you could also simply listen in by using your phone), did not disappoint. A camera inside the church’s chapel allowed those of us online to view Rev. Jerry Racioppi and seminarian, Katherine Rollo, as they presented the service. Congregants were able to speak (although I chose not to) and share. The day’s message was given by Rollo, and was uplifting in this time of uncertainty. This virtual service was the perfect way to start off my Sunday; with peace and thoughtfulness.
The second service was at my “home” church: First Presbyterian. This was a truly unique service, the brainchild of Pastor Lynn Rubier-Capron and Christian Education Facilitator Liz Hathaway. Attendees never entered the church building. Most of those in attendance never left their cars! This “Parking Lot Church” was modeled on a drive-in theater. I parked my car, rolled down my windows and took in the service, which was also live streamed on the church’s Facebook page. Those who attended passed the peace with waves and peace signs. We were able to sing hymns by Googling the lyrics and following the musical lead of Pastor Lynn on violin. (There were also a few brave souls who got out of their cars and went up to the microphone to raise their voices in praise.) As I pulled out of the parking lot approximately a half an hour later, I felt refreshed and renewed.
Both churches will have these services next Sunday and perhaps beyond depending on the state of the coronavirus pandemic.
I am grateful to both for coming up with unique ways to fulfill their mission, all while keeping the health and wellbeing of the community in mind.