It’s different, but it’s still church

Church member Jai Wiggins, left, and minister Kelvin Briggs hand out boxed meals to LongCreek Church of Christ members Lela Philpott, left, and Brenda Young during a drive-through pot luck luncheon after Sunday’s at-home worship service. | Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – One might have thought the LongCreek Church of Christ in Blythewood was defying the Governor’s social distancing guidelines last week when it was announced to the congregation in an email that the church would be holding its monthly congregational pot luck luncheon after church services on Sunday.

But it wasn’t defiance. It was just a little creativity in the works.

Following the church’s worship service that was live-streamed for members to watch at home, the congregants hopped into their cars and headed for the church building where they drove slowly through the parking lot. In a drive-thru type line of cars, members were handed ‘pot luck’ box lunches packed with brisket, chicken, vegetables, rice, mac and cheese and dessert. The members then returned to their respective homes and enjoyed lunch ‘together.’

“That’s how it is now,” minister Kelvin Briggs said matter of factly.

An email to each family had asked them to call ahead to reserve the number of meals they needed. Other instructions included, “Pull up to the breezeway that connects the two buildings, smile and receive a meal to go!”

You can’t go to church
As some people say
The common terminology we use every day
You can go to a chapel
You can sit on a pew
But you can’t go to church
‘Cause the Church is you!

You Can’t Go to Church, Lyrics by the Accapella Vocal Band

The church had also participated in a communion service ‘together’ during the morning worship.

“We provide communion kits during a similar ‘drive-thru’ in the parking lot,” Briggs said. “Then on Sundays, at a point in the worship service, we all take communion ‘together.’ It’s not exactly convenient but it’s scriptural.”

The corona pandemic has changed the world for the time being – how we shop, get our groceries, go to school and work. It has also changed how we worship. One by one, however, the churches in Blythewood and throughout the country are creating new ways to fellowship in this world of social distancing, including worshiping ‘together’ on Sunday mornings and even taking part in time-honored church traditions like pot luck luncheons, albeit virtually.

Using Facebook, Zoom, tele-conferencing, You Tube or other digital means of communication, the church leaders manage to feed their flocks.

Weekly bulletins and church announcements are emailed now and church contributions are made with cash apps or are made with cash apps or mailed to the church office.  

Churches this Sunday will be ‘gathering’ for Easter services in non-traditional ways as well.

The VillageChurch, located on Rimer Pond Road, will hold its annual Easter service in the fields surrounding The Farm of Ridgeway.

“Everyone will stay in their cars, and the sermon and music will be broadcast from the stage in the field into the car radios,” Pastor Erik Estep explained.

It’s all a little unconventional, but church members say they are adjusting to the new norm. They are still worshipping ‘together’ in a closeness the likes of which some say they have not felt previously. They listen to a sermon, sing songs, take communion and pray, connected digitally, but connected.

“It’s all different,” Briggs said, “but it’s still church.”