Acadiana faith leaders adapt to virtual church services amid coronavirus pandemic


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The religious practices of hundreds of people in Acadiana are undergoing profound changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Faith leaders are adapting to the new normal in many ways. 

In the place of worship, the new normal is witnessing empty seating inside churches and more faith communities tuned-in online. 

The coronavirus outbreak has nearly every religious organization rethinking the way it holds worship services. 

“Hugs, and being close in contact with one another. It’s all about showing people love, but now we have to show them that in different ways,” said Pastor Larry Wilson with New Beginning Ministries. 
He has transitioned his services from less than 10 people inside to now everything streamed on Facebook Live

“More than ever, I think we’ve got to get the word out by any means,” said Wilson. “We’ve always had the opportunity to do this in different ways, but now we have to use it. Technology is here,” he added. 
He believes the pandemic is a true challenge between faith and fear, It’s something he’s tackling head-on, despite possibly losing engagement among his congregation. 
“The main thing about a relationship is building relationships. Relationships are personal, but now you have to do it through technology and it doesn’t make it personable anymore,” Wilson added. 
It’s truly becoming church without walls, which still comes with a price of losing most in-kind donations many faith leaders collect during normal services. 

New Beginning Ministries is ran solely on the donations from the community. “A lot of churches lease and don’t own their places. Depend on the congregation that come in to pay the tides and offerings, that way they can pay their bill,” said Wilson. 

” Now, you don’t have the people coming in and you’re wondering if you’ll be able to keep the church open,” he added.  
Despite those concerns, he’s not allowing it to stop him from uplifting the community during this unprecedented crisis. 

New Beginning Ministries will stream its services on Facebook on Sundays. 
Wilson along with other faith leaders across the state recently held a conference call with Governor John Bel Edwards to discuss these challenges. 
They plan to come together to find support and resources for one another, 

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