SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The governor’s plan to reopen Missouri allows for churches to gather with some restrictions after the last few months of adjusting to the pandemic.
The Venues, a local church in Springfield, says they’re excited to get back to worship when things die down a bit. But even though they may be allowed to gather, they likely won’t for at least a month.
The church has moved fully online for all its services and even including content for kids and families.
The Venues associate pastor Ben Stringer says going online has added some new challenges that have helped many people during this time including meditations and bedtime stories.
“My expectation is that we will not have service at church for the remainder of May if those are the parameters that our health officials are telling us we should follow for at least another month,” said Stringer.
But it hasn’t been without its struggles of not meeting in person and getting that human connection.
Stringer says though they’re excited to gather in person, they likely won’t through the end of May because of the social distancing requirement.
“Even though we’re being told that we can gather, the way that this is being done in phases means we still have to be socially distant,” said Stringer. “Personally, and I think as we’ve discussed as a staff, it doesn’t seem realistic to expect hundreds of people to come together in an auditorium and in a building where the purpose is literally to congregate and ask everyone to remain 6 feet apart at all times.”
Since the stay-at-home order, The Venues has been fully online for all its services.
“Personally, I don’t find it as connective,” said Stringer. “There are things about it that just can’t replace being live and in person and seeing people and hugging people and looking people in the face. It stretches you and challenges you to have to do that in a different way and while that’s painful and I don’t want to do it forever like this, in some ways, it’s been good.”
Cities can make stricter guidelines when it comes to reopening.