Big gatherings of folks are kind of out these days because of the coronavirus outbreak, which means simple things like attending weekly church services aren't so simple.
Some churches in Pauls Valley plan to make services and even smaller Bible studies available online, while other spots in town are doing a little bit of both.
That's the case at Christian Life Church where Neil Barlow says members are invited to come to the services or watch online.
“We didn't want to close services completely,” Barlow said.
“There are some people that might not feel comfortable coming with the virus, so we'll also have it on Facebook live. We wanted them to have a choice.”
He adds the online streaming will even include the church's Bible studies.
A number of local churches are planning to go strictly online during this virus threat impacting in-person attendance for events of all kinds.
Dwayne Johnson says Trinity Baptist Church will have live streaming of the 10:55 a.m. Sunday morning services starting March 22 on the church's Facebook page.
The plan is to also suspend the church's Wednesday and Sunday night activities.
“We are encouraging our members to keep staff informed of those in the community that need assistance,” Johnson said.
“We have volunteers who will go to the store for individuals or pick up medications for those who cannot or should not get out. We are looking for ways we can assist members of our community during these challenging and ever changing times.”
Johnson adds any changes will be updated on the church's website.
The First United Methodist Church in PV plans to stream its 10:50 a.m. Sunday services on its Facebook page for at least the next couple of Sundays.
Church officials say it will be full service, complete with music, a children's time, prayer, scripture and a message, being streamed with only a small group of people there but no audience.
The church's regular Sunday school and any other activities have been canceled for now.
Also streaming on its Facebook page is The House located west of PV on Airline Road. The Sunday morning service is 10 a.m.
It's a similar story for Crossroads Church as plans are to stream services the next two Sundays.
Pastor Brock Carlile says services can be watched live at Facebook.com/CrossroadsPV or an upload can be viewed at a later time by visiting the website www.CrossroadsPV.Church or by searching Crossroads Church Pauls Valley on YouTube.com.
He adds all midweek activities are canceled for the remainder of March as the church will assess the next step at that time.
Andy Davidson said Valley Life Church won't have actual services the next couple of Sundays as he instead will use Facebook to stream a message at 10:30 a.m. each time.
Davidson adds 100 percent of any donations given to the church during this time will be used to benefit local families in need.
Bruce Ford of The Ekklesia, located in the former Cornerstone Church at 309 East Charles, is moving forward with its regular activities, including 9:45 a.m. Sunday school, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. services on Sunday and weekday services at 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
“I've talked to my congregation,” Ford said. “I trust in God and understand it's a serious situation, but for me and my family, we'll be there.
“I don't hear God saying stay home and be fearful. I'll follow God's leading and do what we normally do. We're just going to do what we do.”
He adds the church plans to continue regular services until health experts advise otherwise.
Also planning to hold regular in-person services is PV's First Church of God.
Jeremy Clayton said the church's board has decided to offer the 10:45 a.m. worship services this Sunday. However, there will be no Sunday school or regular weekly activities.
“We are taking this situation very seriously, however, we also see the need to provide a weekly gathering for the church,” Clayton said, adding they will practice social distancing with no handshakes or hugs and hand sanitizer being available throughout the building.
“We do not have a live broadcast of our services, and even if we did, most of our members do not have the capacity to connect with us in that manner. We continue to monitor the situation in our area and will adjust our services accordingly.”
A couple of churches planning to hold no public services this weekend are the St. Catherine of Siena parish and Pauls Valley Church of Christ.
Hopes are to have an online mass in English available by 9 a.m. Sunday at St. Catherine.
Church of Christ officials said there was a lot of discussion and prayer before it was decided to cancel all church services and activities through March 29.
They stress the decision was “driven by love, not fear.”