Places of Worship Finding Ways to Gather During COVID-19

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Efrain Aguirre, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Churches and religious groups are working around social distancing, so they can continue to spread their message of faith in these difficult times.

Churches like Gateway Church, The Church at Visalia, and Radiant Church are offering services online. Praise Center Church proudly displayed this message of hope on its main website page, “We’re so grateful for technology that allows us to continue to have church online and know that God will still meet us as we worship together!”

It is not only Christian churches that are transitioning to online services. Congregation B’nai David, a Jewish synagogue here in Visalia, has also been impacted by social distancing protocols. “We have cancelled all in-person services and our Sunday religious school for over one month now.” says Alex Lechtman,President of Congregation B’nai David “Our Student Rabbi, who comes up from Los Angeles once a month, led our most recent Passover Seder via Zoom and it was a big hit.  Some of our Lay Leaders are starting to put together Zoom Friday night services. Right now, we’re not planning on reintroducing in-person services or school until September but we’ll see.” He also has this message of hope in these trying time, 

“The Jewish Religion is a religion of hope in the face of adversity.  Since Sinai, we have endeavored to make our world a better place, so this trial is similar to what we’ve faced in the past with some modern twists.  We have found it very enjoyable to use the internet to see everyone and make contact with those we can’t see in person.  While a square on a computer screen is not the same as a big hug, we’ll make do till such time as we can share our time together.”

Additionally, the Muslim religion is being affected as Masjid Visalia, a Muslim mosque in Visalia, has closed until further notice. This closure comes just as the practice of Ramadan, the month long Muslim holiday marked where Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset, has just begun. 

 These churches and religious groups are managing to keep the message of hope and prosperity alive. The idea that we will get through this pandemic and, even though we can not physically gather, we can still be a part of a community.