The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult over the past year to visit anyone’s house– including God’s. But as Easter services coincide with the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19, local United Methodist Church pastors said they have been happy with how they’ve navigated the past year. “If I had known we would be doing (this) for more than a year, I would have panicked,” said the The Rev. Linda Stephan, pastor of Williamston United Methodist Church. “Even though we can’t gather, we’ve just found all sorts of creative ways to do what we do … just do it differently than we’ve ever done it before.”
The Williamston United Methodist Church pre-records its sermons and has the videos premiere at 10 a.m., the time the sermon would normally start live. Chats with members and requests for prayers all happen through Facebook’s comment section.
CLOSINGS: Places of worship are closing as the proportion of Americans who formally belong drops. Factors include rising costs of maintenance and increased mobility that makes it easier for worshippers to pick and choose congregations. We talk to a St. Joseph pastor from the Southwestern Baptist Association and the Michigan Conference United Church of Christ. For faith and news sections. By Sheldon Krause, FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.
When Michigan’s governor issued a stay-at-home order in response to an exploding pandemic of a new variant of the coronavirus almost everything, including churches, shut down. “Immediately my thought went to how do we move forward?” said Pastor Chevez D. Marshall of Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Saginaw.
UNHOLY: The content and timing of a new film released on Good Friday is upsetting some people of faith in Michigan. The trailer for “Unholy” shows at statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding from her eyes, the main character of the movie performing a miracle by healing a parapalegic and a crucifix burning on the altar of a Roman Catholic church. The director says the film is respectful of religion. Two Catholic priests from East Lansing and the director of MSU’s Muslim Studies Program comment. For news and religion/faith sections. By Elaine Mallon. FOR ALL POINTS.
PRISON RAMADAN: Some Muslim prisoners find it difficult to observe the daytime fasting requirement of the holy month of Ramadan, which starts April 13. Two ex-inmates describe their experience. We also hear from the Corrections Department, the directors of MSU’s Muslim Studies Program and Civil Rights Clinic. By Brandon Chew. FOR COLDWATER, BLISSFIELD, MARQUETTE, IONIA, GREENVILLE, SAUL STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, DETROIT, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.
Members of Trinity Episcopal Church gathered in a socially distanced parking lot to continue a more than 60-year tradition. Despite the fears of COVID-19, longtime churchgoers weren’t going to let a pandemic get in the way of the celebration.
Courtesy of Grandville United Methodist ChurchGrandville United Methodist Church in Grandville, Michigan. If Christian churches can be boiled down to one steadfast purpose, it’s keeping the faith and spreading the word of God. When the COVID-19 pandemic halted the world and life as we know it, keeping the faith became more difficult, as thousands died from the virus, and spreading the word simply became harder to do without face-to-face interaction. But one pastor, in a small church, in a small town in Michigan, wouldn’t take no for an answer in either facet.
“This is something that most people of any age have not faced in their lifetime,” said Rev. Ryan Wieland of Grandville United Methodist Church. “People are stressed and overwhelmed.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces people to social distance from one another, religious institutions are working creatively to adapt tradition to suit health needs. Jewish, Catholic and Muslim religious leaders explain how they are adjusting services for members.
In this edition of Focal Point, the director of MSU Museums is suspended for keeping his sources under wraps. Vice President MIke Pence visits Lansing and things are heating up in the Democrats. Michigan’s primary is on March 10, and we speak with Lansing’s city clerk to learn about voting in the primary.