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Local churches stepping up to help Beaufort County community

In the midst of pandemic, local churches are stepping up to help calm the hearts and minds of Beaufort County residents.

Food drives, online church services, delivering goods to nurses and doctors working at local hospitals, have all been taking place during the COVID-19 threat that has distanced many folks from their everyday jobs and lives.

While some folks are hunkered down in their homes, a large number of churches have made live streams available for their congregations to watch on Sunday mornings.

Daniel Haskett. pastor of Washington Assembly of God, said they’ve been live streaming services for a few years. Now, it is as important as ever to stay connected to their church families.

“It’s a difficult call (not being in the building for church services), but we want to be respectful of our leaders both locally and nationally by doing the responsible thing. This is a way we can meet the spiritual needs of our body and our congregation, while being within the guidelines of what our local and national leaders are asking us to do,” Haskett said. “People are scared and concerned. We want to be able to provide a positive voice for people when they’re discouraged. Even people that aren’t a part of our church or never been to a church, will come across the live stream and will want to come in for a church service. We’re hoping this is an opportunity for the gospel to continue to advance even in the midst of a difficult circumstance.”

The folks at Washington Assembly have put together care packages of snacks, goodies and cards with encouraging messages for those at Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington for their hard work, while many residents are working from home.

Jason Kirkman, pastor of Haw Branch Church of Christ, accredited social media as a blessing because it is a way to stay in contact with church families.

“One of the blessings of it being the year 2020 is the way we can communicate now. Twenty to 25 years ago, social media and text messaging wasn’t available. We’ve done some periodical video announcements, and then, of course, on Sunday mornings we’ve been doing a Facebook Live sermon. We haven’t done any live praise and worship with our band yet, but that’s hopefully going to change here this Sunday,” Kirkman said. “This Sunday, we’re going to try a drive-in church service at 10:30 a.m. We’re still working things out, but everyone will remain in their vehicles. We’re going to have praise and worship, communion and preaching. We need to try something different. What this has made us do is think outside the box with the limitations that have been given to us. We talked to some local officials, and they gave us the OK.”

Pastor Ken Hall at First United Methodist Church also explained that they are doing live announcements and streams as well.

“We’ve been sending out weekly communication. Secondly, my associate Stephen Bazan and I are taking turns doing online worship services for Sunday mornings, posting on YouTube and putting the link on our church page to the service,” Hall said. “We’ve got our folks in the office working the phones, calling our membership, checking on them all to see how they’re doing and if they need anything. … If this is a prolonged situation, we’ll look to expand our ways of communication. We need to continue to be the community that we were called to be, and we have to remind our people that we’re going to win this thing in the end.”