St. James Church Finds New Ways to Connect with Children and Youth Amid Coronavirus Church Closures
St. James Episcopal Church continues to minister to their home bound members mixing new technology with traditional worship and liturgy. Although church services have been cancelled, Nancy Eubanks, the Director of Christian Education, continues teaching online with her Children’s Church via YouTube with discussion questions for the whole family to participate. Eubanks is also utilizing at home games like an Outdoor Bible Scavenger Hunt and an online meeting webinar platform to keep children active in their bible discussions. Children are also able to volunteer to write notes of encouragement and love to older parishioners who are ill or are sheltering in place. Parents and children have been grateful for the online lessons provided by the church.
“Seeing our beloved Ms. Eubanks and her warmth permeating the internet in her Sunday morning video was reassuring to my daughter and also gave her a sense of connection and normalcy to her Sunday,” said Cynthia Roberts, a member at St. James. “I even shared the video with a friend whose church did not have a children’s program online.”
The youth program at St. James continues to thrive online with trivia games and bible study on video chat.
“We did trivia with mostly youth and some families joined in,” said Matthew Bowers, Director of Youth Ministries. “There was a ton of laughter and energy, I think they are just craving socialization. It’s honestly not that different than regular youth group, except the youth aren’t in the room.”
St. James church is no stranger to church closures. On its 175th year, the church was temporarily closed and converted into a Confederate hospital during the Civil War. In 1964, the church was shuttered due to fire and reopened two years later. This Sunday, the church will live broadcast their 10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist via Facebook Live for the first time.
“Even though we can’t be together right now, the love and support from our church body is with us. We are blessed,” said Adina Ayala, a member at St. James.