Religion On The Radio

First Baptist Church cancelled its congregational worship service Sunday morning as a coronavirus precaution, but did not cancel its broadcast over KULP. The service was moved to the KULP studio. Pictured are (l-r) Scotty Swingler, associate pastor; Rick DuBroc, pastor; Steve Lyford, children’s pastor; and Ambree Meek, vocalist and Swingler’s fiancé. Far left, out of the photo, is Chris Skinner, music director.

Some El Campo-area churches are continuing to meet in creative ways after Governor Greg Abbott restricted public gatherings to less than ten people.

New Covenant Church of El Campo leaders typically post recordings of their services on the church’s social media. Services are held Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, and church members are tagged in posts to let them know when a service will be streamed live Online.

“We all get on there and try to just teach a lesson for that service,” Pastor Larry Martinez said.

Sunday services at First Baptist Church are recorded and posted on Youtube and played on KULP El Campo radio at 11 a.m.

“That is such an easy way to tune in,” Assistant Pastor Scotty Swingler said. “Every once in awhile, I’ll talk to somebody who is like, ‘I do not want to use the Internet.’”

Church leaders at First Baptist plan to host bible study and other classes through an app where members can video chat.

The 100-member New Covenant Church is unable to continue planned gatherings.

“Our church was supposed to be celebrating a church anniversary this coming weekend, which was going to make five years, but we had to postpone all of it,” Martinez said.

To help locals economically affected by the Coronavirus, First Baptist Church leaders established a Coronavirus Relief Fund.

“We delivered some food to a handful of families last week who needed help, and I think we’re going to do the same thing this week,” Swingler said. “We’re just trying to help out families whether they’re off their jobs, or they rely on the schools to feed their kids or whatever.”

To donate to the fund, visit Firstelcampo.org and find the fund under the “Giving” tab. All donations to the fund go toward Coronavirus relief, Swingler said.

Churches are not immune, however, to potential financial hardship incurred from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I would just encourage the community, if they attend a local church … just to continue to be a faithful supporter financially (and) prayer-wise, because not only are people being affected personally, but churches are financially,” Martinez said.

Martinez and Swingler had advice for those struggling to cope with changes during this time.

“Know what’s going on with this virus and how it’s affecting our nation and our community,” Martinez said. “(Draw) close to the Lord, (spend) time in His word and just remember that He’s with (us) and He doesn’t want us to have fear.”

“Call your friends,” Swingler said. “Call your family. Check in on people. Let those relationships really flourish. When we get out of this, we’re going to realize how much we’ve undervalued some of those relationships and interactions.”

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