Inglewood churches adapt to coronavirus pandemic

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Churches in Inglewood are trying to work out how they will continue to provide for their communities while the stay-at-home order is in place. For many churches, that means transitioning to online services.

"We have suspended our in-person services, so we still do a Sunday service, it's essential personnel only," said Sherri James, senior minister at UP Church.

Historically, churches in black communities have been a place where physical contact is encouraged, but Pastor Phillip Lewis at New Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church said advocating for physical distance has been a priority.

"We're a very huggy-kissy church, and our people, I told them cross your heart and bow," Lewis said.

Bishop Ulmer of Faithful Central Bible Church said, "Our style of worship requires intimacy and connection and call and response and dialogue and somebody say, 'Amen,' and so we don't have that now," Bishop Kenneth Ulmer said.

Bishop Ulmer said his church plans to be online every week, even several times a week and Pastor Lewis has the same idea in mind.

"I'm going on Facebook every day and I'm putting a little morning meditation up," Lewis said.

This online-only shift that churches are having to make comes with its challenges. Depending on the size of the church those challenges can vary.

"So instead of talking to several thousand people, I'm talking to a camera," Ulmer said.

However, Ulmer said his church does have a lot of resources. Yet, smaller churches may not have as many resources.

"We are what would be considered a small church," James said. "One, that gives us the ability to be nimble because we're able to move as the situation demands, but on the other hand, we don't necessarily have the deep reserves that a bigger church would have."

None of the church leaders can say for certain what the future holds, but they say they are all ready to adapt to fit their community's needs.

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