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PRINCETON — The governor’s shelter-in-place order has forced churches to put a halt on hosting services inside church buildings. In response, many churches are instead staying connected with members through online live-streaming.

Whether through Facebook or YouTube, churches everywhere are figuring a way to provide spiritual messages to members during a time of need.

First United Methodist Church provided its first internet worship last Sunday via Facebook Live.

The Rev. Ryan Sutton said it was well received.

“People were excited to connect with the church, even if they couldn’t be in a church building. We plan to continue to use this method in the future,” he said. “We also hope to expand the reach of our ministries outside the church building while providing spiritual help to our congregation.”

Kelly Davis, youth director, said it’s a huge thing to still be able to connect spiritually with people.

“To be able to do it in such an effective way is so cool, and others trying to do the same thing is really inspiring,” she said. “We’ve wanted to go live for a while, and this kind of moved us in a direction we already want to go.”

Davis said those not connected to the internet can still get a physical DVD copy of the recorded service.

“The important thing is, church doesn’t just happen in a pew. The building is a symbol we use to help us get in that mode. Being online still gives people that mode to get connected,” she said.

To connect this Sunday, visit First United Methodist Church of Prince­ton’s Facebook page and watch for the live streaming.

The Evangelical Covenant Church of Princeton is also live-streaming its services on Facebook during the coronavirus crisis.

The Rev. Derek Boggs, with the help of his wife, Jessica, live-streamed from their basement last Sunday and plan to do so again this weekend.

Boggs said he’s figured out one technological difficulty experienced last week and hopes to provide a better viewing experience for people this week on the church’s Facebook page.

Boggs said it’s a “stripped down service” but he and Jessica are able to provide music and a much needed message to viewers.

“I think a lot of people are looking for messages of hope and comfort and just some connection during a very lonely time,” he said. “These moments of national crisis, they serve as a wake-up call for all of us, I think, in terms of our priorities in life and the kinds of things we turn to for security, comfort and identity. A lot of people have had those stripped away and it’s unsettling and frustrating, and it can breed anxiety and fear. So, we really need to pay attention to who we are spiritually and find other sources of deeper comfort that are not as easily shaken.“

For those who don’t have the internet, the church will continue to broadcast its service on WZOE at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.

Boggs said the church is also trying to keep someone in the office during business hours to take calls from the community for anyone needing to reach out for help.

“Every crisis is also an opportunity to pay attention to things we maybe have ignored or forgotten, and I encourage people to pay attention to the simple things in life and to the needs of people around them they may have not been as aware of in the past,” he said.

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