Oklahoma church keeps focus on community amid pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has not changed the focus of Guymon Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma.
On 22 March, the church shifted its worship service to a drive-in format. In cooperation with KKBS 92.7 FM, a local radio station, they broadcasted the service live from the church parking lot while simultaneously live-streaming it on Facebook. The pastor and worship team led from under the carport.
The parking lot is full every week, and when they want to pass the peace or want to say “Amen!” they honk their horns. On Palm Sunday, every car entering the parking lot was given palm branches, and at the end of the service, the youth pastor led an impromptu Palm Sunday parade around town with everyone waving their palms out their car windows.
While they’ve done what they can to continue meeting together as safely as possible, they have opened up a couple of new things for the community to participate in throughout the week.
“We set up prayer stations around the church and an outdoor prayer wall for people to post their prayer requests,” said Angela Walker, the worship pastor at the church. “Our pastors are creating videos daily to lead our community in worship and times of devotion, and they’re shared on Facebook and the church website. To keep our community connected, we’re issuing virtual challenges every week.
Many in Guymon have lost jobs or are unable to work due to stores and businesses temporarily closing or suspending in-store service. So the church decided to set up an exchange in the front entry of their building. Shelves in the entryway are loaded with formula, diapers, non-perishable goods, and toilet paper.
“People are encouraged to give what they can and take what they need,” Walker said. “If we don’t have something that’s needed, we let our congregation and community know, and within a few hours, the need is provided.”