CNY churches in the news: In pandemic, prayer and worship continues

This spring, many of our church buildings are seeing in-person congregations for the first time in over a year. Three local reporters tell the story of how the pandemic is changing our prayer and worship.

WRVO’s Ellen Abbot interviewed Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe and other faith leaders for “Looking back: How the pandemic changed the way people pray.” From the story:

Episcopal Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe said the streamed services and online prayer groups have drawn more people to the faith and she doesn’t see a time where parishes go back to all in-person worship.

“I’ve encouraged priests and lay leaders to envision always having a hybrid option, so we can continue to be a ministry to people who have stepped forward and want to be a part of community,” Duncan-Probe said.

In Watertown, Chris Brock of the Watertown Daily Times tells the story of a phone ministry that has kept up connections through a difficult year: “In the spirit of Easter, Watertown woman finds a higher calling.” Trinity, Watertown parishioner Gail Butterfield calls church members on their birthdays and special anniversaries.

“Gail’s work — person-to-person connection — is at the heart of Easter Sunday’s message,” says [Trinity rector the Rev. Molly] Payne-Hardin said. “Because God became the person of Christ, died and was resurrected, we’re now able person-to-person to offer that everlasting hope and abiding love to all people.

The Rev. Philip Major, rector of St. Paul’s, Syracuse, spoke to Jaron May of Syracuse University’s NCC News for this story on how local churches are celebrating our second Easter in pandemic:

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