Religion and the Pandemic
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - This is the first in a small series taking a closer look at the steps local churches are taking to promote faith amid the restrictions on worship.
We're starting with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Gov. Sisolak is limiting the number of people who can meet for church to no more than 50 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Local congregations are adapting to these changes to continue meeting the spiritual needs of their members.
The Church of Jesus Christ was prepared for the pandemic before it hit. It launched a home based and family-centered study program called "Come Follow Me" in January of 2019.
It is complete with study guides on the gospel library app, which is available to anyone.
The Earl Family in northwest Reno graciously agreed to let our camera record a study session.
<22:50:00 Ryan Earl - Father><12 seconds>"How remarkable it is that the transition happened about 16, 17 months ago and here we are in the COVID environment. Where it's become really important," said Ryan Earl as he talked with his family during his home gospel study session.
His family is talking about the Book of Mormon and its teaching about prayer to God. Each year Church members study a new section of scripture. Last year members studied the life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the King James version of the New Testament.
"Just because you can say something it's the saying something, but not meaning it at all that makes it not good." said Ryan's wife, Cyndi Earl.
"You can be grateful, but is that all there is to a prayer? Just kind of listing everything you have. Even if it was given to you by God?" asked Ryan's son-in-law, Sam Garcia.
The lesson is an open discussion where questions are asked and anyone can answer encouraging personal spiritual growth.
“I love talking about the different people in the scriptures,” said daughter, Karsynn Earl.
"For the Church to emphasize this home centered focus and then have the pandemic hit is really prophetic in so many ways. That we were prepared for this that we were in the pattern of studying at home because this whole situation happened," Ryan said.
Church leaders say they are following all Gov. Sisolak's orders. They are rotating congregations to not exceed the 50 person limit, wearing masks, and social distancing.
In fact, Church leaders in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ stopped worship services out of an abundance of caution before Gov. Sisolak did.
The Church of Jesus Christ is also reaching outside its local congregations giving 40,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada in March, more than 37,000 pounds of food to Catholic Charities in May and assembling 1000 food boxes with the Salvation Army in May.
The Church service images in this broadcast report attached to this online report were captured before the pandemic and is the reason the people are not social distancing or wearing face masks as they are today.
If you would like us to feature your religious organization in this short series please have your leader contact Noah Bond at Noah.Bond@gray.tv.
KOLO 8 Evening Anchor Noah Bond is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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