Lehighton church opens doors for first time in 2 months
Bethany E.C. Church in Lehighton may have just opened the doors to their church, but according to the Rev. Timothy Ream, it never feels like they closed.
On Sunday, Pastor Tim welcomed his congregation to his physical location for the first time two months, but also made sure to include his online watchers who chose to continue to participate from home.
“In some ways it feels like we’ve been apart forever, and in others, like we were never apart,” he said after conducting his service.
While state restrictions have prevented him and his congregation to meet inside of the church building, he made sure to keep in touch with his congregation. One way everyone stayed in touch was during two “Just Show Up” events where he and his wife Pamela Ream met with small groups for ice-cream as they enjoyed a socially distanced snack together.
The church has also been livestreaming their services on Facebook, posting weekly service on YouTube, and updating their weekly newsletter. They’ve also implemented Zoom sessions for their prayer meetings and bible studies.
During his service, Ream said he hopes the pandemic helps people to realize that they don’t need to be inside of a church or worshipping on a specific day of the week to be with the Lord. He says he hopes those hearing his message have used this free time to be with themselves and with Jesus Christ.
Ream and his wife were concerned about everyone’s first day back, but reported that they had a great turn out and everyone adapted well to the current protocols. Pamela said that she’s encouraged by the number of people who attended both in person and electronically.
One churchgoer who attended the in-person service, Georgine Esrang of Lehighton, said she was happy to be back.
“Even though you can worship from anywhere, I was happy to be singing with the others,” Esrang said. “I’ll be happy to take (the masks) off soon, though!”
Ream said he’s had some memorable times online, such as virtually celebrating Easter with his congregation, and later said he’s proud of the people that were willing to stretch themselves to learn new technologies like Zoom to be able to participate in service online.
Throughout all of his efforts, Ream has wanted to share one main message to those listening.
“My main goal (has been and) was the same as every week- to help people have an encounter with Jesus Christ.”