Florida Church Handing out “Church-to-Go” Bags for Members to Hold Services at Home
The bags include a sermon, the weekly bulletin, and various other goodies.
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, has come up with a personalized way to keep congregants engaged during the coronavirus pandemic.
St. Alban’s “mostly older” congregation tops out at around 80 people in the wintertime. The priest in charge, Rev. Gigi Conner, describes it “a small church with a big heart.”
Recognizing that the majority of their members aren’t necessarily “Internet people,” Conner and a few helpers have been putting “Church-to-Go” bags together so members can hold their own church services at home while observing social distancing guidelines—no Zoom account required.
“Just drive through, hold down the window side and hand them the bag, and the plus side of that is we have a nanosecond to say ‘hey, you’re still alive, it’s great to see ya,’” Conner told WFTS.
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The Church-to-Go bags include that week’s sermon and bulletin. And “because we care about physical health as well as spiritual,” one week a roll of toilet paper was included. Another week it was a face mask. On Mother’s Day the bags featured flowers, a scone, and a teacup and tea bag.
“People feel connected,” Conner tells Southern Living of the impact the bags have had on St. Alban’s members. “I keep tab of who is picking up bags—so we actually know who has received communion. It gives parishioners an opportunity to tell me how they are doing.”
The lesson for this week’s sermon is “Keep My Commandments” (care for others). “I think we’ll be baking Martha Stewart Kitchen Sink cookies—with instructions that people will get one for themselves and one to give to someone else,” Conner notes.