Levittown Outdoor Worship Service
When the pandemic hit Bucks County, life changed considerably at The Salvation Army Levittown Corps. One of the biggest changes involved the closing of the chapel doors. Church members have been unable to attend services since the middle of March.
Captain Jessica Kelly, Commanding Corps Officer along with her husband Captain David, described how they have stayed connected with their congregation during the pandemic. “We do group talks where we keep up on each other’s lives and Zoom Bible studies. We have also been texting to keep up with people, especially our teens. We have a couple of teens who work in local businesses that were allowed to stay open, and some of our staff have gone to see them.”
They have also been holding worship services online at The Salvation Army Levittown Corps Facebook page, which have been generating a lot of views. “More people have tuned in than I would have thought,” remarked Captain Jessica. “So many families in our community check the Facebook page for our programs. Some of our congregation members are listening to the worship services, but so are many people from the community, including some of our Advisory Board members. I have been surprised by who is watching it. That’s been kind of a cool twist.”
This Sunday, June 28, The Salvation Army will be hosting in-person worship services outside. “We have a huge field behind the Corps building and we will be holding the service out there,” Captain Jessica explained. “We are asking everyone to bring masks and their own blanket or chair, spacing them six feet apart. We’re doing everything differently – instead of passing around the offering plate, we are going to have a special space where people can drop off their tithes either on the way in or out. We are trying to be as close to our normal as possible but tweak it to keep things safe.”
Captain Jessica has seen a definite increase in the need for emotional and spiritual care. “Our social services director has been spending more time counseling people than ever before. After someone calls initially to ask for help with rent or utilities, she spends a lot of time on the phone with people as they tell her what has been going on in their lives.”
These uncertain times have affected congregation members as well. “The depression and anxiety about everything going on - it’s been heavier,” said Captain Jessica. “On the flip side, people are way more interested in the Word. People who have not come to the Corps for two years are suddenly connecting again. I think people are more aware of each other than they ever have been because we have been isolated. Due to this, they are now interested in connecting. People are writing to us, saying ‘I want to help. I feel like I need to do something.’ I have people asking me deeper spiritual questions and wanting to connect and check on one another.
Reflecting on the positives that have come out of this situation, Captain Jessica remarked, “The pandemic has reprioritized a lot of things for people. My prayer is that as we move forward, we remember nobody is an island. We need each other. I am happily surprised at some of the things that have been brought out by this. I have come to meet neighbors I never would have met otherwise, because we’ve needed resources, we’ve needed each other, we’ve needed wisdom.”
Rene Simmons, a member of the congregation for over 21 years, misses the in-person worship services and the fellowship. “I think that’s important - the encouragement, the prayers, the hugs we give each other, and just seeing each other. I miss it a lot.” She has participated in the online Bible studies and is looking forward to attending the outdoor Sunday worship service.
“In Bible Study we are asking is God trying to tell us something?” Rene said. “Does He want us to slow down? Are we supposed to be listening? I know everything happens for a reason. I know there are a lot of people who are hurting money-wise because they are not getting unemployment or their stimulus check. People are going through some hard things. They could be evicted after the eviction hold is lifted. That is what worries me a lot – people getting back on their feet and not losing what they worked so hard for. I just give it to God, and I know He is going to work everything out.”
As the community begins the road to recovery, they can be assured The Salvation Army will walk with them every step of the way. The Salvation Army will always be in every community before, during, and after a crisis. The Salvation Army is here. Here. For Good. To give to The Salvation Army, please go to Here. For Good.