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Keep the Faith

Pastoring During COVID Times

Article by Kathy Pinto

Photography by Poppy & Co.

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Now more than ever, people experiencing fear and anxiety during these challenging times are increasingly turning to their religious leaders for Inspiration and guidance.

Pastors are being challenged on how to lead a congregation when they can’t assemble together, and how to keep the faith and inspire their members.

We’ve asked our local faith leaders to share their thoughts and reflections on the challenges they face.  And, more importantly, how they are adapting to the new reality. 



Do you feel the pandemic has put you into a higher level of leadership and demanded more of you?  

Absolutely. The amount of changes occurring in all of our churches has been greater in the last eight months than in the previous eight years.  

With all of these constraints, how are you keeping the faith and inspiring your congregation?

The challenge is gathering people together in new ways that keeps them physically safe but also allows for that personal connection we all need.  

Over the summer we offered “church online” and also what we called “church together” where we hosted worship services outside on our property. We believe that an important part of maintaining strong emotional, spiritual and mental health is to have people get together.  

Your congregation’s needs and how you are adapting and coping.

At Cornerstone the primary needs have all been around relationships and connection. People are feeling disconnected at a profound level that we have not seen before, and they are dealing with new levels of loneliness and isolation. Added to some of the common struggles people have—like anxiety, depression and anger—and you have an increasing crisis.

Saying that, the smile of a friend over Zoom, praying together, getting your kids together, or reaching out to a neighbor in need, is good for the soul. In some ways, I would say COVID has brought out a lot of innovation but also emphasized the importance of basics to our faith.

Define your church’s importance to the community you serve. 

We believe that healthy communities have healthy churches that cultivate the life of Jesus. At Cornerstone we are a multi-generational community made up of people from all the Christian traditions along with people from every background. Our efforts together are about connecting people to the things in life that matter most. 

For us that means cultivating a life with God, a life together with others, a life of wholeness and health, and lastly a life of purpose and generosity. Additionally, we’ve worked really hard over the last 15 years to become a partner to our community outside our church walls. Our efforts have us serving with our local public schools, caring for neighbors, and partnering with other non-profits in the county to serve the disadvantaged.

Are people still coming together?

Most people don't prefer going to church on the couch... well maybe some do. And limiting capacity, wearing masks and distancing in our building is not everyone’s favorite.  

But people seem to be getting past these barriers and are working to stay connected and integrated. And we continue to see people joining in our community through our online services, along with a healthy participation in our in-person gatherings.


This pandemic has deepened my understanding of the importance of the mission to which God has called me. I feel that He has prepared me to be at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish at this particular time.

By spending time in prayer and with the Word of God, I find that God inspires the words of hope and consolation that He desires His people to hear.

The congregation needs to know that God loves them more than they realize and that He is closer to them than they are to themselves. We use all means possible including social media to share this Good News.

In a world of anxiety and fear, the parish community brings God's presence to bring hope in the midst of the darkness.

We have witnessed the action of God bringing some to pray more, others to reflect more on the meaning of their lives, and to appreciate more the spiritual need for communion with God and each other.

— Father Mark Kovacik, Pastor



As Director of Family Care at Second Baptist Church, Boulder we are reaching out in a number of ways to keep our congregation connected during the current health crisis.  

We are making every effort to communicate through as many avenues as possible, including direct mail, cards, letters, phone calls, and house calls. As anyone can imagine, during this pandemic we have had to be creative in finding ways to connect with our precious members.  

It has been a challenge and a stretch of faith to keep everyone connected. So far, by our fervent prayers, we have been able to join each other on Zoom, Facebook Live, and conference calls weekly. Our members are always so blessed when we are in touch with them.  

We are following the mandated guidelines by the city, county and state departments of Health and Human Services. We remain hopeful that everyone is adapting and coping in the season.  

— Minister Glenda Strong Robinson



We continue to pray God’s blessings on everyone.  

We have always been a small and welcoming congregation, meeting for worship every other week and holidays. We have created intimacy through open ended exploration of our shared values and textual tradition, and shared food. 

With the advent of the coronavirus, we immediately shifted to Zoom, and increased our frequency to weekly gatherings. We follow the unfolding of one another’s lives, encouraging weekly check-ins alongside our worship and study. 

We have discovered the gifts of this unusual and stressful time. Elders in our congregation who were not able to join us in our sanctuary in recent years, are now able to fully participate from the safety of their homes. We have made a commitment to “zoom them in” even after we are able to return to meeting in person.

During our High Holy Days this year we were delighted to see that many friends and family, past congregants and students all over the world, literally, were able to share in the holiday services with us thanks to the Zoom platform. This was a great blessing for us, the rabbis, and for our local congregation.

We are all exercising a new muscle—one that defines and nurtures relationships and spiritual community in whole new ways. While we wouldn’t have chosen this, given an option, we are meeting this moment in time with grace and loving concern for our fellows.

— Rabbi Nadya Gross



Sts. Peter & Paul was just days from entering the Lenten holy season of the church year back in March when the church doors were closed. For Orthodox Christians, Great Lent, Holy Week, and the Easter Resurrection Services are the most beloved of services. 

It is difficult to explain how parishioners felt when they were not allowed to attend services—with the exception of one priest, one chanter, one acolyte, and one person live-streaming the services. 

Our parish is blessed to have a few faithful from Greece, Romania, Middle East and Russia. This handful of immigrants has experienced first hand having their church taken away from them at the hands of dictators, communist regimes, and civil war. They have been an inspiration and faithful example for our parish.

Since June we are allowed to have 40-45 faithful participate in the services. A Sunday service before COVID would have 100-150 faithful participating. We continue to live-stream the Sunday service, and offer services Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and during the week. The church is open to light a candle and offer a prayer. 

A handful of parishioners offer an outdoor coffee hour Sunday fellowship. This will continue in the winter season with a beverage and pastry ‘to go.’ Sunday school has been moved to Saturday evening. These little things are helping the parish family stay connected.

Care packages with baked goods and Holy Bread are being delivered to our shut-ins on a weekly basis. My goal is to visit every parishioner by the end of the year with a church care package.  

The silver lining during these COVID times is a renewed sense of community. Parishioners miss being together. I pray for every parishioner at every weekday service—and in a special way feel closer to them. I believe we will navigate our way through this difficult time, and come together stronger. It will be the best family reunion filled with tears of joy.

— Father Jordan Brown, Proistamenos



During Advent we light candles. On Christmas Eve the sanctuary is full of a thousand points of light as we sing Silent Night. Not this year. In this pandemic light has appeared all around us.

Throughout the congregation:  Old and young, women and men are living with courage, and hope, and even joy in this moment.  It is teaching me. It is reminding me that the stories of the Bible did not stop when the book went to press but are continuing to be written before us, by us.

What does it look like to be the Church in the moment? Young people are reminded what gifts they have. Old folks share their dreams. And it soars. On mighty wings.

First Church has stood at the intersection of public life and faith for 160 years (and we aren’t even tired!).  Our light shines brightly even in this night.

— Rev. Michael Mather

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