We asked local pastors how their church is handling the coronavirus and their own approach.

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Editor’s note: We asked local pastors how their church is handling the coronavirus and their own approach. Meet James Ross, the lead pastor at First Baptist Church on Bayshore.

What is your church doing to accommodate for social distancing?

We have canceled all on-campus activities, including Sunday Worship until we are hearing from government leaders that it is safe to begin lifting those restrictions.

Our staff is working remotely as much as possible. Our office is closed physically even though we can reached via phone or e-mail.

Our worship services are online and most of our groups are having a bible study via Zoom or Facebook.

We are checking in weekly with our senior adults and homebound members to see if they have any additional needs.

We will not be having an in person worship service on Easter Sunday, which for many will be disappointing, but Easter is really not a big deal, it is a man-made holiday. The Resurrection of Christ is a big deal and since the inception of the Church that has been something that we celebrate every Sunday!

What to you think people can do to maintain their faith during this time of uncertainty?

We have always been people whose faith is in a resurrected savior promising us hope even in death. This is an opportunity to press into that that belief and have peace and comfort in God.

This is also an opportunity evaluate what about our life was not in line with where it should be: Are we taking the time to spend in prayer and reading the Bible? Are we having spiritual conversations with our family? Are we spending time with them around the dinner table? Do we value our friendships with other believers enough to connect virtually for a Bible study even though we cannot meet at a building or even in homes during this time?

Many churches, including ours, are providing a lot of opportunities online to be connected and be poured into spiritually.

What are you personally doing to strengthen your own faith?

I typically spend the first minutes of every day in the Bible and in prayer. The uncertainty of what the coming months hold has definitely caused me evaluate my life and to double-down on the fact that the direction that God has taken me in life is the path I should continue down regardless of the circumstances.

Is there a Bible verse or passage you recommend at this time?

Romans 8:38-39 "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.“