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PHOTO GALLERY: Deacons, drive-ins and deities

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PHOTO GALLERY: Deacons, drive-ins and deities

Columbia churches are finding workarounds to worship during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Boone County stay-at-home order.

Jim Abernathy, left, picks up communion

Jim Abernathy, left, picks up communion Friday at Forum Christian Church. Abernathy and his wife Melanie have been parishioners at Forum for 25 years. 

Forum Christian Church is providing communion wafers and grape juice Fridays through a pickup outside the church. Parishioners can drive up, talk to staff members volunteering outside and leave with enough communion for a few weeks of prayer, according to Leslie Potter, the early childhood children’s minister at Forum.

Leslie Potter, the early childhood children’s minister

Leslie Potter, the early childhood children’s minister at Forum Christian Church, puts out communion supplies Friday at Forum Christian Church. Forum is offering drive-thru communion pickup every Friday going forward, though each kit is expected to last a few weeks, Potter said. 

C2 Church also offered drive-through prayer services Sunday. Church staff, including lead pastors Jeremy & Darci Risner and communications director Megan Bode, met people at their cars and gave personalized prayers based on their shared intentions.

Forum Christian Church parishioner Melanie Abernathy

Forum Christian Church parishioner Melanie Abernathy, left, and administrative director Kim England talk Friday. Abernathy was picking up supplies to make prayer request cards to go into the pews when church returns to normal service. “We’ll have church again,” Abernathy said. “At some point.” 

“We have a wide demographic,” Bode said. “We have to ask, how can we reach these people in these age groups just using media? It’s sped up the rate at which people have had to come to grips with technology.”

Leslie Potter waves goodbye

Leslie Potter waves goodbye to a parishioner picking up communion Friday at Forum Christian Church. Administrative Director Kim England said that the intent of these pickups is to keep people from exposing themselves unnecessarily to COVID-19 by going to the grocery store or to a church service. “We just need to convince our older people to ask for help,” England said. 

Both C2 and Forum are encouraging their parishioners to practice social distancing and stay inside whenever possible. Forum’s website also now features a help form, where people can request assistance with transportation, errands, childcare and more. This was created specifically for the pandemic, administrative director Kim England said, but it will likely stick around after this crisis is over.

Joel Meiners, the leader of parking ministry

Joel Meiners, the leader of parking ministry at C2 Church, reinforces tape on a “Drive Thru Prayer” sign Sunday inside the church's lobby. Even though last week’s service was held during the snow, it brought about 20 cars to pray with C2 staff. This week, about 10 cars participated. 

Terry Williamson prays inside her car

Terry Williamson prays inside her car Sunday outside C2 Church. The first thing Williamson did upon arrival was thank her prayer partner, Communication Director Megan Bode, for the drive-thru prayer program and for the C2 community as a whole. “It was the highlight of my week,” Williamson said about in-person Sunday services. 

Megan Bode, left, and Katelyn Risner

Megan Bode, left, and Katelyn Risner, 15, load their B&B bagels with cream cheese Sunday at C2 Church. “Food and fellowship is what church is,” Bode said. “It doesn’t matter what age you are; everybody wants food.” 

C2 Church co-pastor Jeremy Risner

C2 Church co-pastor Jeremy Risner laughs with a parishioner during drive-through prayer Sunday outside of C2. The church has made a lot of changes since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Boone County, including providing meals for Columbia’s Demaret neighborhood and livestreaming Sunday’s service. 

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