Home | Stories of How BGAV Churches Are Responding to COVID-19 in Their Communities

Stories of How BGAV Churches Are Responding to COVID-19 in Their Communities

BGAV churches and groups all across the Commonwealth and beyond are being the Church outside their traditional walls during this time of isolation—responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some of the stories we’ve received so far. To share what your church is doing, please complete this brief form to send it to us. Your story can be an inspiration and encouragement to others!
Generally speaking, Capital Region churches have been using a variety of live- streaming formats, YouTube postings and “drive-in” formats for their worship services and Holy Week services. Bible Study small groups have utilized Zoom calls. Overall, churches have proved to be very flexible and resilient in these difficult times and many have reported enormous views that far exceed their normal attendance and as online giving is catching on some churches are reporting offerings from all over the U.S. and even the world!

The following is a brief highlight of some Capital Region churches have been doing:

We reorganized our staff into four teams which are congruent with our mission. Love (Sundays and Care), Grow (Discipleship), Reach out (Outreach), and Communication/Administration.

Thanks to help from the BGAV, Sundays are digital – a combination of live and prerecorded. Care – we mapped out groups of people who need extra attention and connection (older and vulnerable saints, medical professionals, business owners). We’re connecting with these individuals and looking for ways to meet tangible needs. This week we were able to drop off care packages for some of our nurses. Our discipleship/grow team has been putting out scripture and content guides which pair with our Sunday teachings, along with other spiritual formation tools. The grow team also reorganized our small groups into micro groups – everyone who was in a small group before, now has two to three other people they are directly connected to throughout the week. Our outreach team is delivering groceries and running our Connecting Point ministry; we also teamed up with another ministry to care for needs in the College Hill community. And the admin/com’s team is helping us sustain the work and get the Word out!

There’s a lot going on. We’re a little tired, but grateful for God’s provision and presence in this time.

Andrew Moroz
Gospel Community Church
Lynchburg, VA

What a challenge this has been for us all! Within a matter of days, we shifted from the familiar rituals and activities of our congregation to new technologies, new publications, new social distancing, and new ways of living our lives.
We are now settling into a new normal. However, even as we adapted, we shopped for more than enough food for ChristWalk, we supported our church financially, and we’re making masks to give away to others.

We are now doing something old, but with a new twist.

Candles* are now lighting our sanctuary windows 7 days a week, 24 hours a day — a reminder of the Light of God in the midst of the darkness.
Let me suggest that you unpack your Christmas candles, and put them in your own windows as a testimony to the Light of God in our midst. Just as the sacred candlestick burned in the Temple as a symbol of the Light of God, our candles can shine their light into our community.
This simple gesture of hope will remind us all that Christ is in our midst, just as He was on that Resurrection Sunday.
Put candles in your windows and ask others to join us in this symbolic act….we’re in this together, but we’re not alone!

We are making masks at Chatham Baptist Church. Now, that’s probably not new, but Debbie found a pattern which is a non-sewing pattern. The masks are made from industrial shop towels (reinforced paper), blue masking tape, and rubber bands. They cost about $0.10/ea to make and are reusable (but probably not washable). These are not for medical use, but for personal use like going to the store, etc. Debbie made a video instruction we posted on the church account on YouTube. Here’s the link.

We spent $100 on materials to make 1,000 masks and have distributed mask-making kits to several of our folks who are making masks for their families, neighbors, and our church members.

We’re also doing our ChristWalk bag-of-groceries distribution on the last sunday of each month.

*We’re using LED bulbs, so the electrical usage is minimal.

Chuck Warnock
Chatham Baptist Church
Chatham, VA

We are in an age of new things. With the need to social distance ourselves we also have to find creative ways to stay connected. This weekend, I had my first funeral since the distancing started. Before the funeral I wanted to speak with David Storke, funeral director in Bowling Green, VA, to see if he had any suggestions on how we could be creative in allowing others in our church to pay last respects and support the mourning family. The result was to have church members and friends to park in the church parking lot while a small gathering of family met in the church sanctuary. The message was sent out through an FM signal so all present could hear. As the service began I ask everyone who could hear in the parking lot to honk their horn. The small gathering of family and I could hear them loud and clear. It was a great comfort to the family to know they were not alone. After the service, the family gathered on the front porch of the church and everyone in the parking lot was able to drive by and give condolences to the family. It was one of the most moving funerals I have ever attended. Thanks David Storke and staff of Storke Funeral Home for making this possible for this mourning family. And thanks to everyone who came out in support.

David Williamson
County Line Baptist Church
Powhatan, VA

One way I have found to minister to my congregation is by making drive-by visits. I simply drive to a church member’s house and make a visit from a distance. I don’t go in, and I don’t touch anyone. These are quick, 2-3 minute visits. Sometimes I leave a gift (like strawberries) on their doorstep and then call them and tell them I have left them a gift. My church family appreciates the visits. I feel connected to my congregation while being safe.

Jerry Stanfield
Childrey Baptist Church
Nathalie, VA

This is Mount Tabor Baptist Church in Keeling, VA. We are out in the county with no Internet service, so we are recording the messages for Wednesday Bible Study, Sunday morning Bible Study, and Sunday morning message. We then put the messages on Facebook to be released at the times that normally the message would be heard. You can also find the link to our Facebook page though our web site at www.mtbc1869.org We do have a problem with video not having audio on Apple products, but have found a way around that. As long as you open Facebook book in a browser and not a Facebook app, then it works.

For members who do not have computers we provide DVDs or CDs of the messages.

Lee Harris
Mount Tabor Baptist Church
Keeling, VA

Rev. Steve Zimmerman, Interim Pastor at Greenpond Baptist in Chatham, was visiting homebound before the pandemic. He then began to call them. A few weeks ago, he decided to do something more personal. He would show up in the driveway, call them to come out to the front porch, and have a conversation at a distance. He got so much feedback that he continues this tradition every Sunday with a different group: deacons, the Pastor Search Committee and others. They also send a hard copy of his sermon and prayer list to people who have no internet options.

Steve Zimmerman
Greenpond Baptist Church
Chatham, VA

We just had our dinner church drive-thru last night in our Graceland parking lot! Normally we meet in our building’s fellowship hall but God showed us a new way of reaching out to our community with a meal from one of our local restaurants. It was a great opportunity to help this local restaurant as well as we were able to give out 26 pizzas, packaged salad mix, and packaged deserts to about 30 folks that mostly come to our food pantry and are a big part of our dinner church . Also, we gave them some spiritual food as well with handouts of our Jesus Story that included scripture and some reflections from the Great Banquet parable in Luke 14. Several cars as they received their meal, we had opportunity to pray specific prayers for and with them from the distance… It was such a HUGE BLESSING FOR EVERYONE!!!! … We heard many thank you’s and very kind words of encouragement coming from the folks in the cars. Of course, that is not the reason we do this; it’s simply to bless, to show our care, and most of all share Jesus’s LOVE with them. One person commented ” I just knew you all would make lemonade out of lemons”!!! Our team of 10 (who were all masked and gloved up) came away with a special blessing to as we loved on our community!!!

Greg LeMaster
Graceland Baptist Church
Powhatan, VA

Stevens Memorial Baptist Church, Newport News Virginia, is working to build and maintain a supportive relationship with our neighborhood school, McIntosh Elementary. All students attending McIntosh Elementary School receive free lunches. During COVID 19, schools closed for the remainder of the school year, and we realized that many McIntosh families may be stressed about providing meals for their children. A grant opportunity through the BGAV, provided funding for Stevens Church to assist by providing Food Lion gift cards for McIntosh families. Twenty five overwhelmed families received a $40.00 gift card. This gift was given for the week of spring break and came as a relief to the school families and school administrators. Thank you BGAV!

Angie Russ
Stevens Memorial Baptist Church
Newport News, VA

Our church is a small-town church, but in the present time, we are possibly reaching more people than ever in different ways. Quickly ramping up our online presence has been a learning experience for our staff and leaders, but worth the effort to keep our ministry functioning in worship, faith formation, and outreach. Our reach and engagements on Facebook have increased nearly 6000% and 3800%, respectively.

Jonathan Davis
Beale Memorial Baptist Church
Tappahannock, VA

Our Community Food Pantry, in operation since 2008, is steadily giving food to people in need. On Wednesday, April week, in drive-thru fashion we gave 150 bags of food to needy families. We hope to give even more in the weeks ahead, thanks to the funding from BGAV! Photos to come soon!

MaryBeth Cobble
Manassas Baptist Church
Manassas, VA

WMU ladies pulled together to make masks and meals. Those masks and meals were provided local senior adults and medical staffs
Thanks to WMU and BGAV!

Jey Kim
First Virginia Baptist Church
Springfield, VA

During these short nine days (3/26 – 4/3), we witnessed love, generosity, and support from many brothers and sisters and friends. Many individuals and groups reached out to us to share wisdom, talents, time, and resources. As a result, we raised a total of $22,749.31 in addition to the $5,000 contributed from GCBCR’s Love Fund Account. We purchased and donated more than 15,000 masks. More importantly, we witnessed God’s miracles daily in leading us to reliable sources and obtaining masks in a short turnaround time despite significant changes in international shipments. We also received many heartfelt thanks from our medical professionals. One doctor said, “It’s a scary and uncertain time for all of us, but it’s so important to have such a wonderful community behind us and to know that we have incredible support and love.”

David, the supply chain technician in the picture, wrote: “My job includes distribution of supplies to hospitals. Our current focus is protection from COVID 19. I was so happy to receive your donation today of almost 12,000 masks. We will put them to good use in several hospitals around Richmond. Thank You all so much for sharing the love of Jesus. The world is better today because of your sacrifices.”

We love because He (Christ Jesus) first loved us (1 John 4:19)

Peter Li
Grace Chinese Baptist Church of Richmond (GCBCR)
Richmond, VA

On March 21, our church held a fund raiser steak dinner to benefit Evan Groves, an elven year old in Covington with a rare skin disorder that causes his skin to blister and peel off. They needed a special bathroom added on to their home to help with his care we heard about the need and had planned to do this dinner to help out. As the date approached the Corona virus was gaining ground in America and we were faced with the decision whether to cancel or not. We decided to adapt and overcome, with a small crew, a list of people coming to get steak dinners, we served them by take out and by deliver drivers. We were able to serve over 250 steaks and made over $3,900 to help with Evans needs.

We sent out 20 pizzas to the elder and shut-in members of our community, and are currently helping with a canned food drive for the area. Our services are livestreamed from the pastor’s office. Our youth group is using google classroom and zoom to continue the youth meetings.

David Hanks
Iron Gate Baptist Church
Iron Gate, VA

Cool stories! So I had already filled this out the other day, but since then the grant for $1000 to be used for food has been approved and I just wanted to share a bit about how some of the house churches are using the funds we already have, and how they intend to use some of these additional funds!

  1. They are purchasing food stuffs and toiletries for some young immigrant families with babies
  2. They are purchasing groceries for some individuals who are directly effected by this crisis (loss of jobs etc)
  3. The one food pantry (for those in need) was low and they are filling it up!
  4. One community has an unusual number of people who were laid off recently, that community is providing small meals to send out to the individuals day by day (someone is driving the food to them)

I keep getting more reports of how the house churches are springing to action! What an incredible time when the church is able to rise up and bless people and show the love of Jesus, the hands of Jesus, and the feet of Jesus in action! The beautiful thing is that these actions have also opened doors for prayers and words of encouragement and the direct sharing of the gospel in certain circumstances!

I had a fearful friend who warned me to “leave the city due to this crisis, save yourself!” But why would we leave all those who we love so much and are lost and hurting? We are here because Jesus is at work in this place and He has called us to serve and love those around us! This is exactly where we need to be! Praise the Lord!

Jeremy Chambers
Arise RVA Church
Richmond, VA

For Reaching the Elderly at Home: The elderly are in great need to be encouraged having to stay at home – some alone. Many of their friends and family are no longer alive. So please give them a call to let them know you love them and if they need groceries you can drop them a bag or two on their front door step – remember to keep your distance. You can also pray together when you call and pray again again when you drop their groceries on the front door step. No Prayer – No Power. Little Prayer – Little Power. Much Prayer – Much Power. Prayer does not prepare us for the greater works; Prayer is the greater works! Just as Jesus said, ” If you love Me, you will love one another just as I love you.” Instead of Corona Virus chaos let the Peace of Christ be with you always.

Chris Hummel

We are preparing weekend backpacks for students each week. Attached is a photo of the food we purchased from the Healthy Harvest Food Bank in Warsaw. Our phone is ringing with requests for food, referrals from social services and other churches are referring folks who need help, many of them for the first time ever. We will be going back for more food weekly as well as continuing with our regular monthly food pantry that increased by about 20 families last week. Thank you for helping us serve in our community.

Jennifer English
Bethany Baptist Church
Callao, VA

The Franklin County Baptist Disaster Response Team emptied its disaster response trailer of all the usable supplies it contained and donated it to the Carillion Clinic (Roanoke Memorial and Franklin Memorial Hospitals). The donated items included M-95 and surgical masks, hazmat suits, and other items needed to help fight the COVID-19 virus.

Doris Morgan
Franklin County Baptist Disaster Response Team

Recently, and very providentially, we signed on with a phone tree service called “Call-Em-All.” They are reasonably priced and very user friendly. I have been using it every night to give a 1 1/2 minute message of encouragement to my people. Many have expressed their gratitude for it and have asked that we add numbers of friends and relatives to our phone tree. We are planning a drive-in Easter service in our parking lot, having purchased an FM box so people can pick up the service on their radios. The service will be outside, in the parking lot as well, so it will be weather- dependent. If all goes well, we will continue to have drive-in services any Sunday the weather is good. We have purchased the disposable, all in one communion cups and will be distributing them in Ziploc bags. We are preparing dinner meals regularly to take to our shut-ins.

Susan Spangenberg
Pocahontas Bassett Baptist Church
Bassett, VA

We met together on March 15, attempting to practice social distancing. Later that day, our deacons determined that we would be closed for the next two Sundays. Deacon teams would be mobilized to contact members of the congregation and friends to assess needs we might meet during this time. We attempted our first online Sunday worship on March 22 using the church’s Facebook page. There were more hits on the page than the normal worship attendance. We will be doing a different format online this Sunday for worship. This week, our deacons decided that we would not meet at the church until after Easter due to the expanding coronavirus, and we will continue online worship through Easter.

David Roberts
Sycamore Baptist Church
Franklin, VA

We are seeing wonderful ministry opportunities opening up all around us right now! Here are a few highlights to encourage other churches: (1) House churches (or small groups) are rising to this occasion, taking food to neighbors, driving out to get supplies for those “at risk,” some are creating means of babysitting the children of those who need to keep working during this time (but their children are out of school) (2) many are participating in food programs for children (3) work amongst homeless people is active and there have been reports of many homeless people who are just so grateful for a meal and someone to talk to (even while maintaining appropriate social distancing) (4) the work among former inmates is amazing right now, people are providing food and supplies to keep them sustained (5) work among internationals and immigrants is flourishing as many are getting on calls with each other and checking in (6) THE PRAYER OPPORTUNITIES ARE THE MOST AMAZING WE HAVE EVER SEEN! Many atheists and agnostics and skeptics are receiving prayer (when they normally would never have been receptive to pray before this crisis) (7) People are setting up prayer booths in their neighborhoods or making prayer calls available to their friends and neighbors (even an email for people to send in prayer requests) (8) One couple visited 90 houses in their neighborhood, these are people they have been ministering to for over 10 years, but now the receptivity has been overwhelmingly beautiful (9) People are digging into the scriptures afresh (especially the Psalms) and reaching out to one another and encouraging each other with the word … via many Zoom/vsee/FaceTime/marco polo sorts of calls (10) others are sharing how they are learning to “be still and know” that He is God (Ps. 46: 10) and there is a movement toward prayer and silence before the Lord as a refreshing opportunity in these times of difficulty. The list could go on! Just so many amazing things are happening right now.

Jeremy Chambers
Arise RVA Church
Richmond, VA

This past Sunday we began having a DRIVE-IN Worship Service. We positioned a small trailer ( approx 7’x16′) in front of our Sanctuary, added a podium, Communion table, microphones, and speakers. Our ushers helped vehicles park facing the stage. We handed out bulletins with hymn inserts (to avoid hymnal handling), had prayers, sang hymns, and proclaimed the Gospel. We concluded the service singing together “The Solid Rock.”

Gene Cumbia
Glebe Landing Baptist Church
Laneview, VA

Our school district was scheduled to be out on Spring Break this week (3/23-3/27) prior to the Governor’s initial school closure order. Because of this scheduled Spring Break, our schools were not able to continue providing meals for our county students. We decided to try and organize a few churches to pool resources and manpower to make sure that any school child who needed a lunch this week could get one. With the help of the BGAV, Buckingham Baptist Church, Calvary Baptist Church, and Mt. Zion Baptist Church, we are able to distribute over 300 lunches this week to our community. We are now thinking about immediate needs regarding students and Seniors who will continue to be affected by the Governor’s cancellation of the rest of the school year.

Geoffrey Bruschi
Arvon Baptist Church
Arvonia, VA

Twenty-five percent of our church family has suffered either loss of their income completely or partial decrease in income. We spent the first week grabbing grocery orders and delivering them, filled the fuel tanks of a few family vehicles, etc. One family has five little kids. I delivered them 40 lbs of deer meat, groceries and dropped of some church t-shirts and hats for the kids. The mom sent us a few pics and told us that the kids were overjoyed and excited that “Pastor Dan brought us a deer!!” Thank you BGAV for helping us make this continue to happen.

Dan Magan
The Well Church of Nelson
Lovingston, VA

Our staff, deacons, and homebound committee are making phone calls to those who are homebound, as well as those who live alone or even older couples that are staying home. We did a brief time of worship on Facebook Live and are looking at doing a “drive in worship” using a low band FM transmitter. Each of our staff members is writing a devotional which is sent out via email and snail mail to homebound members. As part of the Monday devotional, we attach the church prayer list. Using “Call em all” we communicate prayer requests and announcements about worship and other ways we can be of ministry during this time.

Joey McNeill
Fort Trial Baptist Church
Stanleytown, VA

We are reaching out to our flock and our community through the following means:

  • Our website
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • OneCall

We are providing daily devotionals through OneCall to our membership. We’re using Facebook to provide daily devotionals and encouragement through Bible-based COVID-19 devotionals as a means to help people know that God is in control though our world may appear to be out of control at this time.

On our website and through YouTube we’re streaming our worship services. On the website people can find sermons, Bible studies, as well as other information.

Our deacons are calling the members they have on their deacon care lists to make certain we can meet the needs of our members and their families. We are exploring avenues to continue to provide online discipleship classes or studies; youth leaders are speaking to their students and finding out what fears or concerns they may have, so that we can deal with them.

We are providing coaching as a means for people to think through their “next steps” at this time. Counseling is also available.

Don Zampogna
Green Valley Baptist Church
Lebanon, VA

For our Sunday morning worship, we are doing live services on Facebook and YouTube. We are also transmitting it on the radio for our local members who don’t have access to the Internet. Many can access it from their homes but can also park in our church parking lot to have access to the transmitter to hear our service.
Most of our small groups now have Facebook pages to stay connected and share their week’s Bible study/lesson. We are using Zoom to have discussion time.
Yesterday we created an interactive Prayer Fence outside our church for the community to write prayers on ribbons and tie on the fence.

Charles Cook
Cook Memorial Baptist Church
Pineville, WV


Ways You Can Respond and/or Request Help

Complete any or all of the forms below as indicated, and we will respond as is appropriate.

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