The COVID pandemic has highlighted the contingent nature of the ability of the local congregation to survive, let alone thrive. As limitations on meeting in person have been instituted, most congregations have developed some form of an online weekly gathering (whether Sunday services or something else) as a substitute for their traditional (in-person) worship services.
But what effect does this introduction of technology have on the life and culture of the local church? What changes in how we think about church and gathering together need to be made so as to take into account the new realities, and to maintain, and even increase the sense of community and belonging that all thriving congregations have?
Program Manager of the Cecil Murray Center for Civic Engagement, Rev. Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard moderated a conversation between Prof. Heidi A. Campbell from Texas A&M University, Bishop Mark Richardson from New Journey Jurisdiction, and Pastor Greg Russinger from Alongsiders Church in Portland and founder of Laundry Love, as part of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture’s Reimagining Church Initiative series.