SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Communities of faith shuttered by the emergency prohibition barring large public gatherings have been forced to get creative to connect with and minister to their congregations.
“It is a time when we feel a need to turn to God and a need of each other,” said Fr. Carlos Alberto Olivera who pastors the San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission.READ MORE: Fire Weather Watch In Effect For Bay Area Ahead Of Windy Weekend
Olivera has adapted the tools of technology to matters of faith, holding daily rosary prayers and Sunday service via teleconference. He says he feels more connected to his congregation now despite their physical separation.
“I can see them everyday. And they can see me everyday — a lot of families,” said Olivera.
Across town at the Jain Center of Northern California in Milpitas, technology has likewise allowed members to remain connected. A live stream of the main altar at the temple gives people a place to direct their prayers.READ MORE: Oakland Officials: 9 OPD Officers Disciplined After Investigation into Racist, Sexist Social Media Posts
“Most people already had a small temple area in their own homes,” said Dave Gandhi, the Director of Facilities for the Center.” So, we are used to praying at home. And now, we are going back to it.”
But there are limits to the practice of faith on the phone or online. Some ministries are conducted in person — up close and personal. Pastor Scott Wagers ministers to the homeless, handing out meals and information in the encampments scattered throughout Silicon Valley.
“I still think it’s the right thing to do, to be here, to feed people, to pray for them, to talk to them and to comfort them. It’s going to be critical I think,” said Wagers.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Crews Contain Pleasanton Vegetation Fire Near Interstate 680; Evacuations Lifted
As the outbreaks worsens, the doors of faith remain closed while the arms of the faithful have found increasingly creative ways to stay open.