Baker City churches are doing their part to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
To comply with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order restricting public gatherings, many churches are streaming worship services online for members of their congregation who are staying home.
Jesse Whitford, lead pastor at the Baker City Christian Church, said the church is posting pre-recorded sermons on its website and has canceled Sunday gatherings for the next four weeks.
“We’re encouraging people to practice social distancing,” said Whitford. “We believe that is the most neighborly Christian thing we can be doing.”
Whitford said other church events have been canceled, and the office is open only one day per week, though that could change.
Whitford said the church is working with volunteers who want to help the community, such as calling on high-risk individuals and people older than 65 who might need assistance during the crisis.
A volunteer form is posted on the church’s website, www.bakercitychristian.com
The Harvest Church is also offering live-streamed services only.
The Harvest Church, 3720 Birch St., is also giving free drive-up meals on Wednesdays from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Volunteers will bring meals to people waiting in their cars.
“We have a bunch of opportunities for people to volunteer,” said Matt Diaz, a team pastor for the Harvest Church.
Troy Teeter, lead pastor with the Baker City Nazarene Church, said the church is offering online worship services, including music.
High-risk people who need help with errands can call the Nazarene Church office at 541-523-3533.
Rev. Ian Wolfe of the First Lutheran Church in Baker City posted a letter on the church’s website alerting the congregation that the church has suspended services and other gatherings.
“It is a loving act to not potentially infect those around us, especially many of whom are at high-risk in our congregation,” Wolfe wrote.
Wolfe’s March 22 service is available on YouTube through a link on the church’s website, www.firstlutheranbakercity.org/
Wolfe said members of the congregation are helping the Baker School District distribute free lunches and breakfasts at South Baker Intermediate School.
Father Suresh Kumar Telagani said St. Francis de Sales Cathedral has canceled all Masses, including Holy Week and Easter services, and is live-streaming the services. Bishop Liam Cary of the Baker Diocese, based in Bend, will celebrate Sunday Mass each week in English at 9 a.m. This will be streamed through the Diocesan website, https://dioceseofbaker.org/. A daily Mass will be streamed at 8:10 a.m. Monday through Friday. The recitation of the Rosary will be live-streamed Monday through Friday at 10 a.m.
Although the parish office is closed, parishioners and the public can call Dawn Coles at 541-519-7502 or Father Telagani at 541-406-9104 to make an appointment.
St. Francis has also closed its food bank and opens by appointment only.
The First Presbyterian Church has canceled Sunday worship at the church for four weeks starting March 22, and links to Facebook Live sermons are on the church’s Facebook Page (First Presbyterian Church of Baker City Oregon).
The church’s office, at 1995 Fourth St., is open with limited hours. The phone number is 541-523-5201.
United Methodist Church in Baker City is posting updates, and links to online services, on its Facebook page, United Methodist Church Baker City.
The Rev. Aletha Bonebrake from St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Baker City, in an email to the Herald, wrote that services at the church have been canceled, including Easter services, until Pentecost, May 31.
Bonebrake wrote that although the church doesn’t have technology to live-stream services, she has given all parishioners a link to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s daily thoughts and prayers, and to a Sunday service at St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
“I am setting up the Zoom app for online conferencing so we can continue our Friday morning Bible studies together and everyone is sharing back and forth inspirational articles online they run across in their reading,” Bonebrake wrote. “We do no in-person meetings and only visit with our shut-ins by telephone.”
Bonebrake said church members are volunteering with the Baker School District’s free meals, and they continue to distribute bread to food banks, and to fill the food pantry outside the church at 2177 First St.
Worldwide meetings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remain canceled until further notice, inclusive of Sunday worship services. Contact your Ward’s Priesthood leaders for guidance if you would like an opportunity to partake of the Sacrament in your home and have not had that opportunity. Everyone is encouraged to use the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum for family and individual gospel study in our homes. The lesson for March 30th to April 12th is titled “Easter” and discusses the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement and Resurrection and refers to select scriptures from the Book of Mormon, which provides an additional witness that He is the savior of the world. General Conference will still be held on April 4th and 5th but must be attended remotely via the internet or other means.