RAPID CITY, S.D. – Churches in the Black Hills have struggled to get their parishioners accustomed to a new climate of fellowship. With many still not feeling safe enough to attend in-person worship, many churches have seen a sharp decline in attendance.
“We saw initially a big decrease in attendance and people have been slowly filtering their way back” said Lead Pastor of The Foundry Church Trevor Harrison
For many, Sunday is for worship. The seventh day of the week has for years been a time to come together but with a pandemic that demands a skeletal assembly, churches are experiencing the lingering effects. After weeks of closings and in-depth restructuring, some churches have re-opened their doors but have not seen the full breadth of their numbers. Paula Zavitz from First Presbyterian says she thought more members would be attending church.
” I was surprised. I thought there would be more people who would come and worship in person then there have been.”
While some churches are requiring masks, others are giving members the option to choose. Dawn Bargmann said she made the decision to come back to church because she felt First Presbyterian adhered to all safety guidelines.
“I felt that our church took good precautionary measures. That is was a safe environment to come as far as coronavirus and also I just really missed fellowship in person. It’s not the same for me by Zoom or streaming.”
Both First Presbyterian and The Foundry have invested in new streaming equipment, a virtual way to ensure none of their congregants are left out. Overall both agree, churches whether in a physical building, online or through a personal connection with God is essential for the soul.