Medford church addresses concerns beyond statewide two-week freeze

Medford First Christian Church is speaking out on some of the challenges they’ll face beyond Governor Kate Brown’s statewide two-week freeze.

During the freeze, faith-based organizations can’t have more than 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors.

The church has around 35 members and most of them are elderly.

Pastor Stacy Shelton says this is challenging because those who are at-risk can’t meet in person.

The church does group meetings via Zoom and streams Sunday worship through Facebook live.

However, not everyone has access to that technology.

“It has affected them, no doubt,” Shelton said. “You know, I have a lot of conversations, particularly about loneliness and frustration.”

The church has done outdoor worship, but that’s not ideal year-round.

Some counties are expected to go beyond a two-week freeze, according to Governor Brown.

Pastor Shelton says the restrictions could have an impact on their growing community.

“I’ve had some sleepless nights about that from the beginning of all of this,” Shelton said “How do you grow when new people can’t exactly come? We have had new people come though on Facebook and when we were first doing videos on YouTube, so I’m encouraged by that.”

Pastor Shelton says she hopes they won’t have to go back to just online worship again, but that’s out of her control.

“I think it’s challenging and that’s just sort of the bottom line, but phones still exists,” Shelton said. “You know, we are still here in person with mass, not just on Sundays, but other days. And, you know, if people are needing that connected piece, we’re still here.”

She says all they can do right now is rely on their faith.

“We will answer God’s call to us, however that comes,” Shelton said. “Someday it may come by closing the doors, I don’t know, but I just work every day and put one foot in front of the other and listen as much as I can to where God’s calling us to go. I just believe that that’s going to be in a good place.”

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