From a financial standpoint, Archbold churches weathered the Coronavirus pandemic storm well, said Erich Christman, pastor of St. John’s Christian Church and president of the Archbold Area Ministerial Association.
When the “Stay at Home” order issued Monday, March 23, 2020, by Mike DeWine, Ohio governor, went into effect, churches were exempt, he said.
“Churches could gather, but the reality was the governor and the area health departments asked for cooperation from area churches, and churches handled that differently,” he said.
St. John’s shut down for in-person worship services in April, then began holding in-person services in May.
It also began livestreaming its services over the Internet.
“I think most churches in Archbold returned to inperson (worship services) sometime in May or June of last year,” he said. “Some started in July, I’m not sure. Obviously I can’t speak for all the churches.
“I think everybody is back in person and livestreaming.”
Despite the pandemic and people being unable to slip money into the collection plate, Archbold churches weren’t fiscally harmed.
“I think what I’ve heard from most of the AAMA (Archbold Area Ministerial Association) churches is that people continued to give, either online, they mailed their contributions in, or they dropped it off at the churches,” Christman said.
“I know that our experience was we did not see any drop.
“It seemed like AAMA churches had similar responses. So the faithfulness of the people continued.”
While many churches operate on shoestring budgets to serve the needs they see, “I also know there are many churches that stewardship has been blessed by the Lord, and we’ve been able to sustain things,” Christman said.