In the wake of the current COVID-19 crisis, and under the recommended “social distancing” guidelines, many churches across America have decided to go online in order to continue connecting with their congregations. However, a few of these churches — like Countryside Christian Church in Clearwater, FL — have decided to go one step further.
Countryside is offering free online memorial services to the community so grieving families can receive support without risking the health of loved ones. These “Family Room Memorials” are conducted by ordained ministers and are available to anyone in the community who requests it, even if they are not a member of the church.
Having a traditional memorial service with more than a few family members presents a unique challenge under the CDC’s strict guidelines. On their website, the CDC clearly states the recommendation to “Maintain 6 feet of distance from others, and stay out of crowded places.” To satisfy this guideline, Countryside uses digital tools and video equipment while an ordained minister offers a eulogy, prayer, and other important services for local families who are grieving a loss.
“We know there are families in our community who have lost loved ones but it’s such a challenge to arrange a physical memorial service right now,” said the church’s Senior Pastor, Glenn Davis. “So we want to help by offering ministry online, and we want to do it for free.”
Best of all, family members and friends from out of town won’t have to travel to be a part of the Family Room Memorials, since they can attend virtually from home.
Of course, families who hold a Family Room Memorial can still opt to hold a traditional memorial service at a funeral home or church after the “stay at home” order is over. However, honoring loved ones in a timely manner is of utmost importance, according to those who have already requested the online services.
Anyone in the community can contact the church to arrange a Family Room Memorial by calling 727-799-1618, or by emailing the church’s Care Pastor, Joe Lugo at: [email protected].
Countryside Christian Church is a nondenominational family church serving the Tampa Bay area since 1981. The church has weekly worship services, the Helping Hands food pantry, a mobile food truck ministry, a Christian preschool, a Christian elementary and middle school, and a host of other community outreach programs.