As of Sunday, March 15, religious centers throughout the Santa Clarita Valley fully transitioned from in-person services and meetings to online, to adhere to social distancing regulations enforced by state and county officials to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Santa Clarita residents watched their weekly religious teachings and services from the comfort of their own homes, and many of those who tuned in approved of the transition.
“We were able to stream the church service onto our TV and watch on the couch as a family,” said Holly Aispuro, Crossroads Community Church member. “I also like that I can share the live stream on Facebook and reach out to people who don’t normally attend church so they can have a chance to tune in and hear something encouraging during these crazy times.”
Another member, Lori Kaden, also enjoyed how she had the ability to go back and watch the sermon over again.
“We are so grateful to live in this day and age where church can be live-streamed on the internet,” Kaden said. “Of course, it can never replace actually being together in person, (but) it’s the next best thing at this time.”
For most churches in the valley, this was their first experience with watching their teaching online. While for others, an online option had always been available.
Meredith Fisher, a member of Real Life Church, has used Real Life’s streaming services many times in the past.
“We (would) watch on vacation or if someone (was) sick (so) we would just watch from our bed in jammies,” Fisher said.
When Fisher was initially notified that the church was going to fully transition online, she did not have an adverse reaction since she’s used the streaming services before.
“It was the best alternative to maximize everyone’s health and safety,” Fisher said. “You can still hear and see worship and (the) message, give (to the church) and take communion at home.”
Other religious centers are using different technologies to connect with their members. At Temple Beth Ami, they are utilizing Zoom, a video chat technology that Rabbi Mark Blazer has used to facilitate an adult Torah study.
“We were able to ask questions live and still have conversations about what we were learning,” said Ginny Veloz, Temple Beth Ami member. “Technology is an amazing thing and I really do applaud Temple Beth Ami for thinking outside the box so that we all can still connect with our community.”
Considering the circumstances, Veloz is grateful to know that she and others are able to attend both religious services and classes.