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AARP Expert

Getting a faith community into your life again

One of the learnings of this darn pandemic is that all kinds of gatherings can happen online; work meetings, family reunions, and worship. Who knew. For people that have made belonging to a faith community a part of life, there is a real struggle once caregiving becomes a major responsibility. And for the care recipient, it's even harder. So, here are some ideas on how to reintegrate a feeling of worship/church into your Sabbath, or any day or evening.


* Look up your denomination's web site on youtube and see what you find. I'm an Episcopalian, and the Washington National Cathedral youtube channel has a wealth of offerings. If i want to listen to a sermon, there's a section for that. Also for morning prayer and special services like the Lessons & Carols event before Christmas. During the most severe shut down of Spring 2020, my wife and I listened to the entire morning service, which lasts over an hour and has amazing music. A bulletin with all the words allowed us to pray and sing along. It helped us feel like we'd been to church, while still in our pajamas.


* If you belong to a local church, you're probably aware that some sort of zoom worship or videotape offering has been attempted, and you can explore that. Sometimes the worship is featured on the facebook page, sometimes on the web site, and sometimes on youtube. If you have trouble making sense of the technology, call the church up and someone will walk you through it. Then you can participate in your community's gathering, even though you and your family member are still at home. Perhaps you can borrow or buy a hymnal so you two (or more) can sing together. Here is last Sunday's full service of the United Methodist Church in Klamath Falls Oregon:  


* If you are not connected to any particular church, but you and/or your loved one enjoys hymns, there are a gazillion youtube channels with hymns. Some have all the words on the screen, others are perfect for calming background music for your day, and might help with sundowning at the end of a long day. Here are some channels I've enjoyed:


Bluegrass Gospel: Energetic, great for chores or doing a little dancing or sitting and doing something together (I crochet, she quilts).


The ENTIRE 1982 Episcopal Church Hymnal, oh my goodness, played by an organ, no singing. Wow. If you like organ music, this is for you:


For background music: One hour of relaxing hymns on piano, This one has bird songs and other instruments:


Last but not least, either for free or a fee, you can listen to any holy book read aloud. James Earl Jones reads the King James Bible on an audiobook:


Mostly, i invite you to just explore, and give yourself a bit of uplifting sound to carry you through a morning, an evening, anytime.


I invite you to listen to this one song: it's my favorite hymn of all time. Enjoy, and be encouraged.



Periodic Contributor

Finding the community or church that will satisfy your spiritual needs and help you in your route is very important. It was also hard for me in college when I was trying to understand what I should do. I had many problems I couldn't solve, and later First Church Love helped me find the right way. I knew that it's the one that makes me better feel the connection with God and makes it so easy to feel the energy from other believers. It's, of course, important also how the church manages all the meetings, but I think it's one of the easiest problems to solve. I'm more of a calm person, and I would also not like a rock style, but I would accept it if it would not disturb my feelings.

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Trusted Contributor

I prefer to have an in-person worship service.  I guess it's good to have something on-line but it's not the same.  Before the pandemic, it seemed like it was looked down on to prefer an online service over being at church.   


For a few years, before the pandemic, I stopped going to church.  I used to love to go but things had changed.  I have been single all of my life with no kids, and when I got older, I got looked down at.  So I stopped going because of that; and a lot of churches had that "rock music" style with their worship services.   And the messages were watered down.        

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AARP Expert

Hi TomW!

I, too, prefer an in-person service. 

I'm so sorry you've experienced being 'looked down' upon. Yuck. I do not like 'rock music' style worship, either-- totally agree there. 


Since you are on your own, it might be worth investing in some 'church shopping.' Being single and having a 'church family' can be enriching, fun, challenging, and full of opportunities to help out-- in a choir, with Sunday school, for an outreach project like feeding homeless people... It is a bit of a trick to find a congregation that has music and a style of worship you like and a preacher or preachers who are insightful and thoughtful to hear.

I was raised as a Christian Scientist, and between physical and emotional illnesses, I was quite disenchanted by that denomination by the time i was 16. It took years of exposure to a bunch of styles of worship, and several faith traditions, not to mention majoring in ecumenical religion, before i found a good fit for me: the Episcopal Church. It has the liturgy and classy style, interspersed with excellent music from Black and Gospel traditions, of the Roman Catholic, with the added diversity of women priests and a gay friendly "official' welcome. Does liturgical ritual appeal to you? The liturgical churches are the Catholics, Episcopal/Anglicans, and Lutherans. Are you more congregational in your style? How about the Society of Friends (Quakers) or Unitarians, or the United Church of Christ? If you've grown tired of evangelical rock and roll, there are other 'non denominational' 'community churches.'  Go to a church, check it out, eat a donut and have some coffee, then off to a bike ride you go!


Might be worth the adventure...



of Eastern Oregon, formerly Washington DC

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