LOUISVILLE, Ky. —
Earlier this month, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ordered religious groups to cancel their services, calling on people to avoid crowds and gathering amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’re trying to make everything that we do, as much as we can we make it virtual," Matt Goldberg, a leader at the Jewish Federation of Louisville, said. “It hasn’t been easy -- we are adjusting as we go.”
He said synagogues, once jam-packed with members, are now empty. Instead, people practice their faith watching YouTube videos..
“And so there’s a sadness that we can’t face-to-face be together but there’s also a sense of excitement," Jeff Noel, the lead pastor at Grace Heartland Church in Elizabethtown, said.
“Basically we’ve taken everything that we used to do in person and it’s either a Facebook Live or a Zoom meeting," he said.
Last Sunday’s online service had over 3,200 views.
“It’s going to be so nice when we’re going to be able to be back together again," Noel said.
From synagogues and churches to mosques and temples, many religious leaders said their new normal means going digital. For many, it’s also meant receiving just a fraction of donations.
“Obviously there is a lot of anxiety," Chandrika Srinivasan, chairperson at Hindu Temple of Kentucky, said.
But she said right now, she’s focused on helping those in need.
All weekend, she and others from her temple made 125 masks for hospital workers fighting COVID-19.
Many religious leaders we interviewed told us they hope the obstacles they’re facing now will make them stronger.