June 18th, 2024

Christian churches still struggling in wake of pandemic, SACPA told


By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 20, 2023.

Herald Photo by Ry Clarke Reverend Taylor Croissant, Southminster United Church, speaks about the Church and how it will survive after the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday at the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization

The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs turned its attention to faith and how religion has faired during the COVID-19 pandemic during its weekly presentation on Thursday.

SACPA invited Reverend Taylor Croissant, ordained minister in the United Church of Canada serving at Southminster United Church downtown, to discuss how the church has weathered the pandemic and discuss the obstacles faith communities have faced since 2020 and how they are navigating those difficulties along with new rising pressures.

“We will have an explicitly Christian worldview, only for the sake of the arguments that I will be presenting. However, I am sure that the non-Christian faith communities have experienced many of the same difficulties as the Christian churches. Their omission here will not be out of disregard,” said Croissant. “It was a period of great despair. How do we offer hope to people in that difficult time of despair? Politics became very polarized throughout the pandemic. How do you keep people united together in their faith, when they are being pulled apart by politics? Then as faith leaders, what we experienced was the uncertainty of what to do, we always felt like we were walking through a fog.”

Experiencing the pandemic from a unique perspective, Croissant began his work after March 17, 2020, when restrictions were already in place.

“This created the first challenge that almost all communities of faith need to address, how to create worship experiences for our members to engage them from their homes,” said Croissant. “Once churches got a handle on the video recording and broadcasting, the next challenge that we faced was maintaining connections with people in our congregations. I had a fairly unique experience, I worked for my church for almost a whole year and I never met the members of my church face-to-face, I had to phone them up through the church directory and introduce myself.”

Speaking towards the climate of the pandemic, Croissant notes how the isolation took a toll on people spiritually.

“It is about addressing that despair. People were feeling trapped inside, and then finding out people had become infected with COVID, especially before people had access to vaccines, it was important to make those connections. Because that was fighting against the depression a lot of people were feeling in the worst of the pandemic,” said Croissant.

But the toll on the church was more than just a test of faith, with the pandemic often pitting one side against another.

“That uncertainty was hard on our faith leaders. We often had to defend our decisions to parishioners who thought that we were being overly cautious, as well as those who thought that we were not being cautious,” said Croissant. “I think a lot of congregations are going to struggle in the remainder of the 2020’s. Finances are difficult, and who knows how people will be able to ride that out. I think there will be major struggles, but we will emerge out of it better on behalf of it.”

Sharing views on faith and how the church will survive the pandemic, Croissant sees a difficult future for those in the faith, but notes the perseverance of time.

“The Christian church will go on. It is one of the oldest and most robust institutions in human history. It has survived persecution during the Roman Empire, not only survived in the Great Depression, but actually was able to be a means of social support in that difficult time in our country. Levels of religiosity have ebbed and flowed throughout the history of Christianity. But challenges currently faced by individual congregations will be daunting for the remainder of this decade, our churches have struggled to get their attendance back to their pre-pandemic numbers,” said Croissant.

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Say What . . .

Much of what is happening was prophesied thousands of years ago and many of the prophesies that happen in the last 105 years, we are very close now. Israel had to become a nation 1948 and the temple mount had to be repatriated, as in 1967, and then the Bible says, this generation will not pass away before I return. Biblically, a generation is 120 years, except when God stop Moses from crossing into the promised land because of the misbelief, and those lives were reduced to 80 years so they would pass away and the younger generation were prepared to enter.
We are very much in the last of the last days and the signs are everywhere!
2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
 Revelation 2:4-5
 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Matthew 24:3-13
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
There is no argument, no pressure to repent or become a Christian, after all it is your choice and God made it that way.
Christians have never been persecuted or killed in history as there are now, across the world. Christians are under attack and it was prophesied!

Last edited 1 year ago by Say What . . .