LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the pandemic rages on, the reliance on faith has been prioritized for many.
A struggling economy can mean fewer dollars in virtual offering baskets, causing many churches to face their own crises as some of the free assistance they provide is reduced for those facing hard times.
But LEX 18 main co-anchor Larry Smith sat down with two local pastors who say their prayers have been answered.
"I fully expected giving to go down as people …sort of just the fear of the unknown and not knowing what was coming," said Kory Wilcoxson, senior pastor at Crestwood Christian Church. "But giving has stayed pretty level for us and that’s allowed us to continue the ministries that were important to us."
Pastor Farley Stuart, of First United Methodist Church in Winchester, said giving has been down slightly, but not enough to impact its staff or its missions.
"We’ve done some mission things and things along the way through the year," Stuart said. "We haven’t done everything we would normally do, but we’ve been able to do what was needed."
Although donations have not been a major issue for either church, both pastors are now preparing for the challenge of celebrating the holidays without a congregation. And neither is able to predict what "normal" worship might look like after the pandemic ends.
"People are creatures of habits," Stuart said. "I think the church as a whole will take a long time to recoup some people who have lost those habits."
But even though they won't be able to gather in person for the holiday, Wilcoxson said the congregation will remain united.
"The idea that this is just a building and whether we’re here or not, that doesn’t stop us from being a church," he said.
Catch the full interview Wednesday during the 6 p.m. newscast on LEX 18.