Stephanie Daniel / KUNC
A band interferes and sings about Jesus in a commercial building in Weld County, Colorado. The stage is backlit with a purple fluorescent diamond-shaped light. Worshipers who are socially distant and wear masks stand and shake in the music. Some people sing along.
It is a mosaic church.
Every Sunday, there are a total of three services, two in English and one in Spanish. Angel Flores is the chief pastor of Mosaic, and on this day his message is about the spirit of giving.
“I’ll talk about generosity,” he says in English, and one of the singers translates his words into Spanish.
During the worship, his warm smile grows as the minister shares an interesting anecdote about his bad singing voice.
“If I sing, you don’t worship God,” he says, laughing at the congregation.
Angel and his wife, Diane Flores, are Mexican-American and founded the Mosaic Church in the kitchen 13 years ago with a group of friends.
“We felt like we had the opportunity to build a church for the indomitable people,” he said. “Our original tagline was for people who don’t like church very much.”
“We strive to make mosaics as welcome and not strange as possible,” she said. “You can invite your friends.”
Mosaic is an evangelical Christian congregation with many young working class families. A year ago, one Sunday, nearly 700 people worshiped. Then the pandemic began, and the congregation, either the first responder or working at a meat packaging factory, began to get sick.
Church members turned to Flores for help.
“We received a call from a woman in the church saying,’Pastor, they are trying to intubate me,'” Angel said. “As her minister, I told her,” Look, it’s okay, you’ll be fine, but the truth is, you may meet the Lord soon. So you know , I pray with you. “
Thankfully she survived.
During the first wave of coronavirus, about 20 congregations obtained and recovered COVID-19. However, as a precautionary measure, the church closed the door in mid-March and went online.
Lack of official guidance
“One of the unique challenges we faced here in Weld County was the commissioner,” said Angel. “They are not aware of the effectiveness of either [Colorado] Governor Police rules. “
Throughout the pandemic, the Weld County Commissioner has not enforced the state’s COVID-19 regulations. Instead, they encouraged personal responsibility and told residents and businesses that they could decide for themselves which precautions, if any.
Latin Americans across the country have been hit hard by COVID-19. This trend is occurring in Weld County. Here, Hispanics and Latin Americans make up 30% of the population, but last year they made up about 40% of the cases.
“I think it’s going to hurt the community mentally,” Angel said. “Everyone is stressed. Everyone is fed up with this. Everyone is tired.”
During the summer, Angel and Diana have decided to resume face-to-face service. They decided to do it safely, but didn’t know how to do it.
“There were no guidelines from the local government on how to do this,” Angel said. “So we had to understand it ourselves.”
They chose to follow the guidelines of the neighboring Larimer County.
In mid-June, Mosaic Church began worshiping directly again with significantly reduced capacity while continuing to stream the service online. They removed every other row of chairs and asked people to leave space between their families.
“We ask everyone to wear a mask. We bought a few gallons of hand sanitizer,” he said. “We are just trying to manage it as best as possible.”
Evacuate in difficult times
Dorothy Meza has been a member of Mosaic for about 4 years. She leaned against the church after five members of her family were infected with the coronavirus.
“The Mosaic Church was huge, just emotionally supporting it,” she said.
Meza saw the service on Facebook, but it wasn’t the same. She drifted and felt separated from the congregation.
“As if we were in the middle of the ocean without a paddling board,” she said. “The church family is like a family that helps us row and get going.”
Eventually, Meza was able to return to the actual church building.
Mosaic went into a good weekly routine for about five months. However, church members continued to get sick. And Rev. Flores lost three of his own family members from COVID-19 in a week.
At the beginning of November, Angel tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I’m very tired of telling you that this is happening to me,” he said in a video posted on Mosaic’s Facebook page. “The last thing I wanted to do was bring this into my house and bring it into my church family.”
Diane also showed positives with some church staff. So the congregation had to close again. However, I was able to resume in time for Christmas.
In a Facebook message, Angel urged the congregation to be diligent and safe.
“If you feel sick, like taking a test. This is serious. This whole COVID is not a joke,” he said. “I don’t care what someone is saying about the politics behind it or its ridiculous things. It’s real and terrible, and I’m grateful that it seems to have caused a mild incident.
Mosaic is currently worshiping both online and face-to-face. Even if their ministry changes, Angel and Diane Flores plan to continue what they are doing and help people grow their faith while keeping them safe.
“If you get over this,” he said. “Thank you for worshiping with others more than ever. Gather with your family, hug people, and shake hands.”
“I think our main focus in COVID is to give people hope,” she said. “Remind them that this is going through,” she said.
Colorado Church of Latino Adapts to New COVID-19: NPR
Source link Colorado Church of Latino Adapts to New COVID-19: NPR