Bringing out the best: Hanceville FUMC and other county churches going digital during social distancing

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Bro. Paul Campbell delivering his sermon with the tech team running the livestream. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Akin)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – As churches around Cullman feel the strain of social distancing on their worship services, many are utilizing different livestreaming services to continue bringing worship and sermons to their home-bound congregations – some uploading services to YouTube or their church’s website, others tuning in to their pastors’ personal Facebook pages for sermons streamed live from their homes. Hanceville First United Methodist Church had an established online presence even before the COVID-19 outbreak, but the social distancing protocols have added another arrow to their virtual quiver, online classes and meetings.

Ty Watwood, the church’s technology leader, stated that the church has been online for roughly a year now through livestreams to the Hanceville FUMC Facebook page. However, the church recently started a YouTube channel that has uploaded the worship service from March 22 and the Bible study from March 25. When asked about how he felt the online worship services went, Watwood stated that there had been some minor mishaps but overall, the services went very well. “We’ve been doing these livestreams for a while now and we usually get a lot of good feedback on them, so this was just more of an extension of what we already had.”. He also mentioned that another contributing factor to the success of the services was the idea to use Zoom, an online meeting platform similar to Skype that many schools and universities are using in place of in-person classes or recorded lectures, to hold Sunday school lessons.

Brother Paul Campbell, pastor for Hanceville FUMC, said that he was unfamiliar with Zoom until a church member messaged him about wanting to use the program for her small group class. The group was a success, which led to the children’s ministry using the program to hold a service for the church youth later that afternoon. Campbell confirmed that the success of those sessions will allow the church to hold ministry meetings and some business meetings during the social distancing period. Watwood credited Marian Herren with the idea to use Zoom and said that church member Nancy Horton will lead the online class this Sunday (March 29), and the meeting ID numbers and invitation links can be found on the church’s Facebook page (

Campbell expressed concern for churches who may not have such easy access to technology or people who are familiar with it, but also gave a message of hope for anyone feeling discouraged during this trying time. “Churches who do not have people that are tech savvy are going to struggle to continue to encourage their communities and spread the hope that we have in Christ during these difficult days ahead,” Campbell stated. “Our church family and persons around the county have messaged me and said they were thankful that we would continue our services this way. However, most of the church family miss the time together. The body of Christ (the church), however, is not a building, but the people! So, wherever we are, we should be in a spirit of thankfulness and have a servant’s heart. We may learn how to be the church even better during this time!”

Churches using social media or other online sources for services and classes
Churches and event times are based on information provided to The Tribune or found on church social media pages. If your church is active online but not listed or if your church’s schedule has changed, please let us know in the comments. Events are broadcast via Facebook livestream unless otherwise noted. If you miss the livestream, videos are usually available afterwards. Many churches’ small groups and classes are also meeting on various social media platforms. Contact your church for more information.

• Church 212, Cullman – 11 a.m. Sunday
• Center Hill Baptist Church, Hanceville – 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
• Church at the Well, Cullman – drive-in worship 10:30 a.m. Sunday, age level Wednesday services starting at 6:30 p.m
• Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints refers members to
• Crosshaven Church, Hanceville – 10:45 a.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
• Cullman Church of Christ – video devotions: for congregation on Sunday, for youth on Tuesday, for children on Thursday
• Cullman Nazarene Church – 10 a.m. Sunday
• Desperation Church, multiple locations – 10 a.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
• East Side Baptist Church, Cullman – Sunday School 10 a.m., worship 10:30 a.m. Sunday
• Ebenezer Baptist Church, Vinemont – 11 a.m. Sunday
• Etha Baptist Church, between Fairview and Eva – 10:30 a.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
• Faith Baptist Church, Vinemont – 10:45 a.m. Sunday
• First Baptist Church, Baileyton – 10:30 a.m. Sunday via Vimeo
• First Baptist Church, Cullman – 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. conference call prayer meeting Wednesday, daily devotional videos
• First United Methodist Church, Cullman – 8:30 a.m. Hispanic, 10:30 a.m. English on Sunday; daily devotional videos
• First United Methodist Church, Hanceville – 10:30 a.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
• Grace Episcopal Church, Cullman – 10 a.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. Wednesday; both via Zoom
• Holly Pond Full Gospel Church – ***
• Kingdom Life Church, Simcoe – noon Sunday, 7 p.m. Wednesday
• Life Church, Dodge City – 10 a.m. Sunday
• New Hope #2 Baptist Church – Jed Thomas sharing video messages on YouTube and Facebook
• Northbrook Baptist Church, Cullman – 10:30 a.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Wednesday, kids’ worship 6:30 p.m. Thursday
• Oak Level Baptist Church, between Berlin and Holly Pond – 11 a.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. Wednesday on Pastor Etsel Riddle’s personal page
• Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, Colony – 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. Wednesday
• Renovation Church, Cullman – drive-in service 10:30 a.m. Sunday, online 6:30 Wednesday
• Rocky Mount Primitive Baptist Church, Arab – 10:45 a.m. Sunday, 6:45 p.m. Wednesday
• Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, Cullman – 9:30 a.m. English Mass, 12 noon Spanish Mass on Sunday
• Saint John’s Evangelical Protestant Church, Cullman – 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. Wednesday
• Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church, Cullman – held regular services last Sunday, but Pastor John Bussman said that staff would try to set up 10:30 livestream for this Sunday
• South Cullman Church of Christ – 10 a.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Wednesday on Pastor Jim Deason’s personal page
• Temple Baptist Church – 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday, multiple Wednesday services starting at 6 p.m
• Vinemont Baptist Church – 11 a.m. Sunday
• West Point Baptist Church – 10:20 a.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, daily devotional videos

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