By Paige Vogt

Last week I attended church on my living room couch. As news about the coronavirus swept across the country, weekly services at my congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were paused in favor of a more intimate form of worship. My family’s at-home service went a little bit like this: opening hymn, prayers—toddler wrangling—scripture study and discussion—toddler nap—additional study, closing prayer. My husband and I dressed in our Sunday best, but put our feet up. We used a church-provided study guide called Come, Follow Me, but also went off script. It was messy and tender and unforgettable.

Many of the faithful in our community are exploring home-centered methods of worship as community gatherings come to a halt. Some livestream sermons, while others carry on with their early morning meditation and study. For local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, social distancing requirements have created an opportunity to spiritually reconnect as a family.

In Heather Lotti’s family, the right environment is key. “The first week, we held home church in the family room and it felt casual because that’s where the soggy couches were,” she said. “We moved it to the living room and it felt more special.” Though she misses the discussions and insights from her congregation, Heather also noticed the smaller gathering encouraged her 12-year-old son to more openly share his spiritual beliefs.

The kids take the lead at Annie and Greg Crowther’s home church. “They help decide who’s going to lead the music, give a spiritual thought, say a prayer,” said Annie. “They created a physical program and Greg and I have both taken turns playing the piano to accompany the songs.”  According to Greg, home-centered worship focuses us on how we can individually become more like Jesus Christ. “It allows us to figure out what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why it’s meaningful.”  Added Annie, “and when we go back to our meetinghouse, I know I will appreciate sharing that experience with the rest of the congregation even more.”

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