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story.lead_photo.caption Russell Cobb began his pastoral duties at California's United Christian Church Nov. 7, 2018. Photo by Liz Morales / California Democrat.

Churches in California have had to quickly adapt thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, coming up with some alternative ways to host worship services to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on social distancing.

First Baptist Church, for example, has suspended all church services and activities through April 1. First Baptist will continue Sunday services via Facebook live at 9:30 a.m. and through KRLL 1420 at 10:30 a.m. Across the board, churches in California are mirroring these moves, pivoting to formats that keep congregations at home and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community, a task that church leaders around town are taking seriously.

"First Baptist Church is monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely," Pastor Jeremy Anderson said. "Our leadership is in regular contact with local officials and is prepared to make any necessary adjustments to our church schedule if needed. We are praying for our community and are ready and willing to show California that we love them by praying for them and serving them through this crisis."

United Church of Christ of California and Salem United Church of Christ canceled Wednesday night Lent services as well as Sunday worship services, planning to reassess things the week of April 3. In the meantime, they will be livestreaming both services online. Offering can be given via e-giving by visiting their website, mail or drop off at the church.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation and staying in contact to make the necessary decisions to ensure good health for everyone that attends our services," Pastor Russell Cobb said. "We did a deep cleaning at both churches of door handles, church pews, nurseries and all public areas."

St. Paul's Lutheran Church canceled all church services and activities through March. St. Paul's will also make use of the airwaves, with its Sunday service broadcasted over KRLL radio like First Baptist, as well as through livestreaming on the church's Facebook page. Offering can be dropped off at the church or mailed to 207 N. Owen St. California, MO 65018.

First Christian Church, like others across the community, similarly decided to cancel in-person worship services Sunday for another week and stream services via its Facebook page in the meantime. One difference from First Christian's end is its offer of a drive-through communion for those who would like to participate.

Main Street Baptist Church decided to cancel all church activities until March 29 and will continue services by streaming on Facebook live. United Methodist Church mirrored that move.

"We did our first abbreviate worship service this past weekend on our Facebook page," Pastor Gene Moeller said. "We plan on continuing to keep contact with our membership through our Facebook page for now until we get further notice or make further decisions."

Church leaders across the community encouraged their members to keep the current situation in their prayers and to remember that they're always welcome to reach out if they or someone they know is in need.

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