Danbury Pastor Goes Online To Battle Coronavirus, And Wins – Danbury, CT Patch

Posted: April 11, 2020 at 7:21 pm

DANBURY, CT In the week before the holiest day on the Christian calendar, some pastors have been defiantly flouting the social distancing recommendations of public health officials by continuing to hold services. In some states, where recent laws passed in the wake of the new coronavirus limit the size of assemblies, this has resulted in arrests.

Joe Vassak, pastor of Northeast Baptist Church in Danbury, is having none of that. Vassak says that he started "paying attention" to the threat of the new coronavirus around the end of February, and mandated his congregation stop shaking hands during services then.

"I don't have the answers for all of society or even for the City of Danbury," Vassak said. "But my responsibility is to the group of people who call me 'pastor.' I encouraged them to stay home."

The following week, as the virus quickly spread, the pastor mandated a total "no contact" rule, and stopped activities like Sunday School classes where large groups met inside. About three weeks ago, the church stopped meeting for public Sunday services completely.

"I took everything we did in all three weekly services and put it on video and loaded it up on YouTube, and requested that everybody (in the congregation) watch it at the same time," the pastor told Patch. He had hoped to livestream all the services, but discovered that his Wi-Fi lacked sufficient bandwidth. He said he had made arrangements for an IT services company to fix that right before the State put travel restrictions on non-essential services.

Vassak, who celebrated his 25th year as pastor at NBC last year, also hosts a radio show on WLAD Sunday mornings from 7-7:30. His weekly podcasts are distributed by Apple and iHeartMedia. He's no stranger to technology. But just like the operator of any small brick-and-mortar business forced to "go virtual" in the Age of COVID-19, he had concerns he might lose some of his regulars at 101 East Pembroke Road when he went brought everything onto the internet.

God, as it turns out, provides.

"We actually get twice as many views of the videos as people who used to show up!" the pastor said.

Vassak says he shares the same "concerns over the First Amendment" that are leading to jail time for some of his colleagues, and he is following the debate very closely.

"If circumstances don't line up with what they're asking us to do at some point, then I'm prepared to do what I have to do to make sure nobody's pulling a fast one on us," Vassak said. "But I don't think that's what's going on now."

In the meantime, he says he remains focused on leading his flock to the other side of the pandemic healthy, alive and connected. And the absolute only way out of this, Vassak says, is prayerfully. He says he and his congregation are investing extra time and effort to prayer since the start of the outbreak.

"That's my message: Pray. Trust the Lord," Vassak said. "As far as our country goes, pray for our leaders, pray for the protection and healing of our people, and for the Lord to turn our hearts towards Him."

There's a fine art to this age-old cooking technique. Here's how to get perfect hard-boiled eggs this Easter.

By Megan VerHelst, Patch Staff

Continued here:
Danbury Pastor Goes Online To Battle Coronavirus, And Wins - Danbury, CT Patch

Related Post