Reconciling Back to Church During A Pandemic

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Sherlett Newbill and Lake Papelera

By Michelle Lyons, IT Contributor

Many Christians have compared 2020 to Armageddon. As crazy as this year has been, it has not been the end of the World. Just perhaps “the end of the World as we know it” to quote The Beatles, but definitely not Armageddon.

Nevertheless, thousands of people this year have reconciled back to Church or joined church for the first time.

“Covid-19 has drastically increased our membership because we are living in uncertain times during a global pandemic that has killed over 300,000 Americans. A lot of people are anxious and afraid. Nothing gets rid of fear and anxiety like enhancing your spiritual life,” says Sherlett Newbill.

Sherlett Newbill is the Family Group Bible Study Leader for LA International Church of Christ (LAICC).

LA International Church of Christ (LAICC) is a branch of the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) and has been servicing LA County virtually for years. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic online services have been their only option.

Presently International Churches of Christ (ICOC) has over 620 churches worldwide, and 8 regional churches in LA County.

Every Sunday morning, each region has a virtual service on YouTube. Afterwards, members fellowship for an hour on Zoom.

Zoom is a new feature that the church has been using extensively since quarantine began. The church uses Zoom for: fellowship, Sunday services, midweek services, and bible studies.

 “Zoom has made everything more convenient. I have been able to host up to 8 bible studies a week. I could never do this if I were driving around in LA Traffic,” said Newbill.

Before COVID-19, Newbill use to drive to bible studies and church gatherings once or twice a week max. She is a mom of two young children, and she has a husband so time would not permit her to overextend herself.

“But now, I don’t know if I will ever go back to bible studies in person because I can spread the gospel around the World virtually. This allows me to evangelize with more people from the comfort of my kitchen table and spend more time with my family. To God be the Glory,” said Newbill.

Newbill has been with LAICC for twenty-five years. She started when she was a student at CAL State Long Beach getting her master’s degree in Psychology.

Lake Papelera has been a member of the LAICC for 13 years. She said, “Covid-19 Quarantine is nothing I can personally complain about either. I feel like the World needed a reset. Time to pray and focus on the things that really matter.”

Papelera is a Wisconsin native and prefers the slower lifestyle that quarantine has provided over the hustle-and-bustle of Los Angeles. “Coming from the Midwest, Los Angeles has always seemed hectic to me. But now traffic is light, I work in my pajamas, and I have time to relax and meditate. This is something I needed,” said Papelera.

Papelera and Newbill met many years ago, both were students at Cal State Long Beach where they oversaw the singles ministry. Now, both ladies are married.

Presently, Papelera assists Newbill with those studying the bible. Papelera’s advice to newcomers is to read a proverb a day. “The book of Proverbs has 30 books, that’s one chapter a day. My Campus Pastor Steve Stevenson use to say a proverb a day keeps folly away,” says Papelera.

Both ladies have been extra busy with the Church during Covid-19 because many people are reconciling back to Church. Thanks to Zoom they can host disciplines or anyone wanting to join the church worldwide.

For anyone looking to join a church, you can reach out to The Westside Church of the LA International Church of Christ at www.thewestsidechurch.com or https://www.laicc.net for a service near you.

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