Yes, the Doors of the Church Are Open as Local Congregations Help Contain Coronavirus

-By Gypsy C. Gallardo for Power Broker Media Group  

“The building might be closed, but the gates of hell shall not prevail against God’s church,” said Pastor Kenny Irby, when he announced on Saturday via Facebook that his church – Historic Bethel AME in St. Petersburg – would host its first online service this Sunday. He is pictured above, delivering his sermon, on March 22nd.

Irby’s flock and many other community churches have shutdown their face-to-face Sunday services as a precaution against the further spread of the Coronavirus. As of Sunday night, Florida health officials had registered over 1,000 cases in Florida. By Monday midday, the figure stood at nearly 1,200.

Some in the community are taking exception to the unprecedented move, as Pastors continue to reassure that the temporary move is a must in order to stop the spread of the virus, especially among elders who are at higher-risk of infection. A great many churches are busy migrating their services to online platforms as a way to sustain their ministries, and this past Sunday, internet-based services in St. Petersburg drew thousands of video views.

Pastor Carlos Senior of New Hope Missionary Baptist says he and church elders heard strong feelings about the cancellation of live, face-to-face church services. In response, he announced on Saturday, March 21st that both face-to-face and online streaming services would be offered by New Hope.

He isn’t alone in creatively responding to the health crisis. Here’s a round-up of some of the faith community’s response to the pandemic in South St. Petersburg. To add your church’s services to this line-up, email us at

Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church

Pastor Louis Murphy

Mt. Zion Progressive moved to online services on Wednesday, March 18th for Bible Study, and hosted its first videotaped Sunday service on March 22nd. Service aired via Facebook Live and has so far been viewed over 3,500 times.

Online Service Access: Join Sunday Service at 9:00 AM on Facebook Live @MZPMBC or if unable to join online, please call-in to service at 712-770-5603 Access code 910772#. The recorded service is available for play back all day at 712-770-5602 Access Code 910772#.

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church

Pastor Carlos Senior

New Hope is offering face-to-face services limited to 50 in attendance with strict safety protocols in place to protect those drawn to worship together. Pastor Senior is also creating online content, which he says could help the church reach a whole new generation for Christ.

  • Online Service Access: Watch Sunday Service Live at 10:30 AM at (click the Watch Live button in the center of the home page).
  • Telephone Access: The Renovation 2020 Prayer-Line still convenes Monday-Friday at 6 AM; call 727-867-9155 to be connected with the church.
  • Intercessory Prayer Team: New Hope’s Intercessory Prayer Team will conduct prayer sessions through teleconferencing on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM

Historic Bethel AME Church

Pastor Kenny Irby

Online Service Access: Historic Bethel AMEC’s Virtual Worship Celebration will be held @BethelAMEStpetersburg Facebook Live Page on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM.

Special Revival Services: The Sizzling St. Petersburg District Revival will be held on March 23rd and 24th at 7 PM on both evenings, via conference call (Join by Phone: 605-313-6270 Access Code: 526621), led by:

  • Rev. Joyce Moore, Presiding Elder
  • Rev. Adam Richardson, Jr., Presiding Prelate
  • Mrs. Connie Richardson, Episcopal Supervisor
  • Rev. Kenneth Irby, Revival Chairperson

Bethel Community Baptist Church

Pastor Manuel Sykes

Online Service Access: Watch Sunday Services Live on Facebook @BethelCommunityBaptist at 9:30 AM.

Maximo Presbyterian Church

Pastor Bobby Musengwa

Online Service Access: Watch Sunday Services 11:00 AM Live via Facebook Live @Maximopresbyterian.

Pinellas Community Church

Pastor Mark Canfield

Online Service Access: Visit to Live Stream Sunday Services 9:00 AM & 11:00 AM.

Allendale UMC St. Pete

Pastor Andy Oliver

Allendale UMC adjusted quickly to the “stay home” orders. The congregation has created a portal, listing over a dozen daily online activities including worship services.

Online Service Access: Visit for all Virtual Gatherings and Live Worship times and listings.

 New Faith Free Methodist Church

Interim Pastor Elizabeth Siplin

The congregation of New Faith Free Methodist is still recovering from recent passing of its Senior Pastor, Rev. Curtiss Long, during the holiday season. Interim Pastor Liz Siplin is working with diverse church leaders to steady the ship.

Online Service Access: Watch Live Sunday Services at 11:00 AM on Facebook @Newfaithfmc.

Mt. Zion Church of St. Petersburg

Pastor G. Gregg Murray

Pastor Gregg Murray announced this weekend that he would feature live and other content via social media daily to help his congregation manage during uncertain times. His video message on Sunday had the following instructions: “Feel free to hit me up to my inbox for a chat. I am here for you. As you all, who write to me, already know, I answer my inbox messages. I will also be doing daily “A WORD TO LIVE BY” videos, and continuing to post what God gives me to give you. During this time, I will make every attempt to increase my daily post messages output on all of my Social Media Ministry platforms…By his grace, I will continue to love, encourage, and feed God’s children. Thank you for supporting the ministry. We will get through to the other side of this. This too shall pass.”

To add your congregation’s online services to this listing, or to send additional information to be included above, please email 


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