For the past 25 years, Mike DuBose has been putting a face on the work of the United Methodist Church as a photojournalist for the denomination’s news agency. As COVID-19 has spread around the world, that face has been mostly covered by a mask.
These photos depict how, at their core, churches are about bringing people together. But in the interest of health, physical distancing, online worship and creative outdoor services have taken the place of the old standards. Those restrictions have shifted worship and outreach to the beach, sidewalks, food delivery centers, and sanitized, distanced chairs.
DuBose’s photos portray the creativity and determination of the church seeking ways to continue in ministry during these challenging times.
Clergy members gather in prayer during a vigil at McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville on 4 June to grieve and remember people lost to acts of racism. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.
Volunteer Dee Farr brings donated food to a client at the Branch of Antioch emergency food assistance program at Antioch (TN) United Methodist Church on 16 June. The program received a “Sheltering in Love,” grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief to assist vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Farr said she received assistance from the program and has been returning regularly to volunteer. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.
Rev. Steph Dodge blesses the elements of Holy Communion during an outdoor worship service at Glendale United Methodist Church in Nashville on 26 July. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.
Bob Cristopher unfurls the US flag on 9 August, prior to the Galilean Beach worship service, a ministry of Foley (Ala.) United Methodist Church at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, AL, while Sherrie Lynn Brewer warms up on the keyboard. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.
Rev. Nolan Donald gives the sermon 9 August, during the Galilean Beach service, a ministry of Foley (AL) United Methodist Church at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Ala., while a beach attendant lays out beach chair cushions in the background. The 7:30 a.m. service is over before most other beachgoers arrive. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.
Barbara Layden (front) joins with other parishioners in giving praise during worship at Franklin (TN) First United Methodist Church on 23 August. The church has adopted safety protocols, including no congregational singing, to help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.
Parishioners sit apart from one another during worship at Franklin (TN) First United Methodist Church on 23 August. The church, which recently returned to in-person worship, has adopted safety protocols, including social distancing, to help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.
Rev. Catie Newman prays with John Wm. Weaver in front of a neighbor’s wind-damaged home while a United Methodist volunteer team makes emergency repairs to his roof in Marion, Iowa on 28 August. Weaver’s mobile home was severely damaged during a derecho windstorm in August. Newman is the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Conference. Photo: Mike DuBose/UM News.