We are all appropriating the new way of life caused by this pandemic from working at home (if you are not an essential worker) or not working, homeschooling, and to our spiritual, religious, and mental needs. Many churches have proceeded to worship online using Facebook live, zoom, and their websites. Still, one church and Pastor here in Chicago has effectively adapted to our “new normal” and has transposed worship and the way to connect to his congregation and community so that their spiritual, emotional, and mental needs are continuously reached.
Meet Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III. Senior Pastor of the well-known Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of Chicago dubbed “The greatest church on this side of the Jordan.” Pastor Moss was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Cleveland, OH, where both his parents were staples in the civil rights movement, and both were friends of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, Dr. King officiated their marriage ceremony. Being apart of civil rights and progressive action in the black community was a part of Pastor Moss’s development, so when it comes to challenging circumstances, especially concerning the black community and spiritual community, Rev. Moss is a pro.
Rev. Moss started at Trinity in a crisis. His very first week as Pastor of TUCC was when then-Senator, Barrack Obama, a former member of the church, was running for President. “Conservatives were attacking Trinity, trying to derail Senator Obama’s campaign and undermine the legacy of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., [the then Senior Pastor],” Says Pastor Moss. Now once again, Pastor Moss is serving in a crisis. Rev Moss says, “Someone joked with me and said you are the expert on how to lead in this city when it comes to a crisis, and I said, you know, I think I agree with you.”
Trinity has now gone entirely digital during this time; however, they had a bit of a leg up as not only do they have a digital footprint so that they can reach their congregation which many reside outside of Chicago, the state and the country but also a few weeks before the pandemic they began their Experiencing God Bible Study which is a physical and digital class made up of over 3000 participants. The bible studies digital plan was created for those who reside outside of Chicago or for those who cannot attend the class in person. Pastor Moss explains that they are prepared to go completely digital because of the work that has been put into the Experiencing God Bible Study.
“We just shifted from what we’ve been doing on Wednesday with bible study.”
Trinity and Rev. Moss have truly upped their game every week to service their village virtually and digitally, and they have many volunteers from the community and from those who currently serve on their team.
“We connect with our seniors, making sure that we are calling everyone on our robotic calls to Facebook live to our services that are streamed three times on Sunday and sending out our e-newsletter. We’re going to be preparing virtual workouts, videos that will show you how to cook “cooking in a pandemic.” And we’ve added a children’s church portion on Sundays. That’s additional children’s church and a 30 minute time period that parents will have to themselves while their children will be looking at the screen and learning something and so that parents can do some things in that process because it’s a challenge when you have all your children at home at the same time.”
Here is a list events at Trinity happening weekly:
Virtual Church Service 7:30am, 11:00am and 6:00pm
Virtual Youth Worship Service: Tots/Children – 9:30am; Youth/Teens 10:00am
E-newsletter with Health Updates
Midweek Manna Worship Service 11:30am
War Room Prayer Service at 6:00pm
Experiencing God Bible Study at 7:00pm
Pastor Mosses Prayer Call at 12:00pm
Wellness Checks – Ministers stay in touch with every member with a phone call
Facebook live mental and spiritual health check-inn with Pastor Moss.
Digital Workout and Cooking Classes
Also, ministries throughout the church are joining in the movement with virtual meetings such as the Young Adult Ministries Virtual Wind Down, which will be held on Zoom.
Trinity has also just partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and has now become a food distribution site, which anticipates serving 300-500 clients.
You can find out more about Trinity and Pastor Moss over on
trinitychicago.org Facebook – facebook.com/trinitychgo/ and Instagram – instgram.com/trinitychgo/