A video of a worship service happening inside a Walmart, reportedly in North Versailles, Pennsylvania, has the internet chirping. The churchgoers took to Walmart to come together in worship, as churches have been closed, but Walmarts are open.
The video was recorded by Nancy Halford and posted to her Facebook page, where it has been viewed over 1.1 million times.
The video shows congregants singing "Our God Is Greater," "Waymaker," "Great Are You Lord," and "We Worship You." People sing in praise, and everyone seems to be recording the happening via cell phone.
A site called Faithpot reports that Halford works at the North Versailles Walmart, and "immediately dropped what she was doing when she heard them singing."
Customers appear to join in as well, and the Walmart is soon ringing with the sounds of praise.
It was on April 3 that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf asked religious leaders in that state to "consider alternate forms of worship" as a result of the coronavirus. Wolf said "Religious leaders are encouraged to find alternatives to in-person gatherings and to avoid endangering their congregants. Individuals should not gather in religious buildings or homes for services or celebrations until the stay-at-home order is lifted."
A Philadelphia pastor, Franky Rodriguez of the CDA Community Church, said at the time that "In more than 2000 years the church has faced and survived many adversities, including two world wars, The Spanish Flu and The Great Plague. The church is not going to go away because we the people of God are the church! In times of trouble the Church gets closer, not further apart.
"This is not a physical closeness, it’s a spiritual one. Although we will not be in the same physical location, we have the technology to share the word of God. This Easter the Church is still united like every other Easter, with thanksgiving, prayer and supplication for the inhabitants of the world. So, let’s be responsible and be together, apart."
Governor Wolf's directives were clear that there were no official restrictions on houses of worship, but they have primarily closed their doors at the guidance of religious leaders.
The people of North Versailles, however, came together to share prayer songs and community in one of the only places that the state allowed people to do so at the time, on June 26.
The state has since entered the "green" phase of reopening, which means that Department of Health guidelines must be followed, but that "aggressive mitigation orders lifted."