County Christians undergo test of faith

Emanuel Baptist Pastor Peter Spragg preached to an empty sanctuary on Sunday morning as the Bloomfield church closed its doors and delivered its service online. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)


At a time when Christians in Prince Edward County could use an extra dose faith, their worship options have become extremely limited.

Most if not all churches in Prince Edward County have stopped in person worship services until at least Palm Sunday (April 5).

Some whose congregation numbers fall below the threshold of 50 that weren’t mandated to pause worship gatherings as a result of the State of Emergency announced in Ontario due to the Coronavirus pandemic were still weighing their options this week but it appears that preaching, the singing of hymns and the shouting of hosanna and hallelujah won’t be echoing in local churches over the next few Sundays.

Averaging about 250 people per service, Bloomfield’s Emanuel Baptist Church took the proactive step last week of announcing it was reducing its usual Sunday morning activities to its live streaming service at

Pastor Peter Spragg admitted it was a surreal feeling preaching to an empty church Sunday morning.

“At the beginning of the week we had discussions about how we were going to address the Coronavirus but between Monday and Friday so much had happened that we made the decision to go this route,” Spragg told the Gazette. “We typically have about 250 at the 9 a.m. and the 11 a.m. services so we chose lets cancel everything and conduct services online.”

The pastor added the church was hopeful and willing to assist anyone or any family that finds themselves in quarantine.

“Anyone that is in quarantine are encouraged to reach out if they need food delivered or need to hear a voice and it doesn’t have to be a regular congregation member, we are all in this together,” Spragg said.

With a global pandemic at Canada’s door and death rates from the novel coronavirus climbing hourly, Spragg said there’s been plenty of conversations amongst believers about what this all means.

“It’s amazing some of the conversations that we’ve all been having. Is this the end of the world? What’s coming next? and there’s also stories about people how are stuck overseas and need prayer. There are people whose investments have fallen through the floor and folks who are on unstable ground  financially all of a sudden,” Spragg said. “As Christians, we want to come alongside people and be there for them at this time. It’s typically in times like these people start to ask ‘Where is God?’ and they look for God. Jesus said ‘Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.’ In times of great difficulty and world-wide catastrophes, people realize they need more than what they have so they ask questions.”

“God said ‘My Peace I give to you’ and God gives us a peace even in the midst of COVID-19. Even though we might wonder why this is happening, we can know that God is there and offering peace in the midst of it,” the pastor added.

Services are archived online and  for those that don’t have online capably, services are available on compact disc and arrangement to receive those services can be made by calling the Emanual Baptist at 613-393-2234.