Camden, N.J. – The spring is a time for religious holidays and with many turning to their faith during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office wants to share safe alternatives for in-person religious gatherings.

Under direct guidelines from Governor Phil Murphy in Executive Order 107, residents are required to stay home until further notice. Since the order, the federal government has recommended social gatherings be limited to ten people or less where six feet or two meters of social distancing is maintained at all times. On April 3, the New Jersey Department of Health issued a letter to religious leaders reminding them of these guidelines.

“If a religious group or organization tries to hold an event, it is impossible to predict how many will show up, possibly violating the guidelines,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “We understand how important it is for people to have an outlet to practice their faith, however, and want to encourage safe alternatives.”

New technology makes it very easy to record video or audio without expensive equipment; a sermon or event can easily be shared through an iPhone or Android phone and shared via email, social media, a website, YouTube or more.

If you would like to encourage participation, feedback or discussion, there are multiple services that allow live video. Facebook and Instagram each have live video options; Periscope is a tool that enables you to go live on Twitter. During the video, participants can comment and ask questions.

Visual interaction can be achieved through platforms like Zoom, HouseParty, Skype, FaceTime for iPhones, Instagram or any video chat software. They’re easy and free to download and set up with online tutorials available.

“While these are significant changes in how you worship, these temporary measures are the best way to protect not only yourself, but those around you,” said Mayer.