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Gary Babcock preaches for the Kent County Church of Christ in Coventry, Rhode Island.
Video still via YouTube

Virtual visit: Kent County Church of Christ, Rhode Island

My family and I are spending our quarantine worshiping with our home congregation, the Memorial Road Church of Christ, from home via livestream. When I get a few free minutes, I try to “visit” one of our sister congregations.

We’ve got a lot of churches on our livestream list, but only one (so far) in Rhode Island. The smallest state in the Union (size-wise, that is) has only a handful of Churches of Christ. The same goes for the rest of New England. So I was eager to tune in for worship with the Kent County Church of Christ in Coventry.

It’s a relatively new church, established in 2006, and has an average weekly attendance of 46. Gary Babcock and Tim Bonzagni were installed as elders in 2013. Babcock, a Rhode Island native, is also the church’s minister.

(The congregation is a much-appreciated supporter of The Christian Chronicle, I might add! Email me if your congregation would like to join our Honor Roll of Churches.)

The service is simple, with a cappella hymns pulled from YouTube. What stands out to me is the camera used for the prayers, Lord’s Supper and sermon. There’s an almost movie-like quality here, and the close-up focus really makes it feel like the church leaders are engaging directly with the congregation despite the circumstances. (Perhaps someone with expertise in videography can explain in the comments what camera and settings are used here.)

Erik Tryggestad

Virtual visit | Erik Tryggestad

Babcock’s measured and deliberate explanation of the Lord’s Supper is really good. His sermon focuses on living the abundant life.

“Even during the coronavirus there is abundant life in Christ,” he says. His main text is Titus 3:1-7. He’s careful to call out page numbers in addition to scripture references. I’m guessing these correspond with the “pew Bibles.” Perhaps some of the church members have them at home as well.

These words from verse 2 really resonated with me: “to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.” And these words from verses 8 and 9: “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

Gary Babcock talks about the Lord's Supper during Sunday worship in Rhode Island.

Gary Babcock talks about the Lord’s Supper during Sunday worship in Rhode Island.

Babcock links our own sense of restlessness as a nation to a relationship with the divine that’s lacking. We need to remember that through Christ we have an abundant life, regardless of our circumstances.

“Are you comforted?” Babcock asks. “I hope so! These words should comfort us. We have great blessings if we’re in Christ.”

Let me know if you like this feature. And please feel free to recommend other congregations for me to “visit.” Thanks.


Filed under: Covid and church COVID-19 Features livestream livestreaming National new england northeast Reviews rhode island virtual visit

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