By Jay Hinton

For the Glen Rose Reporter

GLEN ROSE — Despite the government’s declaration halting church services during the coronavirus pandemic, Glen Rose First United Methodist Church has still managed to fill its pews in the sanctuary for Sunday services.

Last week, Pastor Owen McKnight delivered his message close to 25, while live streaming to those unable to attend, and this week, FUMC is hoping to have even more.

“I was trying to think of ways that our members would have a ‘presence’ in church without actually being present,” said Gina Dieterichs, who is in her third year as the children’s minister. “A friend saw a post from a small church in Oklahoma who had done something similar.”

And just how is that being done? With paper likenesses of their members created by the members.

“It was first done to keep the spirits of the members up. It’s a lighthearted and fun activity but also shows that their presence is important,” said Dieterichs, who has prior experience as a marketing and development director for a nonprofit that served underprivileged children and families across Texas.

“They are also there to give Pastor Owen a smile on Sundays,” she said. “Although he can see we are watching his live streams, it is nice to remind him that we support him and can’t wait to fill the seats again with our own faces and bodies.”

Dieterichs said Pastor Owen was very supportive of the idea when she approached him with it.

“The congregation loves a challenge,” she said. “They enjoyed an opportunity to be creative and to have some fun during this time. My 8-year-old daughter and I spent some time making our faces (and my husband’s). I took pictures of ours and shared them on our Children’s Ministry Facebook site, my personal site and the Glen Rose FUMC site.”

In addition, she added instructions and ideas on how to make them and asked members to drop them in a box on the porch of the Family Center. On Saturday, she placed them in the sanctuary. She is hoping for more this week.

“We have had a great response so far,” she said. “People of all ages have participated. Family members have made faces for each other, which is also fun, and the smallest kids have made theirs, too. They are all unique and amazing just like our members. We have several complete families in attendance.”

Even adding more to the fun, Dieterichs said she’s trying her best to position the families where they normally sit.

“Right now, I am working my way from the front to the back leaving families together,” she said. “If we start to fill up, I will try my best to put them in their ‘regular’ seats, but for now they are all near the front.”

Although it is a fun way to show support, it also helps families continue to focus on what most important.

“This is a fabulous activity to take our minds off of the current uncertainty that is happening in the world,” she said. “Creating the faces using things at home and making images of ourselves and families can add some giggles and fun to our days.”