Black Chicago churchgoers join one-quarter of Americans who say their faith's grown stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic

Javonte Anderson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Religious News

"Alright, choir, y'all better sing!" she typed while watching an online service.

"It encourages and excites everyone, so they feel like we're there together enjoying the experience," Nero said about the communal participation online during religious services.

Each Sunday, Nero and her family eat breakfast, then line up some chairs in front of the couch for her three children, and the family watches the service on television, she said. They also stream it on their tablets or phones so that they can be the "peanut gallery," she said.

"It's still an event," Nero said. "We're up, giving our full attention."

Muriel Nelson-Godfrey, a member at New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 1252 S. Wolcott Ave. on the Near West Side, said she enjoys watching multiple church services on Sundays. She is standing firm in her beliefs and relying on Scripture, particularly Isaiah 54:17, which tells of the God of the Israelites keeping the faithful safe, to keep her grounded.

"He said no weapon formed against me shall prosper, so when he says that I know for a fact that the weapons will form, but they won't prosper."

Johnson, who avoided becoming a casualty of COVID-19, understands the power of that Bible verse.

It's been more than a week since he left the hospital, and he is still grateful.

As he spoke from the comfort of his home recently, he grew emotional as he recalled what could have been the end for him.


He admitted he questioned why God would let him, a man with kidney disease, catch the virus. But the moment was fleeting.

"God said, 'I got something for you to do,'" Johnson said as his voice cracked, and he began to weep.

"Thank you, Lord," he muttered.

"Thank you."

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