Faith Leaders Build Online Presence To Reach Worshipers


On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how to stay connected to one’s faith while houses of worship are closed. We also bring you a few moments of Zen, courtesy of the West Virginia Botanic Garden, and we listen to this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

If you were raised in Morgantown or went to WVU in the 1970s, you probably remember going for a swim with friends at the reservoir that was once the city’s water supply. Today, the site is home to the West Virginia Botanic Garden, an 85-acre non-profit nature preserve. West Virginians can still get outside during the coronavirus pandemic, while practicing appropriate social distancing. Senior Producer John Nakashima recently spent some time at the Botanic Garden and brings us this audio postcard.

In times of turmoil, people often seek comfort in places of worship, but those places are inaccessible now, as a result of social distancing requirements. In this weekend’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear from two faith leaders who are offering online services in the wake of the coronavirus: Pastor David Johnston of Concord United Methodist church in Athens, and Rabbi Victor Urecki, of the B’nai Jacob synagogue in Charleston.

San Francisco band leader and journeyman rocker Chuck Prophet performed songs from his album Let Freedom Ring, recorded, coincidentally, during the early onset of the H1N1 virus, in Mexico City, Mexico in 2009. Prophet and his band wore their masks to the studio, all the while enduring the regular power outages common in the area resulting in multiple lost takes.

Here’s Chuck Prophet performing “Hot Talk” live on Mountain Stage as our Song of the Week.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Our Appalachia Health News project is made possible with support from CAMC and Marshall Health.

West Virginia Morning is produced with help from Caitlin Tan, Jessica Lilly, Kara Lofton, Liz McCormick, Dave Mistich, Eric Douglas, Corey Knollinger, Emily Allen, and Roxy Todd. Brittany Patterson produces our show.

Our news director is Glynis Board. Our host is Teresa Wills.

Listen to West Virginia Morning weekdays at 7:43 AM on WVPB Radio, or subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode. #WVMorning