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Oklahoma faith briefs

The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City — The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

May 23-- May 23--Archdiocese sells former church site

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma recently sold a former church building in south Oklahoma City.The archdiocese sold the building that once housed Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at 3901 SW 29 to the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese in Chicago for $330,000.The Chicago-based diocese has an Oklahoma City affiliate called Holy Family Syro Malabar Catholic Church. Immaculate Conception closed its doors in 2018. Factors leading to the closure included the retirement of the church's pastor, the Rev. George Pupius (now deceased), changing populations and surrounding industrialization, according to the Sooner Catholic, the archdiocese's official newspaper. A final Mass was held at the church in July 2018.

More houses of worship prepare to reopen

Metro-area houses of worship are preparing for in-person worship after the COVID-19-related hiatus.

North Church, with locations in Oklahoma City and Guthrie, opened for in-person worship on Thursday, with its regularly scheduled Thursday night service. Both locations plan to host "Church on the Lawn" with free snow cones on Saturday. Regularly scheduled worship services also will be held on Sunday. For more information, go to https://north.church/#home.

Other churches also have set reopening dates.

The Gate Church, led by the Rev. Tony Miller, will host in-person worship at 10 a.m. on May 31. Other churches resuming in-person worship on May 31 include Quail Springs Baptist and First Baptist Church of Edmond.

In-person worship at Episcopal churches throughout the state may resume June 14, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. Mid-week services, meetings and all other gatherings continue to be suspended, and services such as burials or weddings may only be conducted in consultation with the Rt. Rev. Ed Konieczny, the diocese's bishop. In his guidelines to the diocese, Konieczny said the June 14 date may be rescinded in the interest of public health, if necessary.

Music in the COVID-19 era

New data from Faithlife Proclaim, a church presentation software from Faithlife, has identified the most-sung worship songs and popular lyrics among churches of all sizes and denominations across the country since the start of COVID-19 lockdowns.

The data, gathered between March 15-31 and April 20-May 10, compares worship song usage among nearly 12,000 Proclaim users in February before shelter-in-place mandates took effect.

Of 33 songs identified by Faithlife Proclaim, the top five used among churches throughout COVID-19 include:

--"It is Well With My Soul" by Horatio Spafford.

--"Great is Thy Faithfulness" by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm.

--"No Longer Slaves" by Jonathan and Melissa Helser.

--"Raise a Hallelujah" by Jonathan and Melissa Helser.

--"See a Victory" by Chris Brown, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram and Steven Furtick.

"It's inspiring to see how the popular song choices and lyrics therein among churches reflect themes of trust, faith and praise, even though the world is experiencing unprecedented hardship," said Bob Pritchett, Faithlife founder and chief executive officer.

"The Lord is working throughout this difficult time, and it's evident based on the worship song choices among churches that Christians in this country believe that to be true and are trusting Him to carry us through this pandemic."

Faithlife Proclaim is a cloud-based software that enables pastors, worship leaders and church laymen alike to easily create quality presentations that are engaging to the congregation. Proclaim is a product of Faithlife, a church technology company creating integrated ministry platforms such as church presentation software, academic study resources, e-books, mobile giving, church websites and Logos Bible Software.

To view the full insights of worship trends among churches throughout COVID-19, go to faithlife.com/covid19-worship-trends.

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