At a time when our reality is so frightening and uncertain, people are unable to comfort each other in their places of worship. Now more than ever, gospel music serves as an important tool to manage anxieties, ease fears, and inspire hope.
TheGrio caught up with award-winning gospel artist and minister Travis Greene to find out how he’s handling the quarantine and supporting his parishioners.
For many, one of the toughest aspects of coping with the coronavirus crisis has been that social distancing dictates folks stay away from their churches. Pastor Greene and his wife, Dr. Jackie Greene, co-founded the Forward City Church in Columbia, S.C. in 2015 and serve as co-pastors.
“If the world ever needed church, they need a place of refuge and hope right now,” he says.
Greene and his wife continue to keep in close contact with their congregation by relying on technology.
“It’s such an amazing time to have the technology that enables us to have FaceTime and Zoom and do different things to have that presence. There’s nothing like being in the same room but it has been very helpful,” he continues.
“We just did a Zoom last night with our volunteers and partners. We try to give them hope and laugh and share. We all did jumping jacks. We’re just trying to provide some hope and joy in moments like these. Our people are very encouraged. It’s not as prevalent here in South Carolina as it is in other places. people have been impacted mostly by their family members in different cities.”
The 36-year-old is currently social distancing with his wife and three sons, David Jace, Travis Joshua, and Jonathan Judah Willie.
“I have three kids at home and it feels like it’s 30 because they’re all under age five. We have a very noisy house,” he says.
“Our youngest will be a year old in about two weeks and he’s taking his first steps. I have a three-year-old and a five-year-old here too. I have all boys so it’s just so loud. My wife has a couple of friends who have been helping us with the boys so that has been a blessing. I really try to keep as much as I can as normal as possible. They’re on spring break this week so I plan to do some camping in the living room with them.”
While some couples are struggling to keep the peace in close quarters for such a long time, Greene and his wife are carving out time to spend together.
“My wife and I are trying to have a date night as well. We don’t really get to spend a whole lot of time with our families usually because we’re working and there’s school and obligations,” he adds.
“Our married relationships can grow deeper because we have the time to focus. That’s the positive we can look at from this time.”
The other positive is having plenty of time to work on new music.
“I have been writing a lot. I wrote a few songs for Tasha Cobbs Leonard for her upcoming album. I’m working on some collaborations with cool artists. I’ve really been writing a lot during this time. My mind is constantly running right now and I think I’m more creative in tough times than I am in the good times,” he admits.
“I want to come out of this having learned more and having grown internally.”