How Places of Worship Are Using Storage Containers Amidst COVID-19

How Places of Worship Are Using Storage Containers Amidst COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly turned things upside down this year. Churches and other places of worship had to close their doors for many months, and some are still closed. Others are open now, but with social distance measures in place. Many religious organizations are finding they need places to accommodate overflow attendance, perhaps with a live stream feed to the sermon.

A storage container would make the perfect solution.

Churches are undeniably convenient gathering places, not just for daily or weekly worship purposes, but for weddings, sacraments, spiritual observance, blessings, and other events. Let’s take a look at the effect the pandemic has had on places of worship and how they can use shipping containers moving forward.

A Look at the Stats

Did you know 65% of American adults belong to a church or some kind of place of worship? This translates to about 160 million people in the United States. Many of them have been displaced from weekly Masses and other congregations, as well as major holiday gatherings. For instance, one of the largest church gatherings of the year is Easter, which happened during the middle of lockdowns back in April.

Ninety-percent of churchgoers said their churches had closed in response to the outbreak, according to PEW Research. For many of those religious organizations, their services had to move online, similar to the way in which offices and classrooms had to adjust. While this may be helpful for some, the traditional in-person interactions provided by a place of worship have disrupted that sense of community.

Just like with video calls for businesses and schools, the clarity and crispness of any interaction depends greatly on the Internet connection on either side, resulting in frequent interruptions or even missed services. How can churches enable worship without putting their parishioners at risk?

Shipping Containers as Temporary Churches

The concept of the shipping container has evolved from a simple cargo carrier into a durable, reliable building material. Hospitals, schools and restaurants have long been taking advantage of storage containers either for their business foundation or as extensions of their core offerings.

Churches are now being constructed using shipping containers with great urgency due to COVID-19. But the practice itself is really nothing new. One church in Los Angeles was awarded the American Institute of Architects Design Award for its innovative use of storage containers back in 2009.

Such shipping containers have been a huge help for churches, allowing them to rebuild or extend their services without having to finance another location at great expense. Take the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, for example. This popular 19th century stone cathedral was completely destroyed as a result. However, church leaders and parishioners came together to resurrect the church with four 20-foot shipping containers.

Why do shipping containers make excellent materials for these types of structures? They are:

  • Fireproof and waterproof, and can withstand harsh weather conditions
  • Durable, strong and sturdy
  • Easy to move from one location to another
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable, reducing the use of brick, steel and cement

With social distancing measures needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many churches have either closed down completely or limited their services. But with the use of shipping containers, churches are able to extend their spaces or make smaller spaces for those who want to visit every day.

Outside of the house of worship itself, containers can be used as mobile offices for church staff to perform administrative tasks or even as small classrooms for Bible school on Sundays.

Because shipping containers are so portable, mobile chapels can be moved to accommodate churchgoers who find it difficult to attend.

Once churches can fully reopen, rented containers may be returned to storage container providers, while purchased containers may be used for other events on an ongoing basis.

Contact Transocean Equipment Management

Looking to outfit a storage container for your place of worship or other repurposed use? We would be happy to assist you with pricing and terms. Please contact us today for a free quote.


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