Many churches are beginning to meet again after several weeks of virtual services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While smaller churches may have ample space to continue social distancing, it's a bit more difficult for larger ones.
The city's largest church, World Outreach, met for the first time on campus this week - conducting services in their parking lot. An excited Pastor Allen Jackson welcomed those who attended:
He shared church will be different:
Walter Hill First Baptist Church met for the first time - in person - May 10th. However, they went back to online only worship this week after Pastor Shelby Smith said a member of their worship team came down with COVID-19:
Many of the larger churches already had an online presence and that is expected to continue to be offered as people decide what's best as we continue to fight against the spread of coronavirus.
But churches all over the community have been working to carefully plan for a safe and effective re-entry to campuses. While World Outreach is planning to continue outdoor services for the foreseeable future, Pastor Brady Cooper at New Vision says they're re-entry plan will begin the first of next month:
Some of the changes at most churches - those adhering to Governor Lee's Tennessee Pledge guidelines - include:
-- asking congregants to wearing face coverings
-- abiding by social distancing guidelines
-- not conducting children's activities and nursery programs
-- minimizing close personal contact like handshaking and sharing food and drink
-- and limiting the size of attendance in sanctuaries