MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Pastors of all denominations in Pike Road and Montgomery are working collectively to organize a reopening plan for churches in the area.
Coronavirus cases continue to climb and advice from healthcare officials has helped them conclude that it’s not quite time to open their houses of worship for in-person services.
“When the numbers of cases and new infections decline in Montgomery, over a 14-day period, our medical advisory team will give us the green light to go back and to meet in person,” said Jay Wolf, lead pastor at First Baptist Church Montgomery. “What we don’t want to do is inadvertently become an outbreak center and then hurt our hospitals and our hospital personnel. They are already overtaxed and exhausted.”
Together, pastors are encouraging the community to stay vigilant and keep following guidelines. They said the community’s safety is their top priority and that rushing into reopening would only be putting people more at risk.
“Whenever you think you ought to start, wait another week, because if you’re going to make a mistake, make it on the side of waiting too long rather than going back too quickly,” said Dr. John Ed Mathison, Pastor Emeritus at Frazer United Methodist Church.
“The best way that we can love our neighbor as ourselves and to do unto others as they would do unto us is to take this slow,” added Jay Cooper, the senior minister at First United Methodist.
“I think we have a unique opportunity to really become the community that God has called us to be,” said Richard Williams, the lead pastor at Metropolitan United Methodist Church. “And it doesn’t require us to rush or to open up a facility knowing that it may cause harm to our neighbor.”
Churches continue to spread their messages virtually and some are having outdoor services. They said that although church doors may be closed, ministry is still wide open.
“We’re actually doing what we’re called to do as a church in the same way that we did before, in fact even greater,” said Kyle Searcy, lead pastor at Fresh Anointing House of Worship. “So there is just no pressure to feel like we absolutely have to get back under the roof.”
Pastors said now more than ever should be the time to lean on one another.
“This is the time, now more than ever, for us to think about another person, to think about another human being,” said Cooper.
“Let’s pull together. Let’s be united. Let’s fight the virus,” said Wolf. “And we can do it through simple hygiene practices, social distancing, and when we are around each other, wear a mask.”
“Encourage one another just to be good to your neighbor. Love your neighbor as you love yourself as Jesus said and one of the ways we do that is by protecting our neighbor by wearing masks,” said Lester Spencer, lead pastor at Saint James United Methodist Church.
“The work of wearing a mask really shares with someone that I care about you the same way that them wearing a mask shows that they care about you,” said Williams.
“Hang on for a little while longer. We will get through this together,” Cooper said.
Pastors ask that you stay up to date on their social media sites for the latest updates on when their particular church plans to open their doors.