Lufkin churches host services, encourage masks to stop spread of COVID-19
LUFKIN , Texas (KTRE) -As cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in communities nationwide, the role of churches is unique. To many, Sunday services are essential, even with the risk of spread through mass gatherings.
Senior pastor Jerome Brimmage said the church will never turn a soul away, even during a pandemic.
“We’ve made an intentional decision that we’re going to worship and offer both online and in person worship. And encourage people to get vaccinated, encourage people to socially distance, and encourage people to wear a mask,” Brimmage said.
Brimmage said he recognizes every church operates differently. He says that many smaller churches in the area have stopped hosting funeral services or bigger gatherings, and First United Methodist Church remains a place they can turn to.
“Probably 85 percent-plus in our congregation believe in the vaccination and have gotten the vaccination as soon as it was available, and many of them are starting to get their boosters as well,” Brimmage said.
First Christian Church stopped services in March 2020 and went online until mid-June of that year. Masks were once mandatory at the church, but now with vaccines available, the church encourages masks. Jack Knox a senior minister at First Christian Church said he’s noticed a decline of attendees as cases in the area rise.
“I think we’ve seen a slight decline in the number of people who are coming to church on Sunday for in-person service. We do offer online worship, a streaming service. So I know people are still participating that way,” Knox said.
Knox recognizes church brings people of all ages together, young children ineligible for the vaccine, and the elderly.
“If they have a weakened immune system or are in one of the more vulnerable populations we encourage them to stay home,” Knox said.
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