TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Churches continue to operate with health guidelines in place during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pastor Keith Cochran of West Jackson Street Baptist church said church leaders are continuing to follow the governor’s guidelines for safe worship including keeping at safe distances and wearing masks.
“We’re doing everything that we feel like is reasonable to keep people safe,” Cochran said.
The church currently has Sunday morning services and youth meetings on Wednesday nights.
The church livestreams to its website at 9:15 and 10:45 on Sunday mornings. Cochran said they do not yet have Wednesday night service or Sunday school.
“We’re asking people if you feel sick, if you have a fever, don’t come.”
For the in-person gatherings on Sunday mornings, the church spreads families out, two families to a pew. For every pew seating people, the next pew is roped off.
Cochran said people wipe down the church between each service. It takes them about 15 minutes. Doorknobs, pews, every surface someone might have touched gets sprayed and wiped with cleaner. The church asks everyone to wear masks and will give masks to people who need them.
The church’s elder population has not all returned yet.
“They have a health issue, they have an underlying issue, and they’re being wise about it,” Cochran said.
He added the younger population has not all come back either. He said one reason is the church doesn’t have a childcare program right now. The church also doesn’t have its choir.
For people coming to service, Cochran said the church asks people to wear a mask from their car to the pew. The church doesn’t take temperatures when people enter.
“So far, we’ve only had two or three people test positive out of four hundred and something, five hundred and something that didn’t normally come on Sundays,” Cochran said.
For tithes, people can give them near the entrance. Ushers also walk around with bowls during service. Cochran said no one passes the bowls around. The church also has an app. It can be found on the Play Store. Once open, a person can tap the icon on the bottom right that says “GIVING”. The app goes to a screen where people can put in their tithing amounts.
People can also use their phones to scan a Q-R code on cards in the pews to submit prayer requests.
“That’s what we’re about is worshipping Jesus and celebrating Him,” Cochran said. We’re ready to see people back comfortably doing that, but obviously not at the risk of their health.”
Cochran said services now have about 250 people. Normally they have about 450.