Triangle-area churches prepared to hold virtual, drive-in services for at least another month

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The governor’s updated order means churches will not be allowed to open their doors again until at least the end of May.

Sunday worship looks different for everyone these days.

Some churches, like World Overcomers Christian Church, are sticking with online services.

“It’s just a new reality. It’s a whole new world,” said Pastor Andy Thompson with World Overcomers.

Other churches, like Fuquay-Varina Baptist Church, are holding drive-in services. Although a success so far, Pastor Eddie Eaton with Fuquay-Varina Baptist Church worries drive-in services won’t be feasible as it gets hotter outside.

“We’re walking that fine line of how far can we go with the drive-in service and then when do we need to go back to live-streaming or hopefully be able to come into a facility,” said Eaton.

At the earliest, Gov. Roy Cooper’s current plan says churches could reopen with restrictions at the end of May. That’s if the state continues to see progress with COVID-19 numbers.

Eaton said he supports the governor’s timeline. He said when they reopen, he hopes it can be with 20 percent occupancy, like essential businesses are doing now, and grow from there.

“Everybody’s on a learning curve and I think everybody’s on the same page that we need to be careful with this because we have seen how explosive this thing can be and how many deaths can occur,” said Eaton. “We want to make our people feel comfortable coming back. It’s going to be a slow trickle.”

Thompson said he’s following the governor’s plan but being a mega-church, he doesn’t think they’ll reopen until mass gatherings across the country do, like sporting events.

“I want us to come together when we can come together — without masks and without fear — and until then, it’s our job to figure out a way to get the gospel to them where they are,” said Thompson. “As a community, we will get over this. It’s just an excellent time for us to dig down deep and find out where we really are.”

The North Carolina Council of Churches released a statement this week supporting the efforts of elected officials. The council said they’re in favor of keeping social distancing in place for as long as credible health officials recommend and implementing strong economic policies to protect the vulnerable. 

Wake County clarified this week how churches can safely practice communion, financial giving and handouts under the stay-at-home order.You can find those recommendations here: http://www.wakegov.com/news/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1229

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