Next week is usually one of the busiest of the year for churches, but WAAY 31 learned religious leaders aren't just changing their plans, they're planning for a potential financial burden.
Because of the coronavirus, churches will be empty on Palm Sunday and Easter. That's the main reason one pastor WAAY 31 spoke to said he's thankful churches are part of the federal government's Coronavirus Relief Act.
"It's going to be different but it still can be fun and creative," Darius Crayton, the pastor at Bridge Builders Church International in Decatur, said.
Crayton has been the pastor at the church for 18 years. This year, his church and others are finding unique ways to share Palm and Easter Sunday sermons. He told me people can drive up to the church and stay in their cars while he stands out side and preaches the sermon.
"We started last week doing the drive up church so we'll be doing that this week and Easter as well," he said.
With two significant weekends coming up, Crayton said not only are churches having to come up with a way to share their message, but some are also being hurt financially because people aren't able to give their tithes and offerings in person.
"Some of our seniors or just people who are not saavy with texting to give, or giving online, it could have an impact," Crayton said.
It's why the federal government included providing relief to local churches in the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act. Churches can apply to have two and a half months of financial assistance during this time.
Crayton says he's appreciative.
"It's good to know that the federal government has thought about the local church in it's assessment of the needs that are taking place," he said.
He said even though things are rough right now, it's important to stay positive and keep praying.
"Let's not talk about the virus, let's start speaking to the virus and let's call it done and let's eradicate from our coast and from this world so we could all be safe and sound and live a good life," he said.
Crayton joined other Decatur officials during a Wednesday morning coronavirus update press conference. He represented the faith based community and spoke about the impact the virus is having, and how churches are doing their best to keep their heads up and be there for the community in any way they can.