North Alabama churches taking precautions amid coronavirus concerns

There are no cases of the coronavirus in Alabama, but church pastors told us they want to be prepared.

Posted: Mar 11, 2020 6:38 PM

In North Alabama, people are taking precautions to stay healthy as other states continue to report cases of coronavirus.

We talked to several churches, who told us they're making sure their congregation is health-aware and making small changes.

The Athens location of Clements Baptist Church off Highway 72 will keep its doors open for now.

We spoke with the lead pastor on what changes they're making.

The staff at Clements Church say they don't want to alarm anyone but they are being proactive rather than reactive.

They're saying no to shaking hands... But a big yes to bumping elbows.

"Have we heightened it just a tad, well of course we have. But at the same time it's just trying to be wise. We've told our folks instead of the Christian hugs these days... It's the Christian elbow bump," said Pastor Tim Anderson.

Anderson told us they've not only changed the way they want folks to greet each other, but they've also added more hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the church.

Anderson told WAAY 31 he hasn't seen a change in the amount of people who attend his church.

"It's been steady. I think the talk that's out there has probably alarmed some folks and rightfully so. It's something to take serious for sure," he said.

The coronavirus is not yet in Alabama but it has hit almost every neighboring state.

Two pastors in Huntsville told us they learned that churches in other states are even looking at stopping physical tithing and going to digital platforms for sermons.

The Diocese of Birmingham shared instructions on ways to prevent the spread of illnesses.

Which includes changing parts of how communion is offered.

But Anderson told us he has this to say for his church members.

"Pray. Just pray,"

The staff isn't looking at shutting down the church physically and going to everything online, but they are watching the coronavirus to see how it grows and how it can impact their community.

In Washington, D.C., the health department says a priest who tested positive for coronavirus could have spread the disease to as many as 500 people.

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