When a church becomes more than a church: Local churches cautiously resume gatherings

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Churches in Carroll County have begun to open with safety precautions, advised by the TN Department of Health, but some members are still encouraged to remain at home if they feel they are at an increased risk at contracting COVID-19.

“There are still other members who do not feel comfortable in an enclosed public space. We understand their concerns and encourage them to attend once they feel safe,” said Pastor Arthur Lodge of the First Presbyterian Church in Huntingdon, when describing his church’s reopening.

However, for many people churches are places to receive community assistance, this need has seemed to increase since COVID-19. The Shepherd Table reopened its kitchen June 16th as a drive-thru. Pastor Lodge described how people are now struggling with the economic effects of COVID-19.

“We fed more people than normal.  Speaking to the people in the drive-thru line there is a need among the people who were furloughed or lost their employment during the Covid-19 crisis.” 

Members describe how the reopening of churches has provided a new type of communal help. Peggy Allen, a member and event planner for the First Presbyterian Church, explained the, “increased need within churches. For example, I am helping manage medication for an elderly lady because home health care can no longer do it.”

This seems to be the main concern in most churches as described by Clint Ezell, Pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Huntingdon. “We have had to pay special attention to the elderly because they are the group who hasn’t been able to get out during this. We make sure that if the family can’t take care of them, the church is there to help.”

Overall, the churches all over Carroll County are working to meet the needs of those who have been affected by COVID-19.

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