ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - While the country reopens, an Albany church made the decision to cancel a summer program they’ve hosted for nearly three decades.
Pastor Lorenzo Heard and the Greater Second Mt. Olive Baptist Church have hosted a summer camp - until this year. They made the tough decision to cancel this year’s program because of COVID-19.
“I really wish we could do more. We prayed about it. Safety is No. 1 for us, and we know with children, it’s real difficult to get children to to stick with social distancing and with keeping their hands clean, and we just didn’t want to end up with this thing spreading because of the camp,” Heard said.
The summer camp included swimming lessons, and other water fun, field trips, basketball, and most importantly, in-class instruction.
“Normally, we have close to anywhere between 800 to 1,000 Kids during the summer program,” Heard said.
The church is working with area schools to continue some virtual learning classes for those who need it. But it will not reach all of the kids that would have normally been reached during the summer.
Heard said he still has safety concerns beyond the summer.
“And so all of what we’ve pretty much have heard is governmental leaders, opening up the city, open up, or the state and opening up the nation. But we’ve got to get more information from those who are in the health profession,” Heard said.
For now, the church is continuing online worship services and virtual Bible study, along with radio and tv broadcasts. And once Sunday services resume within Greater Second Mt. Olive’s walls, there will be new things in place.
“No question. We will definitely have protocols,” Heard said. “You’ll have to wear a mask in the worship. We are ordering masks. We will do the hand sanitizing with the correct, kind of clean hand cleanser to hopefully kill the virus kill the germs. As well as we were looking at things, such as our filtration system, because we’ve heard specialists talk about it can get into your heating air system, and could spread the virus. Our whole goal is to live through this. So we’re not going to rush back.”
Pre-COVID, the church held two worship services. Heard now says he’s considering adding a third service, once services resume, in order to keep worshipers more spaced out.