ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - It has been more than three months since most churches have been able to have their members at services because of COVID 19. However, on Wednesday the Albany Coalition of Pastors scheduled the return of live congregations to their worship services.
Some churches will have parishioners in their pews this Sunday.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, one of the largest church memberships in Albany, will have what they are calling a soft opening Sunday, with only 50 people in attendance.
“What we will do is a dry run, if you will, protocols and processes that we have set in place, just to see if it works,” said Mt. Zion Baptist Church Senior Pastor Daniel Simmons.
As for the almost 40 Albany Coalition of Pastors’ churches, the majority will return to live congregations on June 21 with rules in place to protect the parishioners and the staff.
“Wear masks. We have gone in and marked seats. Marking insures that everybody is at least six feet apart, so you have to sit where those marks are,” said Simmons.
Church leaders will have people enter and exit apart, taking temperatures.
There will be no contact, no hugging or handshakes, no passing of offering plates or communion trays. It’s A lot of new rules, but Simmons said South Georgians need the strength that worship provides now.
“We’ve decided we’re not going to let COVID-19 dictate to us what that will look like. We’ll take this opportunity to create something that still gives us the worship experience we need to meet our needs. We can’t do everything, but we will still do some things to make sure we are still fulfilling what we should out of worship,” said Simmons.
Some churches are asking members to call for reservations and assigning seats to control how many people attend services.