HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - First Baptist Church Huntsville will temporarily stop in-person worship services after the New Year.
Pastor Travis Collins announced Tuesday the church plans to move away from in-person worship and Sunday School beginning on January 3, 2021. He said this decision he said came after he talked to local health experts and looked at rising COVID numbers. This decision is one they made before back in March, after suspending in person worship for about six weeks, according to the pastor.
Christmas Eve services and worship services on December 27 will go on in-person as scheduled. According to Pastor Collins, the church will hold nine services on Christmas Eve. At least six of those services will be conducted outside in Big Spring Park to allow for social distancing.
Pastor Collins said his church must lead by example.
”We say we are the church of the city with a heart, and in order for that to be more than just a nice slogan we have to be responsible citizens,” Pastor Collins said.
Office staff will be working on staggered schedules to keep the church office open. Kids and student ministers will reach out directly to those groups about their activities outside of Sunday mornings.
Pastor Collins released the following details on the timetable of returning to in-person worship:
So, how will we decide when it’s time to return to in-person worship and Sunday School?
1. We are going to await the completion of the installation of our UV lights. Those lights, soon to be installed in our building’s ventilation system, will kill the virus and other germs passing through the system, thus providing us another line of defense against illness. We’ve been on a waiting list for those lights for a while, but anticipate the UV lights will be installed no later than the end of January.
2. We are going to watch the COVID trends in Madison County. The Decision-Making Team will meet again on January 18 to re-evaluate our status.
The church will continue worshipping virtually. Something church member Joanna White said she is thankful for.
“My husband and I have actually been watching from home since March,” White said. “We had talked about going back in November and then the numbers started to spike. Honestly I am just so proud to be a member of a church that values the opinions of experts.”
Dr. Karen Landers with the ADPH said this holiday give your family the gift of safety.
“The absolute safest option is to follow online worship such as Facebook worship or some other platform where services are livestreamed,” she said. “For people who choose to go in person it’s better to stay in smaller groups.”