Churches continue services despite increasing COVID-19 numbers

If you can go to the store, you can come to church
WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Sunday
Published: Jul. 26, 2020 at 3:38 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) -As coronavirus cases surge across the region, this past week Governor Andy Beshear called on churches to scale back in-person services to help stop the spread. Yet some churches are continuing, and why? To answer that question WYMT talked with one Hazard pastor, Ronnie Butch Pennington.

“To Walmart and other businesses which I’m not opposed to them because we need them. I see people there and I think why can’t we if we do it right.”

At Petrey Memorial Baptist Church where it can hold up to 160 people, they capped off around 100 before the pandemic hit. After switching to virtual church services, they were allowed to reconvene in-person services on May 24th.

Also going to two services, one at 9 am and the other at 11 am, to ensure social distancing was possible.

“So there is plenty of space and everybody is separated,” said Pennington. Even cancelling Sunday School because there it was not possible.

Saying having church is what is needed ,”It just makes it easier to get through times like this we need some encouragement in the mist of all this negative junk we have going on.”

Why the push to keep in-person services? Because they can social distance inside, and you do not have to take his word for it, you can see it.

Every other pew is taped off with ‘God at Work’ tape to spread the congregation, as well as X’s marking six feet apart for those who would like to socialize.

All church members are required to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer before entering.

“If they can’t come to the realization that something serious is taking place and that it’s just like I preach this morning would you be prepared if you had to meet God today. And that’s where my side is coming from, Jesus is still the answer and without him we’re not gonna make it,” said Pennington. “These people that say we don’t need to meet then tell them to stay home. Tell them not to go to work, tell them to stay out of Walmart, tell them to stay out of the restaurants, tell them to stay out of the lake. I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just saying in the mist of all this negative we need a positive.”

To Pennington that positive is Jesus.

“A person doesn’t have to believe in him that’s their choice but I can tell you right now in my 47 years of ministry 48 years at a Christian I would not of went through some of the things I went through without him.”

There has also been no cases of coronavirus at the church.

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