Some switch to online services, other churches preach in person

We spoke to church leaders on how they're adjusting to living with COVID-19. Some churches are still meeting in person for service.

Posted: Apr 5, 2020 7:29 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)-The parking lot of the Bridge Church in Terre Haute looked empty Sunday morning.

Pastor Billy Joe Henry said his congregation is following the Governor's and CDC's health recommendations.

"We want to have church we want to be together. Once it went from suggested to mandated and it became a command by our governor, then we have to obey the laws of the land," said Henry. 

Many churches are closed right now, but not all.

The Bible Baptist Church had multiple people in the building Sunday morning.

We spoke with a health department official who told me an environmental health specialist was called here.

That specialist counted 78 people inside the church.

We reached out to church leaders to find out why in-person services are still happening.

Pastor Kevin Szwarga told us the church is following state and CDC guidelines.

He said religious organizations are exempt from some restrictions under Gov. Eric Holcomb's declaration.

Back at the bridge church, we asked Pastor Henry what advice he is sharing with his church members.

"Stay home and watch it on the internet. To some people, their spiritual health is essential to them. So, therefore, we chose only and only to stream live stream our services online," said Henry. 

Other churches in the Wabash Valley are doing the same.

Across state lines, the New Beginnings Church of Newton in Illinois is recording service for FaceBook and YouTube.

Pastor Henry said this is how he will spread the word until this too has passed.

"It is important to us to not just take care of ourselves but to be, to take care of the ones that we're around during the course of our day that we may take it home to," said Henry. 

Health department officials say the governor will soon be coming out with stricter guidelines on what services are essential.

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